Summary: The first in a series of three sermons dealing with the hurts in life and how God expects us to handle them.
Today we are going to start a new series, a series that I have entitled Hope for the Hurting. Maybe you are thinking this morning, “Pastor James, that sounds wonderful, but right now, I’m not hurting, and I have plenty of hope.” Well, that’s great, because this message is for you, too. You see, all of us at some time or another are going to be hurt. All of us, at one point, will lose hope. It happened to the best of men and women in the faith; even some of the prophets in the Bible had lost hope at time; some of them were hurt and grieved because of personal loses in their lives, and at sometime in our life, it will happen to you.
It will also help you to handle those who currently are hurting. It doesn’t take me long to think of families and friends that I know are hurting this morning, and need this message of encouragement. I’m sure that many of you can think of people right off of the top of your heads as well. Unfortunately, I’m not able to speak to them this morning—but you are. You can use God’s Words of encouragement and comfort to speak with them and help them deal with their pain. The Bible says in Galatians 6:2—“2Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
But truth be told, there are probably many here this morning dealing with unresolved hurt. Pain in their lives over something that is still lingering to this very day. Maybe it is the loss of a loved one. Maybe a broken relationship. Maybe a failure in the workplace, or a moral failure in your life. Maybe it is a recent hurt, or a distant hurt, but one thing is certain—unless hurts are dealt with, they will haunt you for the rest of your life. When we let the hurt linger, we open the door to resentment—resentment toward others, ourselves, even God. And instead of dealing with the hurt immediately, we hide it away, and never deal with it, and live lives of regret, resentment, and remorse. I’m sure that there is no one here like that this morning.
The problem comes when we try and resolve hurts in ways other than God intended. Some people try and resolve their hurts in things. Sometimes it’s alcohol, sometimes it’s cigarettes, sometimes it’s drugs. Sometimes it is in shopping—you know, go on a shopping binge. Sometimes, it’s a cleaning binge. You know, you get so mad, you’ve just gotta clean something. Or maybe it’s a drive, or a golf outing, or all kinds of different things. But when you try and substitute your own method of resolving hurts, you will never resolve them, only postpone them.
Well, I want to give you hope. That is exactly what this series is about—hope for the hurting. Maybe you don’t know if you can ever cope with the pain. I’m here to tell you that you never have to deal with it by yourself. In fact, you were never meant to. The passage that we are going to look at today and the next two weeks will show us how to deal with the hurts in our lives—how God wants us to deal with the hurts.
The passage that we are going to look at this morning is 2 Corinthians 1, and we will look at verse 3 this morning. Just one verse, and maybe you’re thinking, “Pastor James, we just went verse by verse through Ephesians 4:18-32, and that took forever. Now you want to do the same thing here?” Absolutely. The reason why is that we often familiarize ourselves with a verse and lose the impact of it because we are familiar with it. And that is a shame, because we miss out on important truths and lose sight of potential blessings.
Turn in your Bible’s to 2 Corinthians 1, and in your pew bible, it is on page ________. I want to try something this morning; let’s read this verse together. I’ll wait while you turn there.
Speaking of waiting: It was flooding in California. As the flood waters were rising, a man was on the stoop of his house and another man in a row boat came by. The man in the row boat told the man on the stoop to get in and he’d save him. The man on the stoop said, no, he had faith in God and would wait for God to save him. The flood waters kept rising and the man had to go to the second floor of his house. A man in a motor boat came by and told the man in the house to get in because he had come to rescue him. The man in the house said no thank you. He had perfect faith in God and would wait for God to save him. The flood waters kept rising. Pretty soon they were up to the man’s roof and he got out on the roof. A helicopter then came by, lowered a rope and the pilot shouted down in the man in the house to climb up the rope because the helicopeter had come to rescue him. The man in the house wouldn’t get in. He told the pilot that he had faith in God and would wait for God to rescue him. The flood waters kept rising and the man in the house drowned. When he got to heaven, he asked God where he went wrong. He told God that he had perfect faith in God, but God had let him drown.