Andy Hollifield 4-29-18

Judges 14:4 But his father and mother knew not that it was of the Lord, that he sought an occasion against the Philistines: for at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel.

I am thankful that God knows all things and I don’t. Have you ever thought about what it would be like as a human to have even just a small part of the knowledge of God. To know what our life will hold from now to eternity. That would mean that we would have knowledge of when our friends and loved ones would die and for that matter when we would die and how. It would scare us half to death just to have the knowledge that God has of our own life. Can you imagine what a basket case we would be if we knew every event for the rest of our lives and then our own death. The closer it got, the more bent out of shape we would be.

I said all of that to say this; we just never know what God is wanting to do in and with our lives. I believe it was D.L. Moody that once said “One of the kindest things that God ever done, was put a curtain between us and tomorrow.” If you read Judges 14 you will find that Samson’s parents were filled with worry at the thoughts of him wanting to take a Philistine for a wife. I know there were a few times when I worried my parents with some of the girls I dated and brought home. The reason wasn’t that I was better than anybody else but just because knowing me as well as they did, they could often see the differences in our personalities that I either didn’t or just refused to see.

Quite often in our lives we face difficult circumstances that seem to make no sense whatsoever and we can’t see any possible good that could come from it. Sometimes, even if we can see what good could come from it, we may not think it is worth the trouble. I want to look at just a few people who may have had that same struggle in their mind at times but it later proved out that their struggle impacted multitudes for good.

The first one I want to look at is the mother of Moses. Moses was born in Egypt at a time when Egyptian midwives were under strict orders from Pharoah to cast all male newborns into the river to drown. Exodus 2:3 starts off with these words: “When she could no longer hide him.” Verse 2 says “She hid him three months.” Any one that has had a baby or been around one very much knows that there is a lot of crying goes on in the first several months of a baby’s life. Can you imagine having to keep a newborn quiet and hid every time it started crying? It is hard enough to take care of one anyway without having to hide it. To make matters worse, can you imagine how her heart must have been ripped apart when she had to place him in that little ark she made and put him in the river? It would have to be disheartening to go through nine months of pregnancy and then three months of hard work trying to keep him hid and then have to place him in the river. It was probably a mixed blessing for him to be found by Pharoah’s daughter. He would no longer be her son after he was weaned, but at least he was still alive. Do you think she would have thought her struggles had been worthwhile if she had of known that she had just saved the life of the one that would lead Israel out of the land of Egypt?

Another one is Hannah. Her story is very familiar to a lot of us. She was barren and was one of two wives that her husband Elkanah had. The other wife Peninnah, made fun of Hannah to the point of bringing her to tears. Hannah was so distraught and wanted a son so bad that she prayed and told the Lord if he would give her a son, she would give him back to the Lord all the days of his life. Nine months later she gave birth to Samuel. She waited until she had weaned him and then took him and lent him to the Lord for the rest of his life. As hard as her struggles were prior to her pregnancy, and even the heartache of leaving him with the priest, do you think if she had of known how the Lord would go on to use Samuel, that he would be one of Israel’s greatest prophets, that she would have thought it was worth it?

Zacharias is one of the men that the bible tells us about having a struggle that had a huge payoff at the end. He was the priest in his town and he and his wife were very old and had no children. They had prayed for a child, probably for a lot of years, and may very well have given up due to their age. Luke 1:6 describes him and his wife saying “And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.” An angel appeared to him in the temple as he was offering incense unto the Lord one day. The angel went on to tell Zacharias that their prayers had been heard and they would have a son. Verses 14-17 tell just how great John would be to the Lord and the nation of Israel. As a sign because of Zacharias’ unbelief, the angel said he would be unable to speak until the child was born. We all know now that John was born to be the forerunner of Jesus and a great disciple of the Lord and a spiritual leader among his people. Do you think if Zacharias could have really comprehended just how big of an impact John would have, he would have thought that his nine months being unable to speak was worth the struggle?

There are many others we could look at such as Joseph, the husband of Mary and the earthly dad of Jesus. With all that Joseph had to get his family through, if he had of fully realized the impact that Jesus would have on the world throughout all of human history, to be the bridge of salvation to reconcile man back to God, do you think he would have thought it was well worth all of his efforts? Naomi is another lady we could look at. If she could have known that all of her heartache of losing her husband and both sons and one daughter in law would culminate in her being the ancient great-grandmother of the Son of God, do you think she would have thought it was worth it? Rebekah, the wife of Isaac is another one. Do you think that she would have thought that her difficult pregnancy and delivery, with her twins struggling with each other in the womb, would have been worth it to her if she had of known that one of them would eventually be the father of the nation that would be the chosen people of God through which the Savior of the world would be born? Time would fail me to tell of the mother of Noah and Gideon, Elijah and Elisha, Peter and the other disciples, and the Apostle Paul, just to name a few.

What about you? You have no idea what the Lord is doing in your life and what good is going to come out of your struggle and the storms you may be going through right now. No, you will never be the father or mother of the Son of God or of a great miracle-working prophet. You may however be the distant grandparent of the next great preacher to the world or maybe a great leader or doctor or scientist that discovers the cure for cancer. You could even just be the matriarch or patriarch of your own family that they all look to for leadership and future generations may view you as one of the most godly people they have ever heard of. Do you think, that if you had any way of knowing that would be how you were remembered and how God would use you, that your struggles, storms, spiritual battles, and heartaches would be worthwhile? Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” We may not know what good is going to come out of our lives but we do have a written guarantee that good will be the result. We may never see it, but we can rest assured that it will be worth it. I hope this has helped someone to “keep on keeping on” as the old saying goes. It is worthwhile because “You never know.” Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

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