Preparing for Sudden Disaster Podcast Notes

Based on this verse. It’s my life verse and it’s the life verse of anyone who grew up with an alcoholic.

Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, 26  for the Lord will be at your side and will keep your foot from being snared. Proverbs 3

I spoke on it in church. Planned the message 6 months in advance. The week I spoke on this verse, this happened.

I had this strange sensation around my trunk and down my legs. When I returned from Brazil my doctors office called on Wednesday to schedule an MRI for me.  Two days later I found myself in an MRI machine.  Anyone here have the pleasure of crawling into that long metal tube.  If you haven’t let me give you a hint.  Don’t look up.  They have open MRI machines but that’s not what they stuck me in.  The ceiling was 4 inches from my face.  They give you head phones and ask you what music you want to hear so I requested Christian music but the minute the machine started I couldn’t hear any of it.  A minute into the MRI the lady doing it asked me if the volume was okay and I did this signaling to turn it up.  She said, “Okay, I’ll keep it right there.”  So I was in a metal tube listening to mechanical clanking for an hour and a half.  No breaks.  But I made it through.  I actually think I fell asleep a couple of times.  I got done and went home thinking my doctor would tell me the results the next week at our appointment.  He called at 2:00 to tell me I have what looks like a benign tumor inside my spinal column pushing against my spinal cord. Then he scheduled an appointment with a neurosurgeon.  By the way, that’s never really great news.  Hey, you get to meet with a neurosurgeon.  So I hung up expecting to hear answers that next Wednesday.  I got a call 30 minutes later saying, “Actually, we want you to come in right away.”  I know that was good news that I would have answers quicker, but my heart dropped.  By four o’clock I was sitting in the office of the nicest neurosurgeon. We spent the first ten minutes talking about the world cup.  Then she showed me my results.  This tumor, which she also thought was benign is pushing my spinal cord like this.  We chatted for a while and she told me we’d have to do surgery but she didn’t do that kind of surgery, it would have to be another guy.  Then she stopped and said, “Let me see if he’s here.”  She found him and I found myself sitting and chatting with two neurosurgeons at 5:15 on a Friday afternoon.  When I finally got around to asking  the doctor how long the surgery would be I was thinking “outpatient?.” My neurosurgeon told me that it is a 6 to 8 hour surgery with a five day recovery period in the hospital and a 6 week total recovery.  To add to the drama the day before I kissed my wife goodbye for a 13 day trip to Uganda. Surgery is scheduled for this Thursday at 5:30

I wished I had chosen this verse to speak on. May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.

What are the moments in your life that fit under this heading “Sudden disaster?”

Disaster reveals part of God’s character

My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke,
12 because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in. Proverbs 3:11,12

What picture do you think of when you hear the word discipline?
What kind of discipline did your parents practice?
What is your family practice?

It’s easy to see this as punishment.  Anger.  Harsh words and disappointment.  What we miss here is that God brings these things as a result of his love.

I want to point out too that there are lots of ways that parents discipline their children.  Sure one is spankings or time outs.  But another way parents build discipline into their children is by putting them through hard situations.  We push our kids to do those things because hard work builds character.

God grows us through positive reinforcement as well as disaster

When we got our dog Jasmine I asked my friend Bill who has spent 25 years training dolphins at Sea World, “How should we train this dog.”  He said, “Positive reinforcement.”  If you have a dog, or a child, or a husband, you know this is the best way to train something.  Positive reinforcement.  If you sit I’ll give you a treat.  If you are nice I’ll take you out to ice cream.  If you clean the garage I’ll give you a kiss.  That kind of discipline works best.

Some of you have this warped view of God.  You view him as a disciplinarian.  He’s angry.  He’s watching you and and can’t wait for you to get out of line so he can whack your knuckles with a ruler. God does have this side that will allow you to face the consequences of you being stupid, but he also gets positive reinforcement.  He wants you to choose him. He’ll make it worth your while.

9 Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; 10  then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. Proverbs 3:9,10

My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion; 22  they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck. 23  Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble. 24  When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Proverbs 3:21

I love that last line.  Your sleep will be sweet.  Doesn’t that sound nice.  Americans are finding sleep harder and harder to find.
Americans filled some 60 million prescriptions for sleeping pills last year, up from 47 million in 2006.

You won’t be worried about all the details of your life
You won’t go to bed money stressed
You won’t go to be reliving conversations that didn’t go well.  I wish I never said that.  This would have been the best comeback.
You won’t be worried about your future.  You’ll know God will make your paths straight.

Jesus has got you covered for your worst case scenario

Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:14-17

I really didn’t want to bring this up.  Don’t talk about death.   You’ll jinx your surgery.  But folks this is our ultimate hope.  God’s got us covered for sudden disaster.  He’s got you covered for ultimate disaster.

Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the Lord will be at your side and will keep your foot from being snared.