Summary: All of us have pain, struggle, turmoil, and trouble; and we need to be reminded from where our comfort comes.
The Comfort We Need
* There is an old adage which says, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink,” yet, this is not entirely accurate. If you need a horse to drink water, you can feed him salt to create a needy thirst. Before we actually get to God’s word, please allow me to feed us a little salt, so that we’ll have a seemingly unquenchable thirst to hear from God. The salt I offer comes in the form of four statements. “Life Involves Pain”, “Pain leaves Scars”, “Scars Tell a Story”, & (believe it or not) God brings us thru.
* Life involves pain – Is there anyone present who has experienced pain of some kind? This is EVERYBODY! Pain came into the world in the Garden of Eden with the fall of mankind. Can you imagine the inner pain Adam & Eve felt when God revealed their sin? Can you imagine the pain Moses felt when God revealed that He would never attain His goal of entering Canaan because of His sin? Can you imagine how Peter felt after he denied the Lord? Every one of us experiences pain because we live in a fallen world which delivers pain. Our pain is not one dimensional. We receive physical, emotional, & spiritual pain which has the ability to devastate us.
* Pain leaves scars – My physical shows several scars of past pain. I have been stitched up several times & while the wounds seem to heal, the scars still remain. A scar is a mark or indication that something unusual, undesirable, & unexpected has happened. It has taken what was (at least we thought it was) healthy & marked it for life. Generally, a scar never goes away.
* Scars tell a story – Here’s the interesting thing about our scars; they tell a story that something has happened, but by our mindset (our spiritual walk), we frame the story like we want. Let me explain; over the years people walk up to me & ask about the scar on the left side of my neck. At this point, I have to admit something did happen, but it is my choice-about what I choose to tell. I offer you three options; a) you can deny it’s actually a scar. In the physical realm, people do this all the time by covering up the scar. If this is our approach, we’ll use makeup, some kind of clothes, or we’ll simply ignore or make light of it. In the spiritual or emotional realm, we can simply refuse to talk about it or redirect the attention. B) We can downplay it. Our response is, “No big deal” when actually, it’s destroying you inside. This is what Bro. Steve talked with us about on the last night of the meeting when he spoke of forgiveness & how the attitude of unforgiveness will even affect your facial features. C) We can display it. Never forget that God is in control, He is sovereign, & whereas He may not have “orchestrated’ the circumstances of your pain, He certainly allowed it to come.
* Before you get mad at God for your scars, I call you to remember several things; God knows the end from the beginning. (in other words, He sees everything in HINDSIGHT & hindsight is always 20/20), He wants the best for you, & He always applies Romans 8:28. Additionally, the “Joseph principle” is still in effect today. That principle goes like this; “What the enemy meant for bad, God takes & reworks for our good & His Glory.”
* God brings us through the deepest, darkest, & most dangerous valleys. Paul understood this when he wrote what we know as his 2nd letter to the church at Corinth. Follow as we read verses 3-12 of Chapter one.
* Never, in the entirety of my years in ministry have I felt a valley so deep & wide as I have this week. It’s so deep that a person might think he cannot climb out & it is so wide that it many are encompassed. This week carries the symbolism of Peter walking on the water. He was headed towards Jesus, became distracted, & started sinking. They were in the water over a mile from land, so the water was deep & Peter was going under! When we take our eyes off of Jesus & start down, it happens quickly. Because of the way I was told this story, I have carried the picture in my mind that Peter kind of sank like in ‘quick sand’ where you go down, but it is slow & the more you fight, the faster is happens. When you start sinking in water, how does it happen? It is very quick & it’s the same way with sin. and when we think we are about to go under, our Lord reaches His hand of comfort.