When Life Overwhelms Us
A. Life is a journey that moves from one crisis to another. Poland
has experienced four completely different governments, and each
government radically altered the lives of its people. Two wars
have been fought on European soil causing massive destruction.
Two atomic weapons have exploded over major population areas in
Japan. The Soviet Union no longer exists. India has been
overpopulated for decades. Africa has gone from colonialism to
chaotic nationalist that is often brutal and bloody. The greater
majority of the worldís population lives under repressive governments.
B. At least 75% of todayís population lives with three unthinkable
1. Everyday too little to eat.
2. Everyday no healthy water supply.
3. Everyday no access to adequate medical help.
4. For most of the worldís population, survival of the day is
the rule of life.
C. I am glad we donít live from crisis to crisis. All of us move from
crisis to crisis.
1. Four things - 90% of us move from crisis in our marriage
relationships; parent-child relationships, jobs/ occupations,
and financial challenges.
2. Add health problems and 99% of us move from crisis to crisis.
C.I. Our crisis is wilderness experiences and God promises to
be with us and use our crisis to make us more like Him.
I. Godís most useful servants had wilderness experiences.
A. Joseph had a wilderness experience Genesis 37-40
1. He was the favorite son and arrogant teenager.
2. He had a horrible wilderness experience matured him fixed his
focus on God, and created the faith of dependence.
3. Years later, he could see God working Gen.50:20
B. Moses had a wilderness experience Exodus 2-4
1. He planned to use his privileged position to help his people.
2. He rejected his first attempt to help them.
3. So Moses fled to the wilderness.
4. But God took Moses from the wilderness and used him to lead
Israel to freedom.
C. The Israelite David had a wilderness experience 1st Samuel 20-31.
1. Produced by the injustices of a jealous man who left God. Near
death experiences, a harsh existence, and a miserable life often
lived in enemy nations.
2. He wrote many of his greatest psalms, psalms that we read for
inspiration, strength, and hope. It helped David become Israelís
D. The prophet Elijah had a wilderness experience 1st Kings 19.
1. Elijah lived as Godís spokesman among people who never worshipped
God, but Baal. Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal. He proved
God was real and powerful.
2. Jezebel, the queen promised him that he would be dead within 24 hours.
Elijah fled to the wilderness.
3. God refocused Elijah and sent him back to get on with Godís work.
II. Even Jesus, Godís own Son, had a wilderness experience Matthew 4:1-11.
A. Jesus went to the wilderness to focus on his ministry. He totally
devoted himself fasting 40 days and nights Satan immediately tried to
destroy Jesusí focus.
B. Satan made three attempts to distract Jesus.
1. Satanís first attempt dealt with a real physical need and a practical
2. Satanís second attempt to prove his faith by putting God on trial.
3. Satanís third attempt is the infamous short cut.
C. Jesus resisted Satan.
1. When Satan asked him to make bread from stones, Jesus quoted
Deuteronomy 8:3 food does not give a person life. Godís teachings
and instructions do.
2. When Satan asked him to jump, Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:16.
Faith depends; faith does not test. Creating tests prove that you doubt,
not that you trust.
3. When Satan asked Jesus to worship him, Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:13.
Evil never achieves Godís purposes.
III. Making a trip to the wilderness is never pleasant, but being in the
wilderness can serve a powerful, godly purpose.
A. No wilderness experience is ever fun or pleasant.
1. Joseph experienced injustice stacked on top of injustice.
2. Moses found no joy it was just a feeble attempt to escape.
3. David found nothing but suffering, isolation, and intense loneliness
in the wilderness.
4. Elijah wanted to die.
B. In each one of these menís lives, the wilderness was a powerful tool
in the hand of God.
1. It brought each man to a higher level of spiritual maturity trust
in God to grow reinforced the godly focus forced an essential
decision make the choice to depend on God or choose to be angry
at the world while you resent the injustice.
2. Because of the wilderness experience, their godliness grew.
God could use them for greater purposes.
IV. My personal world and your personal world are dominated by evil.
A. Regardless of how godly we are or how deeply we trust God, each
of us will visit the wilderness and more than once!
1. Every time we are overwhelmed, we are in the wilderness.
a sense of helplessness a distress of failure uncontrollable
2. When life seems out of control when life does not make sense.
B. When we visit the wilderness, one of two things will inevitably happen.
1. We will grow closer to God. Trust God Focus on Godís will and
2. Or we will turn away from God and decide to live life on our own.
Blame God Decide that God is weak and useless.
A. In the wilderness Satan harasses you; God prepares you.
1. If your wilderness experience causes you to be angry Satan wins.
2. You do not have enough faith for God to use you for greater
B. But if your trust in God deepens, God wins. And God will use you and
your life in ways that exceed your imagination.
C. When you are in the wilderness, do you stand alone, or do you hold Godís hand?