It’s hard to be human. Across all of history, one thing that continues to be true for people everywhere is that we all endure suffering.
In John 16:33, Jesus says “...In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” The passage doesn’t say that we might have trouble, it says that we will have trouble. Hard times are guaranteed to us, but so is the promise that God is victorious over the world, meaning we walk in victory, too.
Our church just finished an incredible sermon collection called Christ in Crisis. While Jesus was on earth, he was fully God and fully human. He was perfect divinity wrapped in a human body and he lived a human experience. He experienced suffering of all kinds. In the midst of our heartache, our pain, our anxiety, our grief, we can trust that Jesus gets us. He is not distant or unattached — his understanding is personal. He understands us more than we know.
This four-week collection is packed with deep truths of how God relates to us in our suffering. The Bible tells us that Jesus is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. What a picture of goodness — not only does he promise his presence in our pain, he will not leave us crushed. If we can trust him with the pieces, he will put everything back together.
Walking through life’s struggles in the presence of community makes all the difference. When we take the opportunity to be vulnerable with trusted friends, we discover that we are not alone in our hardships. We can be encouraged by others who have walked through similar experiences. We are always seeking out opportunities to connect people along the faith journey. This sermon collection fell during our Crew off month, meaning our small groups did not meet during this collection. A sermon collection like this one can bring up a lot of emotions, shed light on open wounds, and reveal areas that need healing. We were intentional about connecting people to Care Crews, which are designed to help bring freedom in four different areas: family, freedom, formation, and finances.
Read below for a glimpse at the messages in this collection.
1. God Knows
Not only does God know our humanity, he knows what our humanity needs. Our struggles gain meaning when we fix our eyes on Jesus. We all have scars from the battering of life’s storms and our own mistakes. Jesus paid the price for the entirety of our past, healing not only our scars but the crisis inside our hearts. All we have to do is hold fast, get close and receive his daily mercies as we keep our gaze fixed on him.
2. When People Let You Down
We are designed to be in relationship with others. While community is a gift, we are all broken people and will inevitably experience relational pain. Wounds from a loved one cut deep. Whether it’s from family, friends, or foes, God understands. Jesus was rejected by many, even those closest to him. No matter the offense, we can respond with forgiveness. Offense happens in a moment; staying offended is a choice. When we choose to let go of the hurts that keep us bound, it enables us for what we are meant to pick up.
3. God Gets Anxiety
When we experience difficulty, what is our response? Is it to call a friend, go for a walk, avoid the situation, get angry, cry? When crisis hits, we all react in different ways. Many of us find our minds running wild, anxious thoughts fighting to be the loudest in the room. For others of us, we aim to take control to find some level of order in the chaos. It’s in our lowest moments that we find God is the only one who can truly calm us. As we study the response of Jesus in the garden, in the midst of his most difficult trial, we can learn practical patterns to persevere.
4. God Grief
God is still good, even if grief is a reality of life. On earth, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to know God as our savior and praise him in spite of our suffering. God always works his purpose for his glory out of the worst circumstances. Jesus experienced grief upon learning that his dear friend had died. He identified with our sorrow and modeled how to accept suffering while keeping faith. Although he wept, he firmly believed in God’s ability to make the impossible happen. As he called Lazarus out of the grave, we can see a picture of how God is in control, resurrecting what has died. Believing that God will turn our tears into shouts of joy does not mean that we no longer grieve, but that we can cling to him through the pain and let every calamity crash us into his arms. As we endure through crisis for now on earth, we will eventually stand before our maker in heaven, every tear wiped away for eternity.
As you steward the life of your community we're praying that God empowers and equips you to continue pastoring His people. If you'd like to leverage the Christ in Crisis collection in your community — check out this sermon pack.