1. Sermon: Choosing faith in the midst of suffering, Job 1-2
In this sermon, the chaplain asks listeners to take a look at three things choosing faith won't do for someone who suffers, and three things choosing faith will do.
Choosing faith in the midst of suffering will not eliminate the pain, will not stop the questions, will not create a logical reason for your suffering.
Choosing faith in the midst of suffering will remind you that God is in control, will be a rare gift to God, will bring you closer to God.
Andy uses a preaching method of a "key illustration" that runs throughout the sermon.
Key Illustration, Part I: When 38-year-old Carlotta Bennett realized the water in her house had reached her family's hiding place in the attic, she lost control of her emotions.
She had good reason to panic. Hurricane Katrina was blowing sections of the roof off her home, her house was off its foundation, and the rising water was threatening to drown the five people trapped in the attic.
Two, huge pecan trees had fallen around the house, one in the front, the other in the back.
As the house shifted from side to side, the trees wedged the house in place and kept it from collapsing. Nevertheless, every new blast of wind, and the rising water, threatened to kill the entire family.
That's when Carlotta's 4-year-old daughter decided it was time to pray.
"I've never been so scared in my life," Bennett said, "but that's when Arminta said,
'Mama, you've got to calm down. Let's pray.'" She grabbed all of us by the hand, and started praying."
When the child finished praying, the water started receding. When the family scrambled down the attic stairs, they found almost every entrance blocked by the trees that had saved their lives.
Clayberg Bennett, Carlotta's husband, led his family through a window, and all five members gingerly made their way to a Middle School, where they would stay for the next
"Once it was over, we had to get out, but we couldn't get out the door," Carlotta said.
"The roots of that tree pulled the porch up in front of the door, so we had to climb out a window. A beam fell on my back, so I couldn't hardly walk. Once we got outside, we had to walk on top of debris, with nails sticking up everywhere, and all kinds of seafood on the ground – it was awful."
Four people in the neighborhood were dead, and many were injured. The sound of howling winds gave way to the sounds of screaming people, and collapsing houses. A casino barge floated down the Bennett's street, which was less than two blocks from the coast. Copyright ©2005 LifeWay Christian Resources
"There was a shed floating down our street, and a riding lawnmower," Bennett said.
"There were photo albums open in our yard, photo albums from other people's homes.
We had two cars, but they just left me. We lost everything."
At the middle school, more than 350 people, many of them injured, lived without running water or electricity for the next week and a half. The Red Cross delivered the first loads of food and juices, and families bathed outside from a water spigot. Only later did they find that the water was contaminated. Inside the school, toilets refused to flush, and conditions were becoming dangerously unhealthy. After five days, most of the families moved outside, where they lived on the parking lot for five more days.
With their world in disarray, and fading hopes for a rescue, the Bennett's and other destitute families began to pray for a miracle. In the face of such a disaster, it was the only thing they knew how to do. (Note: This illustration is completed as the conclusion of the sermon.)
People have been dealing with the destructive power of hurricanes and earthquakes and tornadoes as long as humans and the forces of nature have been doing battle. When the storms finally subside, another battle rages.
It's the battle of the heart, as people ask a very important question: Why would the God who created us allow so much…