Summary: How to allow the painful things in life to be used for God’s glory.
Dare to Pursue
“Every Scar Tells a Story”
October 22, 2006
ME: Pain is a part of life. In fact, it is one of the very first parts of life. In childbirth, there is pain and it is a difficult experience. Unfortunately, that is not where the pain ends in our lives. We deal with pain everyday in some form or another. Some of the pain is the result of our own poor choices. However, pain in our lives is sometimes the result of others poor choices.
It is in the journey through the pain that we begin to define ourselves. The journies of our lives make up the experiences that shape who we are.
“Experience is not what happens to you. It is what you do with what happens to you”
It is through pain that we have incredible stories and we have amazing images of the context and content of our lives. We need to understand that God does not hold our past against us, but the pain we endured during that time has incredible ability to mold us and define us.
I have some great stories that in many ways are the result of pain in my life. One day I was sitting with my kids when one of them asked about a set of scars on my legs. Right around my right kneecap there is this interesting series of little scars that form a triangle. My kids wanted to know what they were from. So I was able to tell them how I played third base in a baseball game instead of catching. There was a play at the base where a runner slid into my leg as I tried to apply the tag. The scars on my knee form the exact imprint of where the spikes from his cleats went into my leg.
As I told that story one of the kids noticed that I have a scar on my foot between two of my toes. They wanted to know where that was from. So I got to explain tot hem how I was chopping wood for the fireplace when the axe bounced off the woodpile and hit my foot. At first I didn’t think it hurt me because I didn’t feel any pain. It was only when I noticed that my shoe was filled with blood that I also noticed this stinging sensation every time I took a step.
WE: Like me, many of you have some outward signs of pain. You have scars and wounds that tell a story. You have events or people that you remember every time you see those scars. For many of us, the scars that cause the most pain are unseen. They are the results of poor choices and desperate actions that have led us away from what we dreamed or intended for our lives. I want to help you understand today that every scar tells a story.
God: Today I want to show you a passage from the bible that helps us to understand how the apostle Paul dealt with the pain in our lives. It shows us his real self, his real hurt and his real need to depend on God.
“We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us. And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety.” 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 (New Living Translation)
There are three basic principles we need to learn from this passage.
1) Life can become overwhelming.
Now I know what you are thinking. You came today to expect some great truth from scripture to be taught and to learn some new insight into God, and I give you something you already know. Hey, I live to point out the obvious.
Is there anyone here who has never at some point been completely overwhelmed with life? We can all relate to that. We all connect with the concept that life is tough sometimes and we are not sure we are going to survive.
“We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die.” 2 Corinthians 1:8-9a (NLT)