Strength in your Struggles – by Dr. Tony Evans
In this video
Aproximately two weeks before cyst Evans passed away she she kept calling Jesus Jesus Jesus and then she said to me write this name down he said write his name down it wasn’t making sense to me she was saying Jesus Jesus write his name you’ve got to write his name down so I found a piece of paper Elizabeth was with me and in the bedroom and I wrote down the name Jesus on a piece of paper and showed her and when I showed her the name Jesus she said it’s okay now [Applause] [Music] turn your Bibles to Isaiah chapter 40 Isaiah chapter 40 verses 27 through 31 why do you say old Jacob and assert o Israel my way is hidden from the Lord the Justice due me escapes the notice of my god do you not know have you not heard the everlasting God the Lord the creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired his understanding is inscrutable he gives strength to the weary and who him who lacks might he increases power though youths grow weary and tired and the vigorous young men stumble badly yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength they will mount up with wings like eagles they will run and not get tired they will walk and not become weary and now Lord give me strength as I seek to give your people strength from your word help us no matter what we’re going through to see more of you in Jesus name all God’s people said amen couple of weeks ago one of my granddaughters stopped eating for four days she refused to eat nothing that the parents were doing was inciting her to eat of course now they’re becoming very worried and very concerned and kept prodding what is going on why won’t you eat and then she said to her parents I don’t know what’s happening to our family the trials that we’ve gone through had robbed her of her appetite she said I don’t know what’s happening to our family as you know these seventeen months have been the most difficult time of my life lost my brother my sister my sister’s husband my niece my father in November my wife in December two weeks ago Priscilla had one half of her left lung removed because cancer was in the lung my daughter crystal has a suspicious growth that we’re trying to get some clarity on so it’s been one thing after another in a concentrated period of time causing my granddaughter to raise the question in the words of Marvin Gaye what’s going on so much so many tears so many unanswered questions one thing after another and many of you know what it is to have one thing after another to struggle with the pain of life’s realities that are inescapable and if you’ve not been here yet keep living [Applause] because life has a way of throwing curveballs the unexpected sometimes you even get hit by the pitch God’s people were struggling in Isaiah 40 there was struggling bad as this chapter prophesied the Babylonian captivity and it speaks about their struggle and they asked in verse 27 or they say my way is hidden from the Lord and the justice dumi escapes the notice of my god what they’re asking is God what’s going on God where are you don’t you see my pain my way is hidden from you you don’t see what I’m dealing with because if you saw it you would not let it happen like this this way this long and this much the justice do me it’s not fair this isn’t fair I shouldn’t be hurting like this crying like this struggling like this discouraged like this where are you God and while we could all be spiritual and pretend we never think that way there are those times in our lives when God seems to be conspicuously absent unlocated Oh Joe put it this way he says I look north and couldn’t find it I looked east I look West I kept I kept looking and I couldn’t find it the absenteeism of God the sense that my way is hidden from him he doesn’t see what I see feel what I feel and understand what I’m going through and while we can intellectually know better it doesn’t change the broken hearts the shed tears or the enormous pain of life’s reality these people thought that God had failed them that if relinquished is on his covenant promises there are those times in life when it looks like God is letting somebody put a rake over your soul where you push the panic button and you feel let down where you’re no longer singing the gospel you’re singing the blues because sadness has overtaken you and celebration is just not where your emotions are they needed God to intervene in the circumstances that was causing them pain I don’t know what your circumstance is today probably most of you have one or who’ve had one or you’re headed toward one whether it’s unfulfilled dreams desires that have not come through pain that have not been relinquished hurt that won’t go away this is what they were facing where are you God when my world is falling apart when God speaks into their situation he does not speak scientifically technologically academically or philosophically he speaks theologically because he raises the issue in verse 28 do you not know have you not heard the everlasting God the Lord the creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary and tired his understanding is inscrutable he says when your world is real evidence members of Oak Cliff is falling apart this is not the time to run from him this is the time to run together he says do you not know and then he throws out theological concepts that we must keep in the front to loba of our minds his everlasting his understanding is inscrutable and he’s creative everlasting omnipotent omniscient all-knowing all-powerful and eternal you must retreat to the character of God in the crisis of life regardless of the emotion in the circumstances their emotions are sad they want to know where he is and when life hits you and you’re looking for God and you don’t see him you have to retreat to what you know he’s everlasting which means he’s not limited to time and space he’s creator so his power is able to oversee over all anything and his admissions his understanding is inscrutable he is the unforgettable God let me serve notice on you right now God is hard to understand he can be extraordinarily confusing his understanding is inscrutable it doesn’t off always add up you think he’s going this way and he doesn’t curve on you and he doesn’t make sense Deuteronomy 29:29 says God has secret things things that he doesn’t tell anybody things that he chooses not to explain sometimes he will explain sometimes he will give you reasons other times he will hold it close to the vest either for a time or for all time you can ask God a question but you can’t question God let me say that again you can ask God a question but you can’t question God now what’s the difference to ask him a question is to say God would you help me to understand that to question God is to challenge your children can ask you a question but that’s different than your children challenging you when you ask a question you may or may not get an answer when you challenge you’re demanding an answer God will allow a question he will not allow a challenge his understanding in scooter Bowl you try to figure out what God has chosen not to reveal and you’re gonna need all of Walgreens there excedrin pm you’re gonna need all of Walker to deal with the headache of his in scoot ability he says you have to understand this because if you do not understand it when your world is unraveling then you will fall prey to the circumstances and not to the Creator everlasting admission God who is overseeing the circumstances I must admit I have had my series of questions why this why this much why this now why this in light of all these prayers I have had my questions and I’ve had to back up because sometimes I move from question to question II then I have to jump back because I’m in territory I’m not allowed to go in I can ask a question I can’t question because it is up to him what he will explain and what he will refuse to explain and if he refuses to explain it it’s because it is sovereign knowledge is best for us not to know it don’t we do that we answer some questions by our children and others we don’t bother to answer because they wouldn’t understand it appreciate it or benefit from it maybe not then maybe never these people are in crisis and in this chapter a chapter worth reading over and over a chapter I’ve had to read as I’ve wrestled with these months of one thing after another to just read a few verses from chapter 40 verse 18 to whom then will you like in me who were you like in God or what likeness will you compare with him he says as for the idol of craftsmen casted he says don’t go away from God to something God made cuz that’s idolatry who were you liking me you gonna go to something I made and try to get from something I made information that I’m not giving you he says in verse 22 it is he who sits above the circle of the earth and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers who searches out the heavens like a curtain and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in he sits over the earth he not in it he’s over it verse 25 to whom then will you liken me I’m the incomparable one that I would be that I would be his equal says the holy one he says let me help you I lift up your eyes verse 26 and see who has created these stars the one who leads forth their hosts by number he calls them all by men you know how many stars there are there are millions of stars he says 1 I created them all – I got a name for each one of them and I’ve never forget forgotten any one of their names thirdly because of the greatness of his might and the strength of his power no one of them is missing they’re not allowed to fall out of heaven he created up named them and told him to stay there so he is powerful to make stars but he’s personal to know each one by name so he’s the big guard up there and he’s the intimate guard down here he’s the real God who created you but who still know your name we call that transcendence of their eminent involved down here and he says who do you know that can do that to whom were you like in me when my world your world our world is collapsing as life would have it happen unfortunately he says you run to this God not from him you don’t go to anything that competes with him which is idolatry you know position him in an inferior location just because life has collapsed on you a low view of God in a crisis means the crisis will control and on you a high view of God in the crisis means that the crisis has no longer the last word do not settle for the creation don’t go looking at the Stars for your horoscope he says I made those stars they don’t dictate your future I dictate your future I am a king and I’m not a Burger King where you get to have it your way he says I want you to recognize me even in the crisis of life but we live in a day of the dumbing down of God a God who only exists to bless us help us deliver us empower us but not a God who can dictate to us we live in a day where if I give you your two hours you ought to be happy God and so when the world caves in and we’re not used to dealing with the character of this God we got all these blame games on God because He is God when times are up and I had to remind myself he is God when times are down he is God when babies are born and he is still God when mates are deceased he has to be still God in both scenarios for you to make it through any scenario he must be God and treated and respected as such and so he says do you not know in this chapter he says I run the nations the nations are like a drop in the bucket and the rulers I control them lay like a speck of dust so there’s only one God and he’s not applying for the job so when life caves in as it has for me these 17 months for my family over this past year and I’ve had to true confession wrestle with God these were my questions is my way hidden from the Lord I’ve had to wrestle with God I’ve had to retreat to what I know about him in spite of the circumstances I faced you don’t deny the circumstances but they don’t have the last word so what do you do is anybody here right now where life is caved in on you recently a lot of you what do you do how do you how do you move in this scenario he tells you he helps you out he says at the beginning of verse 31 yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength he says when life caves in my way is hidden from the Lord the justice the fairness do me this is not fair what happened it’s not fair this happened now it’s not fair I’m going through this it’s not fair he says what I want you to do is wait on the Lord now the question is what does that mean the Hebrew word for wait is very picturesque all of you ladies know it and if this was years ago I would say only you ladies know it but today ladies and men know it because the word wait means to plant the hair it was to plot their women women or men plot the hair they intertwine sections of hair so that they are tied together in a tight way when you straighten your hair it’s loose and hanging down when you pluck your hair it has been intercalated and tightly tied together so that it is no longer subject to the blowing wind because it has been tightened together by pride it was used of a rope where the strands were intertwined to make a stronger rope so when he says wait on the Lord he’s not talking about passively sitting down doing nothing he’s talking about not in your life intertwining all of your life so that everything is wrapped and intertwined with him so that there is a church and the rest of my week it’s God I got started on Sunday morning but my stuff is so messed up my situation is so deep I’m going to plant my circumstances track my decisions crop my goals and intertwine them with you Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday and back again on Sunday I’m not gonna just straighten my hair and Sunday and let stuff blow it all week long I’m gonna plant this thing so that it is no longer subject to the circumstances I am going to wrap up tile and tangle up my lights because when things get bad enough the problem will leave you alone I mean I wake up in the middle of the night I break out in tears two and three times or four times throughout the day I see a picture it throws me off I hear reference it throws me off so I don’t need what happened on Sunday I need to be tied up with the God I let one Sunday or we go to wait on the Lord is a hook-up that you don’t want to be disconnected from in addition it means to not go outside of God to fix it because the temptation when you’re in a crisis that is knocking you down is to look for other options when you don’t think God is doing anything they said my way is hidden from the Lord maybe we don’t see God doing anything because we haven’t planted our lives around it we just we just paid him a visit on Sunday and therefore the waiting is waiting without his presence being experienced in our pain and I know we don’t like the way that red lights we don’t want to wait at the doctor’s office we don’t like the engine idle we don’t like the plane to be just hovering and yes it is real that when your life collapses on you god is hard to find us like the pilot and the small plane was flying some passengers the engines begin the sputter there was one parachute he put on the parachute went to the door they said where are you going he said I’m going to get help I’ll be right back sometimes it feels like God bails out on you when you’re in a crisis but when you look at Scripture Sarah had to wait for a baby Noah had to wait for a flood Joseph had to wait longer in prison Martha Maria the way for resurrection the disciples had to wait for the Holy Spirit we’re waiting for the return of Christ hannah has a way for a Baby Ruth has a way for a husband you find people but when the thing happened that God wanted to happen those people were connected only when that connection was there when they had planted themselves did they experience whatever God was going to do in their situation how do you know that you’re waiting on God this way because the majority of your time you spend in worshiping not complaining you spend your time worshiping and not complaining why because God inhabits the worship and praise and adoration of his people so I’m 130 verses five and six says you wait on the Lord with his word if you’re hurting today and life is collapsed you read Isaiah 40 you read psalm 42 you read the Psalms are a great thing because it has so many different scenarios but you you you go over God remind me of who you are I need your character I need your presence I’m looking to you I’m wrapped up in you because my circumstances have wrapped me up lamentations chapter 3 verse 25 and 26 talked about how good it is to wait on God for His divine intervention however he chooses to do that and if you wait this way you’re not passively sitting down doing nothing you’re just not going outside of God to fix it and you’re entangling yourself you’re planting yourself with him you’re not straightening your hair so the circumstances blow it you are planting it so that it is tight because that’s how desperate you are and by the way it’s sometimes difficult to decide to go to God when you’re in it you need to have the practice of planning before you get in it so that when you’re in it you’re ready for it see some folks want to get close to God coz they’re in a crisis the idea is to get too close to God before you hit the crisis so you’re already prepared for the crisis when it hit because the service was already close to God she could cry out to him she could see him she could praise him even though life was ebbing from her body she didn’t have to find him they were already hooked up and planted when life fell apart what will God do in your questions not questioning but questions when you don’t cross that line well he doesn’t promise to answer every question he doesn’t promise to give you an understanding of everything as bad as you want it it’s his sovereign prerogative how much he gives but she holds but he does promise you something he says those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength hmm new strength that means strength you don’t currently have because as you know when you’re in a crisis strength drains from you crises send us to bed make us not want to get up wake you up in the middle of the night it sucks your energy when it’s a deep one or a series of one that won’t leave you alone it just like an illness it just drains you but he says if you wait on me I will give you new strength we all have charges for our phone that’s because they lose strength they run down the power leaves so what we do is we got to take it and put it on the charger to get new strength as the phone sucks in the electrical power it becomes new again the phone works but it can work without the power but because of life all days it loses power but when you let it wait on the charger they gotta wait it’s gotta gotta sit there and wait when you let it hang out hooked up with the purchase new strength and when God gives you strength you’ll see it in one of three ways he tells you in verse 31 they will mount up with wings like eagles the first way that God gives me strength is his divine intervention when an Eagle kicks out an eagle it the first time a baby eagle it’s trying to learn the fly usually the first time it can’t fly because it hasn’t doesn’t know yet how to fly so it’s just flailing trying to make it anybody’s flailing trying to make it but what the ego will do when it sees the eaglet falling and it’s not gonna make it the eagle swoops down opens its wings and catches the eaglet on the wing and lifts it back up to the nest one way God gives you new strength is by swooping into your situation grabbing you and lifting you out of it it’s when God supernaturally intervenes and blows your mind by turning something around by switching something by reversing something and that’s when you get your praise own that’s when you say isn’t God good all the time all the time God’s good cuz he came out of nowhere and with eagle’s wings lifted you out of it that’s one way that God gives new strength there’s a second way God gives new strength they will run and not get tired God gives new strength when he doesn’t slow down and take you out of it he lets you run through it he says you go run you’re gonna run but I will give you a second win so you can keep going I’m going to let you run a Michaels swoop down and make it disappear but I’m going to let you run through it all of you who get on a treadmill knows what it is to run and you know what it is and one of the ways you can run longer when you’re on a treadmill then you would normally run is if you’re watching TV I always turn on the news when I’m on the treadmill why because by focusing on the news I can go longer with the breathing if I’m just there and I don’t have another focus I’m thinking about running and so when I get tired of running I give up but with the news on with the focus on it allows me to run longer than I would normally run and I get a second way says if you focus on me even though you’re running I will give you a second wind so you can go further with this situation further with this pain further with this problem then you thought you could go cuz I’m gonna give you a second winner then there’s a third way he gives you new strength it says and they will walk and not become weary the first way is he swoops down just take you out the second way he doesn’t swoop down he lets you go through the process of running but he gives you the ability to keep going the third way you can no longer run he says they are walking they’re walking on the third way when you’re on the treadmill and you’re running and you finish running they’ll tell you don’t jump off they’ll say you have to walk you have to walk in order for things to settle down you have to walk for the benefit of the heart slowing down because if you just jump off with the heart beating you haven’t given it a chance to make the adjustment on the pace you see sometimes life gets so hard you can run and you’ve been left to walk the first way is God’s divine intervention the second way is God’s enablement to keep going but the third way when you can’t run anymore because you are now too tired you’re left to walk that’s divine encouragement that’s when God doesn’t change the situation he changes you in the problem you doesn’t he doesn’t fix it he doesn’t turn it around like you pray but he does something in you that that no longer matters that that no longer is the situation he’ll bring a person in your life to give you an encouraging word he’ll bring a song on the radio to inspire you there’ll be a sermon that you thought was prepared with only you and mine that’s when all he’s doing is just encouraging you nothing has changed except you because sometimes God puts us in a position to accept something he doesn’t intend to change and so all you can do is walk because your running ability is over but in all three ways he’s given new strength strength you know I would love to say he only does the Eagle thing but that’s not true there plenty of times you know you swoop down and just switch it overnight I would love to say that boy he’s gonna give you something to focus on so he gonna get you through and you’re gonna have to win to run but sometimes life just gets tired and you know get up and go with gotten up and gone but what he wants to do it let you know I am there with you and what you’re going through they that wait upon the Lord will get new strength and so I say to you today and I say to me don’t you give up run to him not from him in the crises of life something I have to remind myself to do every day now to run to him because I got to tell you he didn’t swoop down and do what I asked him to do and we ran through every option available to man to fix it and so I’m walking but in all three he gives me strength I’ll close with the story you’ve heard this for but the little girl who went shopping with a mother and she went up the cookie aisle and those daughters was in the cart she said mommy please give me some chocolate-chip cookies mother said I can’t you know you’ve had too many sweets today darling no chocolate-chip cookies today she went down another aisle the daughter said mommy I really want some chocolate-chip cookies I told you I’m not getting any chocolate-chip cookies you had too many sweets today mother went down another Oh mommy you don’t understand I need some chocolate-chip cookies no what you need is a spanking because I told you stop worrying me about chocolate-chip cookies the mother got in the checkout line the little girl stood up in the car clasp her hands looked up toward heaven and said god I learned in Sunday school that if I called on you you would meet all my needs and I need some chocolate chip cookies but my mama won’t get me any chocolate chip cookies Jesus the lady in back of the mother said what would that woman get that girl from chocolate chip cookies the woman got in barriers we’ve got a whole bunch of chocolate chip cookies the girl stood up and said thank you Jesus for answering my prayer and get me chocolate chip cookies there’s somebody here today in the checkout line you ready to throw in the towel you better to give up you you you on your last leg but before you give up check up because if you check up with God he has a way of giving you new strength the ability to keep going I needed you need it we need it as we fight the battles of life together let’s stand to our feet.
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