[Dr. Ostten is the president of Temple Baptist University in Westlake, Louisiana. He is also the pastor of the Bethel Bible Baptist Church]
"Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God." Second Corinthians 1:3-4
By way introduction to this article let me give you dear readers a background on the recent problems that the Ostten family has experienced and is experiencing. What God has done for us and is doing for us may help someone through some bad times.
On August 29, 1999 Sandra Kay Ostten McKenney, our oldest daughter was killed when the vehicle she was driving stalled on a railroad crossing and was hit by a train. The vehicle was pushed 1,100 feet down the track, exploded and burned up. We believe she was dead on impact and did not suffer in the fire. On September 1, 1999 at 10:00 in the morning we held her funeral and that morning a 1:00 A. M. my father, Walter Lee Ostten, Jr., died. We buried him September 3, 1999 beside his oldest granddaughter Sandra. Needless to say the Ostten and McKenney family have been in the fires and trough the fires. We do not need your sympathy, but do covet your prayers.
In this time of troubles, tragedy, and trials we have individually and as a family experienced the comfort of God. The blessings of knowing where your loved ones are cannot be emphasized too much. We know that dad and Sandra are in heaven and they are not suffering any pain or troubles. Thank God for His great salvation.
We, the family, are all involved in the work of the Lord. Sandra's husband, Bro. Danny Mckenney, is the pastor of an independent Baptist church, her two oldest brothers, Ronald Lee Ostten, Jr. and Steven H. Ostten are pastors of independent Baptist churches, her sister Hope Ostten Curtis is the wife of Bro. Vance Ray Curtis, Sr., associate pastor of Bethel Bible Baptist church, of which I am the pastor. Her youngest brother, Jean-Paul Ostten, is finishing up his Bible College work and is serving the Lord in our church. Her mother, Mrs. Jean Marie Granger Ostten, my wife, is a great preacher's wife and is a great servant of the Lord. We all have access to the grace of God and the comfort of God because we are the children of God. Born again by the blood of Jesus Christ.
When this happened we all went into shock at the offset but we soon realized that we had resources that the lost did not have and that the back-slidden child of God did not have. We then began to draw on those resources. We have the Saviour, the Scriptures, and the family of God to help us through these great trials. We quickly turned to all these sources of help and are receiving great comfort. DON'T GRIEVE FOR US, PRAY FOR US TO BE USED BECAUSE OF THIS GREAT TRIAL!
Many people have sent us literature and notes to encourage us; this has been a great encouragement. Don't count it lightly concerning the notes you send to a grieving family or person. The notes, cards, phone calls, and e-mail have been a great comfort in many ways. But the great God of Heaven has been our greatest source of comfort. I am going to share with you the things that God has given us.
When a trial, tragedy, troubles, and testings come in life, here is what one must do to go on to a higher plane of service and spiritual piano coversfare.
I. TURN TO THE LORD, OUR GREAT GOD.
We hear some folks say, "When you get to the end of your rope then tie a knot in it and hang on." But this is not what one should do for one will never move on if they hang on to the rope. One must turn loose and let God have his way in their life. When we turn to the Lord and allow Him to minister to us, to show us His grace and to comfort us in the time of trials, then we can see that He is working all things out for our good and for His glory.
Mat 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
When one does not turn loose and allow God to have His way the pain and suffering will not begin to be healed and will not be eased. We still have tears and sometimes we miss Sandra and my dad, but we are seeing how God is working in our family, church and friends through all this trial. To God be the glory He doeth all things well!
II. TRUST IN THE SAVIOUR AND HIS PRECIOUSE WORD.
One of my preacher friends, Bro. Bill Haag, said, "When something happens in my life, some trial or something I do not understand, then I ask myself this question, 'What does the Bible say about that'?" The Bible has the answer to all our troubles, trials, tribulations, and testings. It has the all the answers we need. Human physiologists, human reasoning and human philosophy does not have the answers, but the word of God has the answers.
God is the sovereign God of this Universe and of our life therefore He is working everything out according to His will for our life. Nothing happens without His direction, control and authority. THERE ARE NO ACCIDENTS WITH GOD!
Heb 13:21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
When we turn to the Lord and trust in Him and His word then we can rest assured that He has our best interest at heart and that He is working out His will in our life.
We do not know what all these testings are going to produce in our life but we know that if we pass the test and trust in our dear Lord then He will show us what He is doing in our life. We may not know all of what He is doing in this life but we will in the life to come.
III. THANK HIM FOR WHAT IS HAPPENING AND WHAT HE IS DOING.
The hardest thing in the world is to thank God for the trials when you are going through the trials, but that is what we must do. We do not know what the future holds but our great and gracious God knows what will come to pass and He knows the way through the wilderness. We need to remember that "Joy cometh in the morning."
Your may think that you cannot give God thanks for that trial but you can let go and let God have His way in your heart and then He will give you the grace to thank Him for the trial. He wants you to be grateful for all that He is doing in your life. It is the goodness of God that leads us to repentance.
1 Thes 5:16 Rejoice evermore.
1 Thes 5:17 Pray without ceasing.
1 Thes 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
It was and is the will of God that we experience this great trial and burden, therefore we must give Him thanks for what has happened and is happening. When we do not get to the place in our life where we can and will give Him thanks for the trial then we will become bitter or we will never get past the suffering. We must, to grow in grace and not have to take the test again, give Him thanks and do it from a heart trusting in Him.
Some people say that God puts His children through tests and trials to see what they will do. That is an unscriptural and ignorant statement, for God is all knowing and sees the future as well as the present. He knows what one will do before they do it. He does not allow trials in our life to see what we would do, but so we can see what we will do during that test. HOW HAVE YOU DONE IN THE TEST?
IV. TESTIY ABOUT THE GRACE OF GOD IN THE TRIAL.
One of the problems people have during trials is that some want to hold their feelings in and do not want to talk about the problem or do not want to testify about the trial. When we begin to talk about what has happened and is happening we begin to see the grace of God in the trial then we can allow God to have his way in our life and heart. My wife and I begin to talk to each other about what happened, about what was happening and what the future might hold. We spent some time talking to each other about Sandra, about daddy, about our other children, our daughter-in-laws and son-in-laws are our children, about our granbliphildren, about my mother and about what this trial would do if we allowed God to have His way.
We spent time in prayer talking to God and thanking Him for all the things that He has done in our life. We are so grateful that we know Sandra and dad are in Heaven and we are so grateful that we know we can go to meet them one of these days. GOD HAS BEEN GOOD TO THE OSTTEN FAMILY!
Psa 77:11 I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old.
Psa 77:12 I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.
It is God that is working in our life and it is God who has the reins to our well being. We must turn to Him, trust Him, thank Him, and testify of what He is doing in our life. In conclusion let me encourage each of you dear readers to turn to God in your trials and you will know that God's grace is sufficient for any trial or trouble that you are going through or are going to go through. Remember these great truths found in our text.
2 Cor 1:3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our
Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
1. God is the source of all comfort.
2. God will comfort us in all our tribulation.
3. God is making us able to comfort others.
4. We can comfort others with the same comfort God has comforted us.