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James Merritt - Perseverance, Run the Stop Sign

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    James Merritt - Perseverance, Run the Stop Sign
TOPICS: Mirror Image, Perseverance

I wanna welcome those who are watching online, those are watching by TV, those at our Mill Creek campus and those here at Sugarloaf. Most people don't know this, but I have come close to dying on two occasions, literally. And they both involved a car, and I'm just gonna tell you about one of those. I was a, what we used to call a ministry of youth back then, you call them student pastors now. But I was a student pastor in a church, north of Atlanta and I was going to a Christmas party for our volunteers. And we were going to a home I'd never been to before I wouldn't be familiar with where this house was. And it was a cold, rainy, foggy December night, I was making my way to this house. And the visibility wasn't good.

And so I rounded a curve and all of a sudden my eyes got this big because there was a stop sign right right there. I mean, just as you turn, a big sign said stop. Well, I slammed on my brakes, but because of the mist and the cold, the road was real slick. And I mean, I went right through that stop sign into the path of an oncoming car. If you've ever had a, you've heard people say your life flashes before you, mine did before me. Because this car, there's nothing I could do you just watch the lights coming. And I'll really thought I'm gonna die right here. Well, because of the weather, that car wasn't going as fast as a car normally would have or I would have probably been killed. But that car T-boned me perfectly, right on the driver's side of my car, knocked me into a ditch.

And I was shaken up, but it wasn't hurt too badly. And thank God the other driver wasn't hurt. I was a little bit sore and banged up. And to this day, I'm so grateful that God spared me because really and truly, it was a stop sign that almost cost me. 'Cause I wasn't expecting to see the stop sign. And then I thought about that day and that's been many, many years ago. As I thought about that day, it hit me that life is just like that. You're you're kind of driving down the road of life and you're enjoying the scenery and things are going well and there's no bumps in the road. And all of a sudden you turn a curve and and there's this big sign. You didn't expect it to come. And it doesn't say stop, it says, quit. We've all hit that sign. We all had it happen.

You get broadsided by things you never saw coming. And you're tempted to quit. Or you'll be discouraged because of something somebody said to you or about you. And you're tempted to quit. Or you fail, where you absolutely thought you were going to succeed and you're tempted to quit. Or you just get tired of trying. And you're tempted to quit. I remember when I was working on my PhD, my dissertation and I turned in my first chapter I had worked on it for about, I don't know, two or three months, I turned in my first chapter. And was really thought I'd done a great Job and then when I went up to the seminary to meet my professor, he just tore into it. It was wasn't what he wanted, it wasn't the way he wanted it. Basically told me to tear it up and start over. I came home, I was passing a little country church at the time, I was so discouraged.

Had it not been for my sweetheart, I probably would have quit, and I wanted to quit. But I knew that, God had better things. But we've all been there. And if you're a guest of ours today, we've been in a series we started the first of the year, we've been calling mirror image. And what we've been saying is this, just imagine you had a mirror that you could look into. And it wouldn't show you what you look like on the outside, it would show you what you look like on the inside, what would you see inside of you? What would be in your heart? What would be in your soul? And we've been, it's really a series on character. Because the most important part of every one of us is our character. It's not what people see on the outside that counts, is what you really are on the inside that really and truly matters.

And so we've been exploring the various building materials that go into this house called character. And we talked about things like integrity and honesty and humility and authenticity. And today we're gonna talk about what I believe is one of the greatest values and the greatest virtues you've got to have. If you're going to be a person of character, I would say it's one of the most important lessons you parents need to be teaching your children and your grandparents as you get older need to be modeling for your grandchildren. And that's what I call perseverance. I cannot tell you how important perseverance is. I'll give you an example. You'll never read a biography of a great quitter. You'll never see a long line of people following great quitters. You'll never see trophies given out to great quitters. You'll never see awards given out to great quitters.

Former President Calvin Coolidge, he put it best. He said, "Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not. Nothing more common than unsuccessful individuals with talent. Genius will not. Unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not. The world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent". And this morning we're gonna study about a man in the Bible, who has a book in the Bible named after him. As a matter of fact, the book is all about him. And if we would have never had the book, we would have never known his name, we would have never told this story except for one thing that he had going for him. And that was his perseverance.

There was a big sign, bigger than a lot of us have ever faced or ever will face in our life. It said stop, it said give up, it said quit. He had every reason to, nobody would have blamed him had he done it, but he didn't do it. And his name was Job. Not Job, Job. And if you brought a copy of God's word you saw it, one of the easiest books to find. If you just find the book of Psalms and turn left one book you'll find the book of Job. Now if you don't know the story about Job, you've never heard about Job, let me kind of set this up for you. Outside of Jesus Christ, no man in the Bible probably suffered more than Job. As a matter of fact, I would even say that outside of Jesus Christ, nobody in the Bible ever suffered more unjustly, nobody ever got more of what he did not deserve. No one ever had life treat him more unfairly than Job. Because one thing you're gonna find out the very beginning of the story is, Job did not do anything to bring all the troubles he faced on himself.

As a matter of fact, he did just the opposite. We're gonna pick up in Job chapter one, verse one. In the land of Uz, there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright. He feared God, he shunned evil. He had seven sons and 3 daughters, and he owned 7000 sheep, 3000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 donkeys, and had a large number servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East. You talk about a guy that had it all. He had hit the trifecta of life. He was healthy, he was happy, he was holy. He had a beautiful wife. He had 10 precious children. He was filthy rich. He was the most respected and the most revered man in all the land. He was the wizard of Uz. Come on, give me some love here, all right. He was the wizard of Uz. And what is even more remarkable is not what we just read about him is what God's said about him, listen to what God said about him.

Then the Lord said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job"? Now this is what God says, "There's no one on earth like him. He's blameless, he's upright. He's a man who fears me and he shuns evil". Now God knew everybody everywhere. God's talking to the devil himself. And God says to the devil, there's nobody like this guy. You won't find anybody like this guy. There's nobody on this earth that loves me like he does. There's nobody on this earth that looks to me like he does. There's nobody on this earth that lives for me like he does.

Well God and Satan are in this conversation. But what happened was, Satan comes to God and he says, "You know, I know why this guy loves you. I know why this guy serves you. I know why this guy obeys you". "Well, why"? "Well, look what you do for him. The man's rich, he's got a beautiful wife. He's got wonderful children. He's got all these sheep. He's got all these cattle, he's got all this money. He's healthy as a horse and who wouldn't love you with all of that? I'll tell you this, I bet you if you took all that away from him, I bet he wouldn't love you like you think he loves you". So he says, "How about let me put his faith to the test". And God permits it. And that's when all hell breaks loose. Thieves come and steal his oxen, his donkeys and his camels. Then they kill all of his servants. Lightning strikes and kills all the sheep and all of their shepherds.

And then before he can even call Geico, he loses his family, a tornado sweeps and kills all of his children. And then the coup de gras, he loses his health. He's afflicted with the sores and he's afflicted with these pus filled boils, that covers entire body and not a doctor in sight. So Job goes to sleep one night with everything. And he wakes up the next morning with nothing except the most important thing, God. And he hadn't done one thing to deserve one thing that had happened to him. Somebody said that if Job was a country song writer, he would append a song with this title. I can't eat by day, I can't sleep by night. And the woman I love don't treat me right. And that's exactly what he would have said.

Now, if Job at this point in his life had responded the way many of us would have responded, the way most people would have responded, he would have done one simple thing, he would have quit. He would have quit on God, he would have quit on the church. He would have quit on his faith. He would have quit on himself. He would have quit on his life. Had he done that, this book would have never been written. This story would have never been told. And the name of Job would have never been known. But because he had this one thing going for him. He was a man of perseverance. He was a man who didn't know the meaning of the word quit. He teaches us some of the greatest lessons.

Some of us in this room, some of us watching right now on a computer, by television need to know right now. Tough times never last but tough people do. Tough times never last but tough people do. And as you live life, we're gonna learn three things that Job faced, we're going to face all right. Number one, we shall face problems that will make us want to quit. We will face problems that will make us want to quit. By the way, this is very personal. It's home to me. 1000 ministers quit the ministry every month. 1000 ministers say, "I don't need this in my life. I don't want this in my life. This is not what I bargained for. This is not what I signed up for. I can't take it anymore. I'm gonna go sell shoes. I'm going to sell insurance. I'm going to dig ditches, I am done".

And listen, I'm not whining, I'm not complaining. I love what I do. I can't believe God has called me to do what I do. I don't ever wanna do anything else. But I can tell you, there's been more than a few Monday mornings I've said, "You know what, I've had it". There's got to be something else I can do. There's got to be something better than this. I just don't know that I wanna do this anymore. So the next time you feel like you got problems, the next time you feel like you're overwhelmed by all the wrong things and bad things going on in your life, go read the book of Job. You say will it make you feel better? Oh, no, it'll make you feel worse. But it will put your problems in perspective. They call the day the stock market crashed Black Monday.

Well Job had the blackest of all Mondays. He didn't just lose this 401k. He didn't just lose the money in the bank. He didn't just lose his house. He didn't just lose his car or his clothes or his jewelry. He lost everything. Because when you read verse 13 through 18 of this first chapter, you're gonna find one of the greatest estates and one of the greatest pieces of wealth anyone ever had. He lost it all. And it all happened in less time than it takes for the earth to rotate on its axis one day. So let's just review. A few enemies stole all of us sheep. Thieves and murderers kill all of his serves. A tornado leaves all of his children dead and buried under the rubble of their homes, and that's just day one.

Day two, Satan raises the stakes even higher. He goes back to God a second time. He says, "Well," God says, "See Job still loves me. Job still worships me". He says, "Oh, yeah, but I want skin for skin and flesh for flesh. You've taken all he had let me have a crack at him". And God says, "Go ahead". And Satan drops a disease bomb on Job. Literally obliterates his health. As matter of fact, a pastor went through the book of Job just to see all the physical problems that Job had. Look at this list of problems he had, listen to this. He had inflamed ulcerous sores. Persistent itching. Degenerative changes in facial skin and disfiguration. That comes, can happen in a long sermon. Total loss of appetite. Fears and depression. Purulent sores that burst open, scab over cracking ooze with pus. Worms that form in the sores, breathing difficulties, foul breath, weight loss, chronic excruciating pain, high fever, chills and diarrhea.

And you think you feel bad with a headache. This is all the things that Job faced, and by the way, remember, this was before insurance covered pre-existing conditions. So what happens? Well you can imagine, nobody wants to be around Job. And Job doesn't want to be around anybody. So he's now rejected, he's isolated and you know what he does. He is so down at so out, he relocates to the city dump. That's what we would call it today. Here's what we read. Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it, as he sat among the ashes.

Now, the Hebrew word there for ashes, it refers to the garbage dump. It refers to a place outside the city, where they would burn excrement and they would burn rubbish and they would burn garbage. I remember when 911 hit in December of that year, Tracey and I had to go to New York for a certain function. So we flew up there, and we went down to what's known as ground zero. And I mean, I just could not believe it. It's where the World Trade Center had totally collapsed. Here it was September, October, four months later. And you go down and all you can see is twisted steel and rubbish and smoke still coming up out of the ground. Well Job had now become a human ground zero. And Job began to ask the questions we would all ask if we were in his position. Why and why me? We've all been there, right? Something bat happens, why, why me?

And we almost always when something bad happens, we almost always automatically ask this question. How do I get out of this? First question we ask. When we get into it, we're asking, how do I get out of this? That's the wrong question. the right question is, what should I get out of this? God what are you trying to teach me? What do I need to learn? Because here's what you're gonna learn as we study this man. Problems in life are never meant to defeat you. Problems in life are meant, or depress you or even discourage you. They're meant to develop you. Problems are not tools to tear you down. They are test to build you up. Well, Job has got a lot of trouble. We understand that right? He's mourning over his family. His kids are gone, his wealth is gone. His health is gone, you think he's a man. Things are bad, oh, they get worse. Because not only when we face problems that will make us want to quit.

We will hear people that will tell us to quit. I mean, this is unbelievable. Job is now bathed in an ocean of defeat, devastation, death, disease, depression. But there's one more way Job didn't see coming and smacked him right in the face. It was the wave of discouragement. Because Listen, it's one thing to be tempted to give out, to give in, to give up. To be tempted to throw in the towel, to be tempted just to walk away from all of it. But it's another thing when people tell you, that's what you ought to do. You ought to just give up on that marriage. You ought to just walk out on that husband. You ought to just give up on that Job. You ought to just quit that dream. I mean, that's the hardest part of all. 'Cause here's Job, drowning in a sea of sorrow. His head is barely above above water.

What he needs is a helping hand for someone to reach down and pull him up and pull him out. But instead, the people that he loves the most, and the people that he trusts the most, you know what they do? They put their foot on his head? They shove him down? Here's Job, he's in a garbage dump. Sitting on a pile of rubbish. He's scraping these sores off of his skin. Despair surrounds him like flies at a pigsty. You oughta kind of love this thing in a way. His wife comes up to him. His lifelong mate, his soulmate, his better half. She comes up to him and she says these warm, soothing, uplifting, encouraging words. His wife said to him, "Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die"?

What a woman she is, man, what a what a wife she is. She says are you still maintaining, by the way there's that word, your integrity. I mean that's the one thing that Job still had though had almost lost everything else. It's the one thing he couldn't afford to lose. Now she says to him, "Hey Job, you know what you ought to do? Throw away your integrity. Go up to the top of highest mountain and take a flying leap and shake your fist to the face of God on the way down". Really, that's all you got? I mean, that's the best you can do? You know. Some people try to encourage, you ever noticed this? They don't know how, they try. I mean, they do.

Lady came up to me three weeks ago. She said, "You will never know how much your sermons are meant to my husband since he lost his mind". They try to be encouraging, they just don't quite know how to get there. Well, the one thing that Job, and continued to do was the right thing. And he had done the right thing, by not responding in the wrong way. Now, full disclosure, later on in the book, yes, he will question God, but he doesn't quit on God. He will confront God, but he doesn't curse God. He'll try to reason with God, but he never rejects God. He'll try to stand up to God, but he never walks away from God. But just imagine your husband or your wife, your soulmate, the best friend you have in the world. You're in the dumps. I mean, you're as low as you could ever get.

Can you imagine that loved one coming to you and saying, "I know exactly what you need to do. You need to commit suicide. You need to take your life. And oh, by the way, go out in a blaze of glory, shake your fist at God while you're going out. That's exactly what you ought to do". You know why? Because every time that you've got a problem that slaps you in the face. Every time life goes wrong. Every time it comes up snake eyes for you, there are two things that Satan always get you to try to do. He will try to get you to quit on God and quit on your faith in God. I've seen it happen time and time and time and time again.

One of the toughest things I've had to witness in my ministry. And I've seen it so many times. And what's really tough is there's nothing I can do about it. I've seen people in my ministry, they came every Sunday. They served, they'd sing in a choir, they would help in the nursery, they work with teenagers. But then tragedy would strike and they quit. They give up on God. They give up on the church. They give up on their faith, and they would give up on their selves. Well, the good news is, okay ready, here's the good news. Now his wife has already told him what to do, but here's some good news. Job still has some really great friends.

Here's the bad news. Job had some really great friends. So there are these friends and put it in perspective. They are the original dumb and dumber. Okay you remember Lloyd and Harry in "Dumb and Dumber", remember them? They're always trying to do the right thing but they wind up doing the wrong thing the wrong way and they make things work. Well Job has got these three buddies? And they do the same thing. Because even Job knew I've not done anything to deserve what's happening to me. I've lived for God, I've loved God, I've looked at God, I've dotted every i, I've crossed every t, I don't deserve what's happening. I didn't bring this on myself. These three stooges feel like, "You know what you need Job. You need some prosecuting attorneys. You need somebody to help you to see what you really are".

So you know what they do? Where she said to Job, "Throw your integrity away". They said to Job, "Job, why don't you admit you don't have any integrity and you never did. Why don't you admit you are just a hypocrite, why don't you quit on yourself"? 'Cause here's their argument, this is what they said to Job. Job, God is holy and must punish sin. God is punishing you. Therefore, you've done something wrong and you're getting exactly what you deserve. That was their argument with Job. God's holy, God punishes when you do wrong. You're being punished. You must have done something wrong. So Job's wife says, "Why don't you throw your integrity away"? They say, "Why don't you admit you never had any to begin with"?

So now here's poor old Job. Not only is everything seem to be against Job, everybody seems to be against Job. His wife is against Job. His best friends are against Job. He don't have a friend in the world, nothing is going right. Everybody and everything has joined this one choir singing this one word song over and over and over, quit. And we've all been there or one day we'll be. We've been knocked down flat on our back lying on the mat, the referee is about to reach the count of 10. And we've made, we got one of two choices, what are we gonna do? Am I gonna lay here and quit? Or am I going to get up and fight? Now the interesting thing is, his wife thinks I've solved your problem Job, just take a flying leap off the highest mountain you can find. And his friends think they solved his problem, Job, why don't you just face up?

"And that you've messed up? And why don't you just come clean and tell everybody what you've done to deserve what's happening to you? Why don't you quit on yourself"? She said, "Why don't you quit on God"? They said, "Why don't you quit on yourself"? And if he had, we wouldn't be telling this story. We would never heard of this guy. So now Job's at a crossroads, what's he gonna do? His wife says, quit on God. His friends say, quit on you. And there's gonna be that time in your life, you gotta decide, so what am I gonna do? And that leads us to the third lesson. We must have the perspective that ensures that we don't quit. Yeah, we'll face problems that will make us wanna quit. We'll have people that will tell us yeah, you ought to quit. But we've got to have a perspective that enables us, to make sure that we don't quit.

So here's where our Job is. If you're looking at this from a distance you say, you'd say, "Man doesn't look good for Job. Looks like he's on his last legs. Looks like there's no fight left". And you know what, let's all be honest. If Job had said, "You know what, I can't take this anymore. I give up. I quit. I'm done. I am throwing in the towel". That's what most people would have done. That's what a lot of people would do. And let's all be honest, you really couldn't blame him. You really couldn't stand and judge. "You are like most of us, what do you want to say? How dare you quit"? Most of us would have said, "Man I'd have quit a long time ago".

So let's go back to that first devastating day. Remember that day when Job lost everything? He lost his fortune and he lost that beautiful family. And you're reading about all of this and then all of a sudden, you come to verse 20 in Job chapter one. And in nine words in the Hebrew text, they describe what Job did before. And then then they tell us what Job said, 'cause here's what happened. When Job gets word that he's lost everything. And when he gets word, even his family has been destroyed, wiped out. He did what any of us would have done. His knees went weak, he collapsed. He fell on the ground. He's flat off his back. He's trying to decide now what do I do? And then you read these words, listen to this. At this, Job got up.

Now this may sound trite. This may sound a little bit, business leaderish kind of thing, but it's true. Sometimes one of the greatest things you'll do on a given day in your life is just get back up. Just quit laying and wallowing in self pity. Because you'll never get anywhere feeling sorry for yourself, you just don't. And even though it may be one of the hardest things you'll ever do, sometimes one of the best things you'll do, just get out of bed. Just force yourself to take that first step. Just say, "Today I am not going to give in. I am not going to give out, I'm not going to give up. I am not going to quit, get up". So Job peels himself off the ground. He gets up, he goes back out into the boxing life, a boxing match called life and he says, "You know what, I'm gonna fight one more round".

As you know I'm a big sports fan and I love to read about sports history. And I was reading about a great boxer that lived at the turn of the 20th century. His name was, gentleman, Jim Corbett, he was the heavyweight champion of the world, really one of the greatest fighters who ever lived. He said something when I read it, I thought, that's so good. Even though it's over over 100 years old, it's still so true. I want you to listen to what he said. "Fight one more round. When your arms are so tired that you can hardly lift your hands to come on guard, fight one more round. When your nose is bleeding and your eyes are black and you're so tired you wish your opponent would crack you one on the jaw and put you to sleep. Fight one more around remembering that the man who fights one more round is never whipped".

Now, here's what's amazing about Job. He collapses out of grief and out of sorrow. I mean it just crushed him, I can understand that. But he gets back up. But here's the amazing thing. It's not that he got back up. He voluntarily went back down. You say wait a minute, I thought you said you gotta get up. Yeah, there are times you have to get up. But then they're the same times you have to go back down, you say, okay, I don't understand. Look at why Job went back down. This is worth coming to die for, watch this. At this Job got up, tore his robe, shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in, everybody say that word. Worship. He fell to the ground in worship and said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, naked I will depart".

The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. May the name of the Lord be praised. Job said I got up but I'm going back down. Not to wallow in self-pity. Not to say, "Oh, why always me"? Not to walk away from God. I'm going to go back to God in worship. No blame, no bitterness, no whining, no crying, no cursing. None of this, "How dare you do this to me? How dare you take my son? How dare you cost me my Job? I go to church, I pay my tithe, I work in the nursery. I've been faithful all these years, and this is what I get in regard? This is what I get out of all of this"? None of that. He gives God the one thing that God always deserves at good times and bad times, and that is worship. Yep, Job's entire world had walked out on him. But Job would not walk out on God.

I wanna tell you the thing I was told at our first service. The thing in my ministry, one thing that's broken my heart I kind of alluded to it a moment ago. It just, and you see it, and you wanna do something about it, but you just can't. It's just times, you're just helpless. I've seen people, it's just the worst thing you watch. I've seen People like us, I mean, every Sunday that they'd sit there, they'd sit here, they'd sit there. They'd work in the nursery, they'd would serve teenagers. They were faithful givers, I mean, they were all in. But then they lost that job. Or then the wife walked out, or their son died in childbirth. And guess what, they did the one thing they should not have done, they quit. They quit church, they quit worship, they quit God, they quit God's people.

I want you to hear me. It is at the worst time of your life that you need to be here. It's at the worst time of your life you need him. You can't make it without him. It's at the worst time of our lives, we need the encouragement of each other. We need to walk through it together. We need people bearing up our burdens. And it's just so frustrating to see people doing the one thing that doesn't make it better. It always makes it worse. But Job said, I'm not gonna make that mistake. Because Satan in one ear was saying, "You're gonna worship him after all of this"? And Job basically said in a very nice way, "Sit down and shut up. 'Cause he's the God that loves me. And he's the God I love. And I don't love him just when things are going good. I love him when things are going bad. I don't worship him when I've got a job, I worship him when I don't. I don't worship him when I get what I want out of life, I worship him when I don't".

That's the kind of perseverance that he had. None of this griping and complaining. So what does he say to his wife? I love this part, right? His wife says, "Curse God and die". What does Job say to his wife, boy I love this look. "You're talking like a foolish woman? Shall we accept good from God and not trouble"? You know, that's one of the most incredible statements you'll read in all of the Bible. 'Cause let's face it, here's, listen. I'm with you, I'm not gonna look at you like I'm holier than you, I'm a guy just like you. I want it to be all sunshine and no rain. I want it to be all roses and no thorns. I want it to be all gain and no pain. But I have found it in my life and you'll find out in your life. Your faith is real in God. Your love for God is real. Your devotion to God is real, not in the good times in the bad times.

When you're willing to look up into heaven, and you're willing to say with the tears coming down your cheeks, and you're so full of grief you can't even sleep at night. "Even if you slay me, I'm gonna trust you. Even if you take my wife, I'm gonna love you. Even if you do whatever life can throw me I'm going to stay by your side". 'Cause here's what Job was saying. We may not always like what life gives us, but we can always trust the God who loves us and gives us life, we could always do that. No Job didn't quit on God, or his faith in God. And because of God and his faith in God, he didn't quit on himself and that's why you read this fantastic testimony.

Let me tell you, this is one of the great testimony about anybody in the Bible. Listen to this. In all this Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing. In all this Job did not sin in what he said. Because of his perseverance, we know about this guy. Because of his perseverance, we know about this book. Because of his perseverance, we know about these stories. As a matter of fact, look how cool it is. 1800 years after this happened. 18 centuries after it happened, the brother of Jesus, a man named James wrote a book in the New Testament by his name the book of James. And listen to who he refers to. "You have heard of Job's perseverance. And you have seen what the Lord finally brought about". For 1800 years, generation after generation after generation, dad would tell their sons about Job. And the son would tell the grandson about Job. And the grandson would tell the great grandson about Job.

And that story was so fantastic. That story was so great, that story was so inspiring that story was uplifting, everybody knew about Job. Everybody had heard about Job. Everybody knew, there's one thing I know about my relationship with God, I will never quit. I won't quit on him, I won't put all my faith in him and I won't quit on me, 1800 years. You know why? Because so many people misunderstand what this book is about. This book is not primarily about Job suffering, is primarily about Job standing. It's not primarily about the fact, look what happened to Job. That's not what the book is about, what the book is about is, look how Job responded to God. He didn't walk out the door.

There was a history professor, who once said, "If Christopher Columbus had turned his back, nobody would have blamed him, but nobody would remember him either". So true, so I got news for you. And the way it happens to preachers too. When life goes sideways, and it does, when trouble, a wave of trouble smacks you in the face and knocks you flat on the back, every single time it happens, you will do one of two things. There's only two ways you'll go. There's not three or four, there's only one or two you'll go. And oh by the way, you will go one way or the other. There won't be any standing still. I mean when life puts it to you, when life smacks you down, when life is that the most unfair it can possibly be to you, you will do one of two things. You will lower your view of God or you will raise your faith in God. You won't stand still.

So you'll either do this, "So that's the kind of God you are? I do all this for you, and you let this happen to me? You gotta be kidding. And you think I'm gonna serve you? And you think I'm gonna worship you? And you think I'm gonna obey you"? Or as hard as it is, you say, "The very fact that you sent your Son to die for my sins is all I need to know. You didn't quit on me when I deserved it. I'll never quit on you because you don't deserve it. I'm gonna stay right by your side". So just remember this, when you get smacked down, and you will, You're gonna get broadsided by that car one day. And you gotta make a decision. Which way am I gonna go? Just I want you to remember this little phrase, okay. God is still in charge. If you lose everything you have tonight, God is still in charge. If that spouse walks out on you after 35 years of marriage, even though you've been faithful for some idiot out there, God is still in charge.

If life wipes out everybody you love, God is still in charge. If your business goes bankrupt and you lose everything you have, God is still in charge. If the X ray comes back, and it's bad news, God is still in charge. So you may question God, and by the way, let me just help y'all on something. You say, "Is it wrong to question God"? I think it's natural, and let me just tell you, he can handle it. You can question God. But don't you ever quit on God? Because God never quits on you. I'ma prove it to you. You know how I know that I'm going to heaven when I die. I mean, I'm not 99.99%, sure. In fact, I am so sure, I'm 128% sure, I don't even know where the 28 comes from. But I'm telling you right now I am. I'm more certain of this than I am that you're sitting here listening to me right now. I'm going to heaven when I die. I'm going to heaven.

If I die today, you wanna shed a tear or two that's okay. After that just go pull for the dogs while is all good 'cause I'll be with the Lord. And you say, "How are you so sure? 'Cause you're a pastor"? Has nothing to do with it. Because you don't drink or smoke? Got nothing to do with it. Because you've been faithful to your wife 43 years? Nothing to do with it. Paid your taxes and been an honest citizen? Nothing to do with it.

So how do you know? How are you sure? How can you be so confident? You're gonna spend eternity with God? It's real easy. 'Cause I know that God will never quit on me. No matter how much I disappoint him. No matter how far short I fall off his glory. No matter how bad I blow it. He will never quit on me. As a matter of fact, a man by the name of Paul later wrote it this way. He said, "I'm confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus". So let me just kind of wrap this up and ask you a question. What if Jesus had quit on the way to the cross, where would we be? Or how about this? Why if Jesus gets on the cross? And about the first time they pop one nail and there he is, "Whoa, whoa, whoa wait a minute. I don't think, not today". Where would we be? But he didn't, so we wouldn't and we shouldn't.
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