Sermon Illustrations

It’s Better Higher Up! (08.31.05--Sickness!--John 16:32)

Webley our oldest dachshund has a thing about long walks. Simply, he doesn’t like them very much. Webley is eight and getting up there in years. Anything over a mile or so can be grueling for him. And, because of this the pads of his paws are not as well conditioned as they ought to be.

Webley went on a “forced march” the other day with my wife, daughter and the other two dogs. They did about three miles and poor Webley’s paws were a bit on the raw side when they returned home. Yet, even though his paws were hurting, somehow Webley didn’t seem to pay all that much attention to them. As long as he had a warm body to snuggle with in a living room armchair, Webley was content. I marveled as I watched him burrow in under my wife’s arm and settle down to a long nap. Injured paws? Sure! Pained dachshund? Not really.

The famous preacher D.L. Moody told about a Christian woman who was always bright, cheerful, and optimistic, even though she was confined to her room because of illness. She lived in an attic apartment on the fifth floor of an old, rundown building. A friend decided to visit her one day and brought along another woman -- a person of great wealth. Since there was no elevator, the two ladies began the long climb upward. When they reached the second floor, the well-to-do woman commented, “What a dark and filthy place!” Her friend replied, “It’s better higher up.” When they arrived at the third landing, the remark was made, “Things look even worse here.” Again the reply, “It’s better higher up.” The two women finally reached the attic level, where they found the bedridden saint of God. A smile on her face radiated the joy that filled her heart. Although the room was clean and flowers were on the window sill, the wealthy visitor could not get over the stark surroundings in which this woman lived. She blurted out, “It must be very difficult for you to be here like this!” Without a moment’s hesitation the shut-in responded, “It’s better higher up.” (Our Daily Bread).

The Bible tells us that God will never leave us all alone (John 16:32). Even when we are in pain or are suffering in any way, there is always one thing that we can be sure of--the presence of our gracious God. Our strength in pain and sorrow ought never to be based on our own ability to bear up or the hope that someone else will answer the call and provide the comfort we need. God has promised that He is our ever present help and comfort. When our “paws” are hurting, we need to seek out a warm friend who will always be there; under whose eternal arm we will always find the security and comfort we need when sickness or injury bless our lives.

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