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My God, My God, WhyÖ?

Part 10 - Itís Not About Me!

Pastor Gary Buchman
Emmitsburg Community Bible Church

(9/20) How many of you saw the Lone Ranger movie with Armand Hammer and Johnny Depp? I am sorry but it was nothing like the original. When I was a small boy, one of my favorite TV shows was The Lone Ranger. Clayton Moore and Jay Silver-heels were the Lone Ranger and Tonto. A couple of days ago, I watched the original 1949 movie, Enter the Lone Ranger on You Tube. It was the first time, I saw it, in over 55 years. The story behind the story is that a young white boy actually saved the life of a young Indian boy first. The Indian gave the boy a ring and called him, Ke-mo sah-bee meaning, Trusted Scout or faithful friend. Years later the White man became a Texas Ranger, who, along with a lot of Rangers were ambushed and all were killed, except one. He was severely wounded and left for dead. A lone Indian named Tonto came along and nursed and helped the Ranger back to health, and discovered it was his, Ke-mo sah-bee. The Ranger decided to hide his identity with a mask and become a terror to outlaws, and Tonto decided to help him. By the way, never once do you see the full unmasked face of the Lone Ranger, not in the movie or any Lone Ranger TV show.

I thought of that because we all need a Tonto in our lives. Even more, we need to be a Tonto. Scripture has a few Tontoís. Jonathon was a Tonto to David. Elisha was a Tonto to Elijah. And then there was Joe. Joeís gift was being a Tonto to whoever needed one. When Joe saw a person with a need, he pulled out his wallet and gave what he already had given first to God. When Joe saw a person who needed a friend, he stepped in. When a personís reputation became a hindrance to their acceptance as a Christ Follower, Joe would vouch for them. Joe was so into giving second chances that he actually would walk away from tremendous ministry to stand up for a young man who needed a second chance. Joe was called The Encourager, or Mr. Encouragement, or the Son of Encouragement (Acts 4:36). We know him better as Barnabas. It was Barnabas that stood up for Paul when everyone else wanted nothing to do with him (Acts 9:26-27). It was Barnabas that called Paul to serve as Associate Pastor of the 1st Baptist Church of Antioch (Acts 11:25-26). It was Barnabas that stepped back to become Tonto as He saw what God was doing through Paul. It was Barnabas that stood by Mark when Paul said he was a Loser (Acts 15:38), and walked away from Paulís ministry. BTW, it appears, that Barnabas was either right or that his defense of Mark changed Markís life as Paul would later say how much he needed Mark (2 Tim. 4:11). He wrote to Timothy from a Roman jail cell and said to, "Get Mark and bring Him to me for He is useful to me for ministry." I have to believe that it was because someone believed in him when others didnít. Barnabas is one of the best life picture of the Holy Spirit and/ or your purpose in life that we have in the Bible.

What does this have to do with our series, My God, Why? Sometimes God allows us to get shot and left for dead so He can come alongside of us like Tonto or with a Tonto, a Barnabas, and nurse us back so we can become a hero to someone else. Our Text this morning is from the 2 Corinthians 1:1-11. Letís stand and read this.

Paul wrote this letter, to not only the Corinthian church but the Christians throughout southern Greece; an area called Achaia. Maybe these were Christ Followers that were ministered to by the Corinthian church. I donít know for sure. But because of jealous or anti-Paul people, Paulís authority and ministry were under scrutiny. In one sense, this letter is a defense of his calling to be an Apostle, or one with a special message and ministry that was personally sent by Jesus.

Part of Paulís defense is the suffering he has experienced. Jesus said that he would, and, in fact, He said that all his followers can expect no less. Paul once told the Christ-followers in Antioch, that "We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God," (Acts 14:22). The first 11 verses of chapter one contain priceless truths for anyone experiencing trials or trouble; anyone who is asking, "My God Why?" Letís consider them, now.

I. Grace and Peace come from God (v.2a).

I donít know what trial, trouble, test, suffering, you are experiencing right now, or what you it is you will go through in the near future. But no matter what, you must pause and remember that you have the Favor and The Fruit of God. They are gifts from our Father. I have received His favor, I have received His forgiveness, I have nothing between my soul and Him, I am at peace with God. I may not have the Peace of God at this moment because of my pain or confusion, but this I know, because of Jesus I have His Favor that I did not earn and do not deserve. I have hope that is beyond this life. When Paul prayed about his thorn in Ch. 12, Our Fatherís response was, "My Grace is Sufficient." Itís all you need. Remember that line form Amazing Grace? "Through many dangers, toils, and snares, I have already come, His grace has led me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home."

II. I Have a Father Who Loves Me (v.2b). Our Father!

And as hard as this is to understand, this trial was either brought or allowed by our Abba, Father. He approved it. We looked several weeks at Hebrews 12 and were reminded by Deut. 8:5 and Proverbs 3:11-12, that God is training all His children to be like Jesus. Every one that receives Jesus has to go through His training; to have our character and conduct changed to be like Jesus. Just as every child has to be taught by parents and grandparents, and mentors, and teachers and professors, and drill sergeants, etc., in order to grow into a healthy, law abiding, and productive adult, our Father is totally committed to training us to be like Jesus. Satan cannot attack us unless our Father thinks we can we handle it and make the right decision. People cannot hurt us unless our Father believes we are capable of responding like Jesus. He gives us the text book, He gives us teachers, and then He gives us the tests and trials of life.

III. Our Father is to Praised Even in the Storms (v.3).

I think Casting Crowns said that. God is to be blessed, eulogized, spoken well of, honored, worshipped, adored, no matter what. Why? Three reasons.

A. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16) All of our Hope is in Jesus. His Death and Resurrection and the Promises of His New Covenant are all for us. When Paul tells at the end of this book that when he cried out for deliverance from a painful thorn in his side. God said, you have Grace and that is enough. What do we have that no other faith in the world has? Grace in Jesus, Hope in Jesus, Life in Jesus. The world of unbelievers and false religions also go through hard-times but they donít have Jesus. They donít have a Father that loves them enough to die for them and wants to hear their every concern. They donít have our hope.

B. He is the Father of Mercies. He cares. He gives us hope. He forgive sinners like us. He gave His Son for us. His Son became like us so we would know that He knows our pain personally, so He can help us. He gave peace and purpose for living to us. Sinners are adopted as Sons, Enemies are received as friends; Strangers become as special guests; Gifts are given to bankrupt heathen. How He loves us.

C. He is the God of All Comfort. Here is where we will park it. Do not think of this word Comfort or Consolation as a warm blanket, or a bowl of hot soup on a cold day. It doesnít mean that. The word will appear 10 times in 5 verses. I think that means it is important. It refers to help, strength, and courage. Every time you see these words think of help, strength and courage. Now listen carefully, this is important. It is the word, parakaleo. It is from two words, Para means alongside, Kaleo means, to call. The word came to means, To call or to come alongside of in order to help, encourage, or to strengthen. He is the God of all help, all encouragement and all strength. He is the God who came to live inside of you. Jesus said that a name for the Holy Spirit is The Comforter, or the Helper, The Parakletos, the One who has come alongside to help, strengthen and encourage us. He uses that name numerous times in John 14-16. Listen to Isaiah 41:10, "Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." David said in Psalm 121:1-2, "I will lift up my eyes to the hillsóFrom whence comes my help? 2 My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth"

Christ-Follower, where is God when you are hurting? Where is God when you are sick? Where is God when you donít know what to do? Where is God when you donít think you canít go on? He is right here with you, inside you to help you, to encourage you, to strengthen you and to cheer you on. He knows your pain, He knows your heart, He knows your name, and can help you. The Author of Hebrews said this. "Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted." (2:17-18); and again, 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (4:15-16)

IV. There is a Purpose in my Pain. I tried to word that carefully (vv. 4-7). First, remember the last 3 weeks of life lessons. God wants to prove to you that He can be trusted. He is faithful. And He wants to know if you will be faithful when the storm comes. Will you trust and obey Him, will you focus on His grace and love in Christ, and will you look to your future? God brought this or allowed this so He could strengthen, encourage, and help you through this. How? How does He do that? Several ways:

A. With Barnabasí and Tontosí. With people who have found God faithful, people who have already gone through what you are going through now. Thatís the real purpose of the Church and the second great commandment, "to love each other the way Jesus loves us." Thatís why you need a small group! Thatís why Hebrews 10:24-25 says (turn there and look at it), " And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. See that word, exhorting? Guess what the Greek word is. It is Parakaleo. We come alongside of each other to help, to encourage and to strengthen each other. That, my friends, is what Church is supposed to be about. Not to just sing, give, listen and go home.

B. With Heroes. Encouragement from people who have gone before us. Thatís why Hebrews 11 and all the stories of the Bible and stories of Missionaries and others are so important. These are ordinary men and women. No super powers, other than their faith and the Holy Spirit. They did it and you can to.

C. With Promises. God encourages us with promises and the truths of the Bible. Thatís one of the reasons we have this book, to give us promises and truth so we will have hope and courage to face the future no matter what. Please donít wait until trials come before you open this book. Meditate in it every day and when the trials come you will already be strong. The word of God is like eating the right foods, or taking the right vitamins that build up your health and improve your immune system. Remember when The Holy Spirit led Jesus to the wilderness to be tempted by the devil? To every trial, Jesus referred to the written Word of God- "It is writtenÖ!"

D. The Privilege of Prayer. Prayer is a great time to focus on the promises and power of God, of remembering Godís faithfulness: of pouring your heart out to Him; of climbing up on your daddyís lap and resting. Often after I have prayed and mediated on Scripture, if I sit in silence for a few moments, I can hear His wisdom and counsel. Sometimes it is like, "You know, donít you?" I say out loud, "Yes, I know." If you will approach prayer less like pleading with a judge, or begging a Santa Claus, and more like talking to your Dad, you will find strength, encouragement, and help.

E. Presence of the Holy Spirit- God, the Holy Spirit, our Parakletos, is with us, and in us. He reminds us of what our Lord and the Bible teaches us. That is the essence of His ministry as our Lord tells us in John 14-16. He brings what we have read or been taught to our attention and whispers in our ears the wisdom of God, and the encouragement of God. When we are considering poor decisions or actions, He shouts to our consciences, "Danger, warning, this isnít right, this isnít good, this is a wrong decision."

Second. This pain and Godís help, encouragement, and strength are to open my eyes to the pain of others. Itís as if God is saying, "I have graced you with help, strength and encouragement, now Pay It Forward," be a Barnabas. When you hear of people going through pain, come alongside of them and share how I helped you. Use that to help them. They will listen because you have been there." I will never forget some inmates at the Carroll County Detention Center. I was teaching a recovery class; that is, a Bible study based on the 12 steps of AA. One of them respectfully asked me, "Chaplain, have you ever been addicted? "No," I said, "Then how do you know what we are going through?" They were right, so I brought in people who did.

ē Who knows the pain of having a miscarriage better than the mother who has had one?

ē Who knows the pain of a divorce better than the one who has had one? Am I saying God caused the Divorce or Miscarriage? No of course not. I am saying that He allowed it and came to your aid and there is no one better than you to come alongside of someone else who is or will experience that.

ē God brought you through an addiction.

ē You lost a loved one by death.

ē You had a birth defected child.

ē You went through cancer.

ē You spent time in jail.

ē You have a disabled or physically challenged spouse

ē You have a prodigal child.

ē Your family lived through a loved oneís suicide.

ē You were falsely accused.

ē You were let go by your employer

ē You are or were a single parent. You are the best person to come alongside of a hurting person and show and tell them how to get through it and that there is a Father who is grieving with you and wants come alongside of you to strengthen, help and encourage you.

You may get involved or even start a ministry just for people who have been hurt or are hurting like you have. A Prison Fellowship. A Salvation Army. A Care for Pastors. A Celebrate Recovery. A Cancer support group. A Divorce recovery. A Single Momsí group. A small group for recovering sinners who want to grow into Christlikeness.

Paul says in verses 4-7, that all of his pain was for the purpose of identifying with and helping these Greeks and us who are going through times of suffering, trials, trouble, tribulation and various afflictions. He was no god or superman, but like Jesus, was a man just like us.

Third, In fact, verses 8-10 tell us that Paul thought for sure that he was going to die. Our Father allowed that so Paul would know that His Father had a good plan. Our Father helped Paul so He could use that help to help them and us. We need to trust in our Father and His plan. And Brothers and Sisters, that is what Our Father wants to do with us. One of my favorite go to scriptures is Luke 22:31-32, Listen, "And the Lord said, "Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren." It didnít make sense at the time, but God allowed Satan to work over the 11, but God had a good plan. Men who would recover with Godís help would be the men who would come alongside of and help others; Tontoís, Joeís, Jonathonís, Elishaís. That is what every single one of you have been called to do. No exceptions. Grace, and Parakelo is to be given through people who have found God faithful, to people who are hurting. Jesus is actually praying for you to do that very thing for Him.

Fourth (v. 11) God allows our troubles sometimes to unite the Body of Christ. Trials bring us together in prayer and unity as we seek Godís grace and help. And then together God receives the glory and the thanks. He is honored because His children have acted like family.

Listen, Josephís time as a slave and a prisoner was his college training for his career in politics. Mosesí time in the hills as a shepherd, was his post-graduate degree for leading a nation through the wilderness. Davidís time as a Shepherd and then a fugitive was his apprenticeship to prepare him to be King. God came alongside each one. He is with you to strengthen you, encourage you and to help you to recover so you can be a Barnabas or Tonto. Nothing is wasted with God. Your pain has a purpose, if you are willing to be Godís man or woman.

ē I want to encourage you, (not because it is the in thing, but it is an essential thing), get into a small group and do life together.

ē Look up to God your Father, there is purpose in your pain. Draw close to your Father now in a daily quiet time of mediation and prayer.

ē Look back to the men and women who have encouraged you, whether it is a Bible story or a personal hero.

ē Look around, there are people who are hurting and need to know how to get through it. Come alongside of them.

ē Look inside of yourself. Have you been trying to do this without God or a church or small group? Do you think you can get yourself through this? Its time to stop and realize that your Father is in complete control. You need to surrender yourself to Him. Trust and honor Him now.

ē Maybe you need a hero to come to your aid. You need a Tonto, a Lone Ranger, or a Barnabas. We would love to talk to you or pray with you right now.

ē One more thing. Maybe you need a Father, and A Savior to not only help you in a trouble but to be with you forever. Call out to Jesus right now and tell Him that. Repent of your sins and self-focused life. And let Him be your Lord from now on. It wonít be easy, but it will be worth it.

Read other thoughtful writings by Pastor Gary Buchman