When Life Tumbles In, What Then?

Title: When Life Tumbles In, What Then?

Bible Book: John 16 : 33

Author: Ron Hale

Subject: Problems; Trouble; Hardships



"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NIV)

Arthur John Gossip was born in Scotland in 1873. Be became a pastor, a military chaplain in two world wars, and a professor. In 1927, at the age of 54, and just one day after the sudden death of his dear wife, this grieving pastor stood to preach on Sunday morning. His opening remark was an unforgettable question; he asked: When life tumbles in, what then?

Eighty-two years later, I want to ask you that same heartbreaking question. The morning, we are going to be reminded that the Christian life is a journey along a track with two rails:

· One rail can be called: Triumph

· One rail can be called: Tragedy

In this life, we are going to face:

Blessings and Battles

Pain and Peace

Victory and Valleys.

But we do not have to live in fear and perpetual panic. The Good Shepherd will always be with us. Someone has said, “Remember this, if you’re walking through the valley of the shadow of death; remember a shadow is cast by the light.”

I’ve come to remind you that the problems we face in this life will either defeat you or develop you, depending on your source of strength. When the pressures and pain of life come, why do some people – crumble, cave-in, or crash? Why do some people grow stronger and wiser? How can some people turn misery into ministry; and some turn hurt into helping?

In John 16, Jesus is at the … end of his earthly ministry; eve of his betrayal; edge of suffering. Jesus is trying desperately to give his disciples comfort and hope in the light of the approaching storm of the cross. I want to give you five things based on the question asked so long ago.


I. God will use problems to … Guide Us!

Before Jesus spoke the words found in John 16:33, he predicted how Peter would deny him. Peter boasted that he would lay down his life for Jesus. In a matter of hours, Peter hears the cold-blooded crow of a rooster and a prophetic pause takes place in his life. He was stopped dead in his tracks as the Holy Spirit brings pin-point conviction.


II. God will use problems to … Grade Us!

God seeks to guide us or test us in order to mature us. There are no short-cuts on the road to spiritual maturity. Peter could have chosen to look at himself as a failure, flop, and flawed follower for the rest of his life. Yet, for every denial came a thousand souls as Peter bravely stands to preach at Pentecost. When God grades us or tests us, it is to break us. Why? So we will depend on His power and might. Peter failed. He failed God. Peter failed God miserably. But, thank God that Peter didn’t see himself as a miserable failure. We must understand that failure is a part of the process of being human. Peter teaches us that every setback gives us the potential for a comeback.


III. God will use problems to … Goad Us!

God will use problems to spur us forward.

Eccl. 12:11 says, “The words of the wise are like goads.”

A goad was a sharp piece of iron attached to the end of a stick or pole. An ancient farmer plowing with his Ox may goad it to spur it forward. A stubborn Ox may kick against the goad.

Remember Jonah? He represents stubborn believers that want to live by their own rules until they find themselves in deep trouble. At the end of his downward spiral, Jonah realized that God was trying to get his attention. Why, because God had a plan for his life? Just like He has a plan for your life!


IV. God will use problems to … Ground Us!

God wants to build character and mature us. God’s focus is not our comfort; but our character. Your life will never be free of troubles, trials, and tribulations. There is no such thing as a pain-free life!

The Father’s desire is to make you, mold you, and mature you into the person He wants you to be and become. Will you trust Him even if life doesn’t seem fair at the moment? Life on this side of eternity will never be fair, but it can be full (in Christ Jesus)!


V. God will use problems to … Guard Us!

God will guard, protect, and shield you as you face the enemy and evil.

Do you remember how God guarded and protected Joseph? His older brothers conspired against him and sold him into slavery. But the unseen hand of God was upon his life. He climbed from that incredible low to the being one of the most powerful men in the world. Years later, before his fearful brothers, Joseph said, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good.” Gen. 50:20


Jake DeShazer was part of General Jimmy Doolittle’s bombing raid over Japan in WWII. DeShazer’s plane crash landed, he was captured, and he spent forty months in prison. All but 184 day was spent in solitary confinement. During the dark days of his soul, he gained access to a Bible. He read it and gave his life to Christ. He made it through the war and came back to America. He informed his parents that he became a Christian. He, also, informed them he was going back to Japan as a missionary. DeShazer returned to Japan and started over ten churches. He wrote a gospel tract telling of his conversion as a prisoner of war. One day that gospel tract was handed to a former Japanese war hero. He read the tract and bought a Bible. He became a Christian and a Japanese evangelist. His life touched thousands of lives for Christ. That Japanese man was Commander Mituso Fuchida, the 39 year old, Japanese hero pilot that led and commanded the surprise December 7th, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. I’m sure it was difficult for Jake DeShazer to see the unseen hand of God while he was crash landing, while in an enemy war prison, while in solitary confinement. But, God was at work …

· Guiding him

· Grading him

· Goading him

· Grounding him

· Guarding him …

Just like He is doing in your life!

Church family it all boils down to this: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Rom. 8:28


Posted in


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top