Summary: It interrupts comfort. It turns heaven into hell. Pain . . . it can cloud our vision or clear our vision. We must gain pain perspective.
Pt. 2 - Pain Plots
You will remember that there are only three things that are certain in life . . . death, taxes, and then we added pain to the list because we are in Genesis 3:19 that because of our own fallenness we will be: “be working in pain all your life long.”
So pain is promised and it is real. Our pain is caused by our fallenness but the hope we have is in our fatherdness. God, in light of promised pain, then says “I am ever present help in the time of need!” So, although pain is promised so is His presence. So we struggle with perspective not because we believe God causes pain (we understand the source of our pain) but rather we falter because we struggle with the idea that God uses our pain!
So we talked last week about the fact that pain is a pervert. It causes us to pervert the picture about our past. We pain perverted pictures and have a tendency to call bondage freedom. Pain causes us to have selective amnesia! In our pain clouded perspective we pervert the season we begged, prayed, fasted to get out of into a season of pleasure. Pain causes us to forget the details. Pain causes us to forget reality! Then we talked about how pain will cause you to get angry at God and those He sends to help you! So we end up attacking those who are assigned to assist. So we tend to run to relief instead of relationships!
So today I want us to continue to expose pain and get some perspective so that although pain is real, present, and excruciating we can still navigate it successfully. Join me in another painful passage.
Text: 1 Kings 19:1-10
1-2 Ahab reported to Jezebel everything that Elijah had done, including the massacre of the prophets. Jezebel immediately sent a messenger to Elijah with her threat: “The gods will get you for this and I’ll get even with you! By this time tomorrow you’ll be as dead as any one of those prophets.” 3-5 When Elijah saw how things were, he ran for dear life to Beersheba, far in the south of Judah. He left his young servant there and then went on into the desert another day’s journey. He came to a lone broom bush and collapsed in its shade, wanting in the worst way to be done with it all—to just die: “Enough of this, God! Take my life—I’m ready to join my ancestors in the grave!” Exhausted, he fell asleep under the lone broom bush.
Suddenly an angel shook him awake and said, “Get up and eat!” 6 He looked around and, to his surprise, right by his head were a loaf of bread baked on some coals and a jug of water. He ate the meal and went back to sleep. 7 The angel of God came back, shook him awake again, and said, “Get up and eat some more—you’ve got a long journey ahead of you.” 8-9 He got up, ate and drank his fill, and set out. Nourished by that meal, he walked forty days and nights, all the way to the mountain of God, to Horeb. When he got there, he crawled into a cave and went to sleep. Then the word of God came to him: “So Elijah, what are you doing here?” 10 “I’ve been working my heart out for the God-of-the-Angel-Armies,” said Elijah. “The people of Israel have abandoned your covenant, destroyed the places of worship, and murdered your prophets. I’m the only one left, and now they’re trying to kill me.”
This is an account that we have talked about before in a series called “Framed”. We talked about how the enemy will try to frame our minds. However, I want to revisit this passage because it also reveals some things to us about how the enemy uses pain.
Elijah has been used by God. His anointing on display. He has called a drought into effect for three years. He was used to bring provision to a widow during the drought. He brought the widow’s son back to life. He has a jaw dropping victory over 450 prophets of Baal and when fire has fallen from heaven he single handedly kills them all. He outruns a chariot. This is a powerful man of God. And yet a man that didn’t have any pain perspective.
Ahab reports to his wife Jezebel what Elijah has done and she sends Elijah a nasty private message. She blasts him and threatens him. In response, Elijah immediately exits the victory dance, the celebration of God’s faithfulness and has a one huge pain party. He runs for his life. It is in this mad dash of fear that we learn some things about pain.