November 13, 2019
"My first girlfriend left me for my best junior high guy friend. You know, that was puppy love, but the puppy sure thought it was love. It also was a pain in my gut. I'll never forget that day. A whole lot more painful than that was when my first wife, my college bride, left me from my best friend. She had fallen in love with him."
- How do trials build character when God is in charge?
- What has been the greatest time of brokenness for you?
- What are you going through now and how has God building character in you through that experience of pain?
- Describe how he gave you hope and how he gave you hope through the pain.
00:14 Today's Bible study is a painful for me to give, but it's a good one and we all need it. It's in Romans chapter five verses three through five and it says this, "And not only this, but we also exalt in our tribulations knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance and perseverance brings about proven character and proven character hope. And hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts, through the Holy spirit who was given to us." Pain and promise.
00:48 You know what? My first girlfriend left me for my best junior high guy friend. You know, that was puppy love, but the puppy sure thought it was love. It also was a pain in my gut. I'll never forget that day. A whole lot more painful than that was when my first wife, my college bride, left me from my best friend. She had fallen in love with him. And you know what? That was true love back then and it was a pain in my heart that lasted for months. I felt months. I felt like I was going to die. It almost killed me. You know what my first wife was and is a wonderful person. As was my friend. They became infatuated with. You know what? There's no doubt that initiating divorce is wrong. It's wrong. It's wrong. But I've never blamed her. And I've never been bitter. I'm sure if I would've been the man that she needed, that would've never happened. I just bet. But I just cried my eyes out for months.
01:46 But in that valley, I fell completely in love with God. From that valley, you know, I've given my, today's. I'll give him my tomorrows. Because somewhere in that valley, God accepted my broken heart. And not only did he heal it but somehow in his miraculous care, he brought Debbie Jo to me. She's the greatest woman alive. And she's the mom of my four kids. And I've been married to her for almost four decades. But she has given me love and more importantly, God has given me a passion. Down in that passion, I mean that Valley of pain, God's given me a passion for people who like me, find themselves at the bottom of the Canyon with no apparent way to get out. You know what, man? I have learned a lot in my brokenness before God and I'm sure that there's more ahead, but God is at his best when we are at our worst. He'll never be closer than the day you fall on your face.
02:56 You know what? Pain gives us a choice. When we run to God, we get better. When we run to ourselves, we get bitter. Pain is like a golf tee to me. It could cause you to be teed up or teed off. It either makes me mad and useless or it makes my ball go a whole lot further off the tee. You see, God has this spirit who is never more ready to fill our hearts than when we're not down. And the Holy Spirit's great skill is to give us bravery, to get us out of the Canyon and to give us more deep, solid character and to give us great hope. Pain is the greatest teacher of all.
03:37 And here's the questions for today. How do trials build character when God is in charge? And then secondly, what has been the greatest time of brokenness for you? Or maybe what are you going through now and how has God building character in you through that experience of pain? And then the last question. Describe how he gave you hope and how he gave you hope through the pain. You know what? This is not heaven down here. Pain happens here, but how can you prepare yourself for the, during trials that lay ahead. And here's the lifeline for today. Bitter or better. It's your choice when the cruel ball of failure is hit into your court.