I. Note the truth pointed out in Romans 8:28.
A. A conditional promise
1. For the person who loves God and is thus interested in knowing Him and growing spiritually, all things work for good.
2. For the person who does not love God and is thus not interested in knowing Him and growing spiritually, all things do not work for good because that good is the lesson or character that God seeks to build in us.
3. From God's perspective it is good for us to learn patience.
4. It is good if we learn to love those who hate us.
5. God values character more than wealth, position, health and many of the things that we hold dear.
B. What is this good that is spoken of?
1. You mean that if I lose my job that God will give me a better one?
2. Is that what I am to look forward to in the trial?
3. Some better job, better health, some better position? NO!
C. It means when you lose your job and you come to a greater understanding of what it means to trust God daily that is the good.
1. It is not necessarily the story of the young woman who loses her love only to find a better one.
2. Instead it could be the story of a woman who through the tragedy of a lost love discovers God's call to some ministry.
3. We struggle so much with this "good" because we have a hard time seeing God's perspective and His priorities most of the time.
D. As we read through the Bible we see that the life stories do not always end with "and they all lived happily ever after."
1. Look at Moses who died in the Wilderness just a few miles from the Promised Land.
2. Or Paul, whose head rolled down the street.
3. Pastor, do you mean to tell me that God is not interested in my happiness?
a. God is interested in your happiness!
b. In heaven there will be much rejoicing!
c. Here on this earth God wants far more for us than that we live simple carefree, problem free lives.
d. The truth is that those who have few problems in life usually think of themselves as bored and unhappy.
e. After a while their boredom causes them problems.
4. It is a mistake to think that a problem free life is a happy life.
II. God wants you to experience the right kind of happiness.
A. Happiness is a state of well being that reaches deep into the soul of a man or woman.
1. This happiness is dependent on our character rather than dependent on our circumstances.
2. This happiness goes beyond a momentary thrill, and it is not dependent on material possessions.
3. This happiness come only through the process of spiritual growth and maturity.
4. Apart from God's kind of happiness there is no lasting happiness.
B. It is not the happiness of the world but rather as in Eph 4:14-15.
"That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:" (Eph 4:14-15)
1. Paul is talking about growing up.
2. God desires that we grow up spiritually, in character.
3. If we remain as a child spiritually we will find it easy to abandon our walk for God.
4. We will find it easy to adopt a worldly frame of reference.
5. It is important for us to grow spiritually not just for our spiritual well being but for our general happiness as well.
a. As we grow we see more of God's perspective and how to live our lives under His management.
b. We learn to cooperate rather than fight His character building experiences sent into our lives.
c. If we are not interested or only mildly interested in growing spiritually, we will have a difficult time handling trials, suffering, and pain successfully.
C. Remember adversity is God's most effective tool to mature us.
1. If we forget this we will begin to blame God and become bitter.
2. Instead of seeing that God is trying to help mature us, we will see trials only as something God is doing to us, not for us.
3. It's all a matter of perspective and priority.
a. If our priority is ease and pleasure we will have little tolerance for adversity.
b. It will be an irritation or an interruption rather than part of a Good God's plan for us.
c. If our priority holds God's view, we will see new meaning in trials.
d. It is something God is doing in our lives for us.
e. It will bring greater joy and peace, we won't panic when it hits as if God has forsaken us. WE REJOICE! Spiritual men and women emerge from the trial excited about what God has taught them. Carnal men and women often emerge bitter and angry with God for what "He put them through. "They may quote the verse but they really don't believe it!
What happens when we get sick or some other problem changes our immediate schedule and threatens your future goals? God wants the trial that we are going through right now to mature our character to be more like His Son.
God could erase all pain and suffering from our lives but He has chosen not to do so. Why? There is something far more important than our ease, comfort, and pleasure. God wants us to grow! If we are believers, God has us in school! He is in the process of teaching us about Himself.