Our sermon series this fall appears at the way God utilizes trials to construct trust in Him. As we study about the lives of Jonah, Joseph and Job from scripture, we&rsquove also asked a quantity of Westsiders to share their stories. We can see God at perform in them, redeeming the sorrows and suffering of ordinary persons in our neighborhood for his glory and our very good. By sharing these stories with you, we hope to encourage you to seek the Lord in the midst of the trials you may possibly encounter in your life.
As I prayerfully take into consideration the notes I have sprawled across the web page from my time with this young man whom I am honoured to know, my thoughts are drawn to the book of Joshua.
Normally when I am sitting across from John in my living area, it is a Wednesday evening, with a property complete of Westsiders who are greeting 1 a different, laughing and catching up on the week. John is 1 of the young males in the group who instantly notices when a person new has entered the area, and he endeavours to make that particular person really feel welcome. His smile is warming, his queries are genuine and caring, and his heart for the lost is infectious. Right now, I sit across from my buddy and brother in Christ to assist him share the story God has provided him.
GOD HAS MY BACK
John grew up in a loved ones of six&mdashtwo parents Douglas and Marla Sharpe, and 4 youngsters. The Sharpes devoted their lives to the Lord serving as missionaries for Youth With A Mission in the Philippines, exactly where John was born 23 years ago. He recalls the a lot of instances his loved ones tangibly knowledgeable God&rsquos provision: &ldquoWe constantly had sufficient, and have been all in a position to go to very good schools, regardless of my Dad&rsquos economic help not getting a great deal.&rdquo
As John observed the missional heart of his parents, their enjoy for God, devoted service, and the clear blessings they received, a belief started to take root: &ldquoI believed that if you served the Lord (like my parents did), God would have your back&rdquo. They have been God-honouring persons, fulfilling the Wonderful Commission in a nation that required Jesus&mdashsurely God&rsquos blessings would flow more than servants such as these. This increasing assurance that service to God would bring blessings right here on earth would quickly be challenged, and John&rsquos faith would be shaken to the core. In 2007, the Sharpe loved ones was faced with devastating news &mdashMarla had breast cancer.
Betrayed: to have been led astray, delivered to an enemy by treachery, or deserted particularly in a time of want.
Even though Marla&rsquos physique was betrayed by its wellness and delivered into the destructive grips of cancer, the loved ones began to unravel and John grew increasingly dependent on his pals.
John requires a deep breath, and starts to share how this painful, confusing time was compounded by a different unforeseen circumstance: &ldquoWith my mom getting sick, pals have been of the utmost significance to me. There was this group of teenagers from a distinctive college that my brother and I began to hang out with&mdashI believed they have been seriously cool. A single guy in the group was way older than all of us, which we believed was ok since he let us use his condo to throw parties. This is exactly where I began to go every single weekend to escape items at house. As I became additional comfy, this older man gradually invited me to hang out, just the two of us&rdquo.
John pauses, and continues with stinging tears in his eyes, &ldquoI didn&rsquot see what was coming&hellipI just believed he was cool&hellipHe invited me 1 day to watch a film, and as we have been watching, he started generating advances. I was paralyzed with worry. I was only 14 &hellipHe proceeded to molest me. I went house that evening feeling so gross, I wanted to peel off my skin&hellipI was showering and crying&hellipI was so confused. Why would a person do this? I believed he was my buddy&hellip&rdquo
Thoughtfully, John persists, &ldquothe quick threat at this time for me was my mom battling cancer. My loved ones was beneath so a great deal tension, I knew I couldn&rsquot add to it by telling them what occurred. So, I just pushed it down and chose not to deal with it. My prayers have been all focused on my mom, whom I loved and was extremely close to&hellipLord please heal her&hellip I genuinely believed he would heal her&rdquo.
The suffering and battle against this invasive illness lasted 4 years, and then Marla went house to be with Jesus. John, at 16, was left to wonder, &ldquoWhy did my mom have to endure? Why didn&rsquot God heal her? Doesn&rsquot He know that she is an important aspect of holding our loved ones with each other? Why is this taking place to our loved ones?&rdquo John painfully recalls, &ldquohaving my mom diagnosed with cancer did not appear like God had our back&rdquo.
Betrayed: to have been led astray by 1 who presented himself as a buddy.
Betrayed: to have your mom&rsquos wellness handed more than to the destructive powers of illness.
Betrayed: to think you are deserted by God in a time of terrific want.
A SAVIOUR WHO FOUGHT FOR ME
Right now, John admits that travelling this road has &ldquoreally sucked.&rdquo He has endured terrific discomfort, and wrestled with God&rsquos sovereignty and goodness. John remembers how immediately after his mom passed away &ldquoinstantly every thing went incorrect. Our complete loved ones fell apart. There was a lot of discomfort, suffering, anger, and fighting in our house. It was so apparent (to everybody) that we seriously required mom right here.&rdquo However God had taken her.
But betrayal was not the finish of the story. God&rsquos program for John on this journey entailed a six month Discipleship Instruction College (DTS) with YWAM. It was right here that John 1st brought his discomfort and shame into the light amongst a neighborhood of believers who listened, cared, and lovingly walked with him.
John recalls 1 leader in certain, Joel, &ldquowho I know for a reality was praying for me the complete time I was there. He was the 1st particular person I opened up to about getting molested. He was a man who regularly stood by me. Joel by no means told me that I would have all the answers. Rather, he reminded me that God was God for a purpose, and that his methods have been his, not mine. God graciously place Joel in my life throughout a time when my manhood was getting attacked. I was weak, helpless and confused. God employed Joel to assist bring back what was lost.&rdquo
This dark, winding, and afflictive road John had been placed on was gradually becoming a road lit with increasing trust and healing. As he continued to be discipled in the midst of outside adventures, John was faced with Jesus.
&ldquoThere was this 1 time we have been in the woods and Joel was retelling how Jesus went to the desert for 40 days, emphasizing the dire situations he endured.&rdquo The tears in John&rsquos eyes at this moment express a peace which passes human understanding. He continues, &ldquoI required to hear this, I required a Christ who fought and survived in the desert for 40 days. The road I have been travelling has not so a great deal been about having the answers to my queries or realizing that it was superior that my mom died (than getting her right here st