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When Your World Falls Apart – Brooke Taulbee

MESSAGE TRANSCRIPTION: 

Good morning. My name is Brooke Hobby, and I am so honored to be with you this morning as we continue the series that we’ve been in for the last several weeks called Winning the War in Your Mind. And so today, I am here, and I have the honor to share with you. Thank you. I have the honor to share. I’m going to Scoot up just a little bit. I have the honor to share just a little hope if you are in what may seem to be the worst trial in your life and walking through hard seasons and what the Scripture has to say about that; I’ve heard it said that you either find yourself in the middle of a trial right now or you may have just come through a trial or maybe you’re sitting there wondering what’s on the brink, what’s coming next for me. And so today, I hope the words that I share with you. I hope that it just brings you to hope, wherever you are, wherever you find yourself in whatever season that you find yourself in today. 

And so, what do you do when your world falls apart? When you get the call, and on the other end of the line, they say that dreaded word cancer. What do you do when a loved one when a spouse that you’ve been in a marriage relationship with for many years suddenly decides to call it quits and walks out the door? Or what about on the other end, there’s all the hope and expectation of an engagement, and one of those two people decides, I’m not all in, I want out. Or what about the loss of a loved one or friend that was a huge pillar in your life? What do you do in those moments? Or maybe, like in our family this last year, my husband lost his job, the business that he had worked for for the last 20 years. Our entire marriage went out of business, and so our primary income was suddenly gone. What do you do? I’ll tell you what we did. We shared an office here at the Church for a couple of months, and it was very interesting.

But we won’t go into that. And I don’t know if you can find yourself in any one of those specific trials. You may have one that I haven’t mentioned, but I think we could all agree that we all find ourselves in the midst of a trial called the global pandemic that brings with it all kinds of fears and frustrations, anger, just all kinds of emotion. And so I think when we go through these trials and these difficulties, the battleground, which is what we’re going to talk about today, is our mind, what’s happening on the inside of you when the whole world, like Amanda, talked about the whole sea around you is in turmoil. And so I hope to bring you from the story of Jeremiah just some principles and some things that will help hopefully ease your mind and help you to stay close to Jesus during those trials. So the Prophet Jeremiah, which is who we’re going to look at today, he is in the Old Testament, and he was a Prophet for 50 plus years to the nation of Israel, calling them to repentance. And during his lifetime, he saw that nation completely destroyed. And just a little background of what was happening in that land. The nation was in an economic crisis. They were being terrorized by foreign enemies.

Those enemies were taking the people out of the land and making them their slaves. There were inhumanities. There was starvation. There was the loss of jobs. It kind of sounds like a global pandemic, right? Global pandemics are not new. Just so you know, they’ve happened before. And so today, I hope to share with you the hope that Jeremiah brought to the nation of Israel. And we’re going to apply that to where you are possibly in your season of crisis. And we’re going to look at four things that we need to do to stay close to God and to let him protect our minds when we might find ourselves there.

Jeremiah wrote two books. One is his namesakes Jeremiah. The second is lamentations. And most people don’t know about lamentations. We don’t talk a whole lot about lamentations. It’s a very short book. But today, we’re going to camp out there specifically in chapter three. And so you may ask, well, I don’t even know what lamentation means. I’ve never even heard that word. It’s an old English word, and it literally means to complain. And so you’re going to see that in this book. It’s not really positive because there’s a lot of complaining going on, and they’re telling God exactly how they feel. And so we’re going to look at these few verses and some key principles that Jeremiah used as he was walking through this trial. Now, as I said, I hope you don’t find yourself in a trial today. I truly don’t.

But chances are we all find ourselves from time to time in seasons of hard times. And so, I believe the first thing we need to do is we need to unload our frustrations on God. And I am here to tell you today, Church, that it’s okay to unload your frustration. You don’t have to keep it all together. This is the perfect place for imperfect people, right? And we believe that around here, you do not have to wear the perfect mask and say, I’m good, I’m fine. Everything’s great. This is a safe place to unload. But God wants to hear your voice, too. He wants to hear your heart and hear your emotion.

He created you. And so we have permission from the Father to just pour out how we’re feeling, right? We can tell God our griefs, our angers, and our fears. And Jeremiah did just that in this book. In lamentation, he calls out to God and says, God, I don’t like this situation. I’m tired of it. Enough is enough. It’s too hard. You’ve caused this. I’m going to read that to you in just a second. But I want to ask you a question first. How many of you may think that if I unload my anger and I’m truly honest with God, that would maybe be sinning? Or that God would be unhappy with me if I wasn’t just praising him and telling him how great he is? But if I truly told him how I felt about the situation that you’re sitting in, how many of us feel like that that would be maybe wrong, or that he would be unhappy with us? 

But Jeremiah did just that. In Lamentation chapter three and verse one, he says, this I am a man who has seen affliction by the rod of his wrath. He’s talking to God, and he says he has driven me away and made me walk in darkness rather than light. He’s turned God; you’ve turned your hand against me again and again, all day long. You’ve made my skin growing old. My bones are broken. You’ve surrounded me with bitterness and hardship. He has made me dwell in darkness like the dead. He’s walled me in, and I can’t escape. There’s no way out. He’s being pretty bold. He’s weighed me down with chains. And even when I call out and cry out for help, he shuts out my prayers. Do you ever feel like your prayers, like Amanda mentioned, are just bouncing off the ceiling? He’s barred my way with blocks of stone, and he’s made my path crooked. I had never seen that passage before and how bold Jeremiah was in speaking to God. And so I began to wonder, why in the world would that passage be in Scripture? And I believe that is in the Bible. It’s there for us to see an example of someone truly unloading their frustration and telling God, I’m going to gripe right now. I’m going to tell you how mad I am, and I don’t like this situation that I find myself in. And I’m angry with you.

God, you’ve done this to me. Have you ever been brave enough to actually say that to God? I think if we were being honest, most of us would say no because he might not love me if I tell him how I truly feel. But we have an invitation to do just that. Jeremiah continues in verse 17. He says I can’t find peace. I can’t remember happiness. I tell myself I’m finished. And I can’t count on the Lord to do anything for me. That’s it. That’s pretty bold. He’s done. He’s finished. It’s your fault, Lord. I can’t count on you for anything.

Have you ever felt like that? Would you be honest enough to say that you have felt like throwing in the towel and just saying, Lord, this trial, this struggle, it’s too hard? I can’t do it. I have felt that frustration and that anger in my life. My dad passed away almost twelve years ago. He was sick a good portion of my life off and on with kidney disease. And ultimately, that’s not what took my dad. I won’t go into the whole story, but, you know, I have been angry off and on, frustrated, off and on for the entire time. Because guess what? My dad should be here today. He should be sitting with my mom this morning. He should have been able to meet his third grandchild, whom he never had a chance to meet. And it makes me angry when I look around, and I see other people my age have their parents. And I believe, though, that that’s okay for me to feel like that because God created me with that emotion. If it wasn’t okay, he wouldn’t have made us with all those emotions that we can feel. But as frustrated as I get and as mad as I am and as jealous if we’re being honest as I feel at times, I know that I have to trust Him because he’s a good, good father to me, and he’s never failed me.

Do I understand everything that’s happened to me? I don’t. And I probably won’t this side of heaven. And even on that side of heaven, I probably won’t understand why I have to live a better portion of my life without a parent. I’m an only child. It’s hard. But what I do know is that his love for me doesn’t go away just because I’m angry. And I get frustrated from time to time. I don’t live in that. But his love for me doesn’t go away. And it’s okay for me to tell Him how I feel. So for some of you this morning, that might be where you are. That might be your starting point today. Today you may say, you know what? Yes, I need to take the mask off. I need to be honest, Lord, with how I feel. I’m angry; I’m frustrated. This isn’t fair. And I need to let you know that. And I’m here to tell you you can do that.

We’re going to have an opportunity to do that in just a little bit. So after we unload our frustrations on God, I think the next thing that we need to do to protect our minds in the midst of our trial and our crisis is to try to refocus turn our focus from our pain to his love. We have to turn our perspective from my pain and my problem and my failures and my difficulties and my frustrations to his love for me. We have to recognize just how deep the Father’s love is for his kids. He loves you so much. Even if you sit in that boat like Amanda was talking about and the trials are swirling around you, he loves you right where you are. And if we stay dwelling on our pain, guess what’s going to happen. We’re going to head to a very dark place, and we’re going to be very depressed and low, and I don’t think that’s where God wants us to stay. 

So Jeremiah, in verse 21, the switch happens from lamenting and complaining. He begins to refocus his mind and his thoughts. And it says this in verse 21, it says, yet hope returns, yet hope returns. And this might be where you are today. Maybe today is the day that you say, you know what? I’m hopeless. I’m at a dead end. Nothing is ever going to change. But I’m here today to tell you I hope I can return. In verse 22 of lamentation Three it says this, the Lord’s unfailing love and his mercy still continue, fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise. And then he says this twice. And I think this is very important. The Lord is all I have. The Lord is all I have. So in him, I put my hope in the midst of the trial that you find yourself in Church; the only hope you have is the Lord. And he says it two times. His mercy is new, and it’s fresh every single morning. And if you stay in your pain, that’s where the enemy wants you. The devil wants you to sit there and dwell on your pain so that he can get a foothold into your mind, and then you’re stuck. But the Bible says to us that His mercies are new every single morning. And I believe this he has just the right amount of mercy and Grace for you when you wake up in the morning, the exact amount that you need for what you are walking through. So we have to turn our pain and our focus on our pain to God’s love.

In verse 31, it says this, The Lord is merciful, and he won’t reject us forever. He may bring us sorrow, but his love for us, say it with me, is sure and strong. I want you to underline that if you’re taking notes in your outline, and he takes no pleasure in causing us grief and pain. And so, for some of you today, this is where you might find yourself. You need to reclaim the promise that his love for you is sure and strong. No matter what’s going on around you. His love is sure and strong, and it’s unchanging. It’s never going to leave you. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, forever. His love for you is not going to change.

So we need to let God know our frustrations. We have to refocus our pain. And the third thing I think we need to do to help protect our minds is to get alone with God and wait. Now, waiting is a spiritual discipline. It’s very difficult. It doesn’t come naturally. And a spiritual discipline is something that you have to make a decision to do like you have to decide. I’m going to sit here, and I’m going to wait for five minutes on the Lord. I’m going to sit, and I’m not going to move. It’s not easy.

In the fast-paced world that we live in Church, we are constantly on the go. We’re constantly on our phones. We’re constantly moving to the next thing. How often do we just sit and wait? I want to tell you, though, what waiting isn’t. Some of us have a distorted view. I think of maybe what waiting is. Waiting is not pacing the floor in anxiety. Maybe waiting on a baby to be born or something like that. It’s not that kind of waiting. It’s not sitting on your front porch enjoying the scenery or sitting in your recliner watching TV. That’s not the kind of waiting I’m talking about. What waiting really means is you literally sit in quiet, and you don’t ask anything. You don’t demand God anything. You don’t tell him anything.

You just sit, and you let him Minister to you. And we have to make time to do that. And the act of doing that, that’s called solitude. It’s not a word we use a whole lot, and it’s not a thing we do a whole lot. It’s a discipline that we have to put into our life.

Lamentation 3:28 Jeremiah tells us when life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself, enter the silence, bow in prayer, don’t ask questions, wait for hope to appear. And so I was thinking about that Scripture, and I thought, okay, enter the silence. That must mean we have to exit something. That must mean we have to make a decision to leave something behind so that we can enter into that silence. Because, like I said, with all the to-do lists and the phone and the text and the appointments and the meetings and the places that we need to go and the people that need us constantly, it’s really difficult to make time for that.

But we have to enter into that silence. And I don’t know what that looks like for you. For me, it looks like I have to find a place where I can sit alone with God and be quiet. And I have to be in that receptive mode where, as I said, I’m not asking or telling or anything like that, that I just hand open, wanting to hear what the Lord has to say to me and letting him know I have a spirit of eagerness and willingness, and I’m just going to sit and be calm and listen. Last fall, Pastor Virgil did what was called the centering prayer with us. And it was just that sitting in solitude and bringing your thoughts back to one thing, and that one thing is the name of Jesus, because Church, the name of Jesus is the only thing that’s going to Minister to your mind and your spirit when you are in the middle of a trial. It’s the only thing his name is strong and sure, and his love for us never ends. 

I’ve craved this as I’ve gotten older. I want that quietness. The noise of life around me just kind of swirls. And a couple of months ago, I couldn’t figure out what in the world, what am I searching for? There’s something in there that I don’t know. And as I was journaling, it was like the Lord was speaking to me. I just need you to be quiet. I just need you to sit with me for a little while. And I’m not going to say that that’s easy because it’s very difficult to sit and wait on the Lord. And so Jeremiah says in this next verse, verse 25, he says, The Lord is good to everyone who trusts in Him. So it is best for us to wait in patience to wait for Him to save us. Waiting in patience. There’s that word we don’t like very much.

We have to be patient and sit in his presence because guess what’s going to happen if we try to go out and fix whatever trial or whatever problem we’re in our season? We’re going to blow it up and mess it all up, right? We need to sit and wait on God’s timing, wait on his healing, just wait on his voice to speak to our hearts. And when we’re waiting, I think a couple of things are going to happen. He’s going to remind us of a few things in the season of waiting.

He’s going to help you learn to change the things that you can change. Now, there are a lot of things in your trial or in your season of life that you’re walking through. You can’t change. You can’t change your family of origin. You can’t change. If someone like my dad passes away, I can’t change that. It’s still there, right? But what can change is my mind the inside of me in the midst of that trial. And so Michael talked a little bit last week about doing that self-evaluation and figuring out what changes you may need to make in your life and what next step you need to take in your spiritual walk to get closer to Jesus. And it takes time to sit and wait and to listen, and you can begin to ask those questions. Okay, Lord, how’s my relationship with my spouse? How’s my relationship with my children, my co-workers, and my friends? But most importantly, how is my relationship with you? And I believe he’s going to reveal to you where you are and what steps you need to take to get closer to Him. It says in verse 40, Let us examine our ways and test them and let us return to the Lord.

Another thing that he’s going to do in the midst of sitting in the quiet and waiting is he’s going to help us to see that he can relieve our fears. And we can ask him to do that. When Scott lost his job last year, it was kind of scary. As I said, the primary income of our home was suddenly gone, and we’re left to think, okay, Lord, now what? Now, what do we do? But we chose to not sit in that fear. I think we tried really hard not to. Sometimes it’s hard, you have to remind yourself because fear can be paralyzing in your spirit, and it can keep you bound if you let it. And we could spend a whole sermon series talking nothing about how to deal with fear in our lives and in our minds. But what I do know is that the Bible says 365 times, there are verses that say, Fear not. And I don’t think that that’s a coincidence that we have 365 days in a year. Obviously, we need to know that we can’t be afraid because we have the Lord with us. We can be angry at God. We can be frustrated. We can unload it all on Him.

We can be mad and gripe and complain. But the Bible says this one thing. Don’t you dare be afraid? Don’t you dare be afraid? So I think we have to do what Jeremiah did in verse 55; he says this. I called on the name. You listened to my pleading. You heard my weeping. You came at my despairing cry. And you said this. Read it with me. Do not fear. He’s telling us, do not to fear. 

The New Testament, second Timothy, 1:7 My favorite scriptures. It says, God has not given us a spirit of fear, but he’s given us power and love in a sound mind. He doesn’t want us to be bound in our minds to fear. He wants us to be brave and strong and to understand that his love for us is sure and strong. God is a God of redemption. And some of you may think, you know, this trial that I’m walking through, my best days are behind me. I just have to kind of go on from here. But I’m here to tell you today that there is hope in the name of Jesus that your best days are not behind you. They are ahead of you. The Bible says he goes before you and prepares the way ahead of you. That whole mission of Jesus is about redemption redeeming your soul to Salvation, but also redeeming your mind from fears that you carry with you.

So we have to unload our frustration and know that it’s okay to do that. We need to change perspective and focus on God and not on ourselves. We have to get alone and sit in some solitude, which is probably the most challenging thing to do. And in that solitude, you’re going to come to understand some things that you can do. But I believe you’re also going to see some things that God is going to do in you. He’s going to relieve you of some fears as you continue to grow in him. And the very last thing I think we need to do is we need to be an expectation. We need to expect Jesus to restore our lives. We have to be in that eager expectation mode and not just happy and satisfied with where we are. 

Chapter three, verse 24. It says, Deep in my heart, I say, The Lord is all I need. That’s all I need. I can depend on him. And we have to pray as Jeremiah prayed in the last chapter of lamentation. He says, Restores us, O Lord, and bring us back to you again. Give us back the joy that we once had for some of you. This might be where you are. Maybe you’ve lost your joy, maybe you’ve lost hope, and you just need to open-handedly ask the Lord to restore that joy that’s inside of you. You know, Pastor Virgil shared with us several weeks ago that it’s important to find life groups and find places. And Amanda even mentioned that it’s important to be in a community with people as you walk through hard trials in your life, and that’s so important. And then Michael referred last week to doing a self-evaluation and figuring out what your next step is. But today, I would like for us to take a step back because it begins personally with our relationship with Jesus. And I think today that it’s okay for you. If you don’t hear me say anything else, I want you to hear me tell you today that it is okay to let God know how you feel and to understand that his love is never going to leave you, no matter how angry you are, how frustrated you are, how confused you may be. Because we can’t take that anger and that frustration and that pain out on other people, which we often do when we get mad, and we’re in a hard time. We want everybody else to be in a hard time, too. We can’t banter with each other on social media and all that stuff. It does nobody any good. We have to get alone with God first.

Tell him your anger and your frustration, and let him Minister to your spirit. So I would love for you this one. If you bow your head and close your eyes, nobody is looking or moving around. I just want us to take a minute and to just be honest with God where you are. Are you in a trial today? Do you need the Lord to speak into that trial? Most importantly, do you need to be honest with your emotions and know that it’s okay to tell him exactly how you feel? Maybe you’ve just come out of a trial, and you feel really victorious and powerful, and it’s like, yes, I’ve made it, and you need to just thank him for getting you through that trial, for walking with you, or maybe you’re sitting there nervous thinking, I don’t have a trial right now. I’m not sure what’s on the brink, what’s ahead, and you just need to ask for strength, whatever that looks like in your life, whatever emotion it is that you need to let God know about today. 

We’re going to take a few moments of solitude, and I would like for you to do that just be real with him this morning. Father, I thank you for a moment to sit in your presence. Lord, I pray that you would help us understand and know that we don’t have to wear a facade or a mask but that we can be real and raw with our emotions with you and that you’re not going to love us any less. Father, I pray that you would help us to change our perspectives from pain and suffering and frustration and anger in whatever season we find ourselves in, Lord but that we would focus our attention and our perspective on you and on your love that is so sure and so strong. Father, I pray that you would Minister to the hearts and lives, Lord, of every person here today and that they would know that it’s okay to just let you into their situation. Father, I pray for healing. I pray for peace and for joy to return and to be restored and that we would walk into the hope that we have that’s found only in the name of Jesus, Father, we love you. It’s in your name. Amen.