Summary: The Third in a series of three sermons dealing with the hurts in life and how God expects us to handle them.
Things that you hope you don’t hear while you are being operated on:
Better save that; we’ll need it for the autopsy.
Wait a minute, if this is his spleen, then what’s that?
Ya’ know ... there’s big money in kidneys ... and this guy’s got two of ’em.
That’s cool! Now can you make his leg twitch?!
Travis! Bad dog! Come back with that!
Sterile, shcmerle. The floor’s clean, right?
Rats! Page 47 of the manual is missing!
We hope that we never hear that. We also hope that we never have to deal with pain that can never be resolved. However, most of us already are dealing with this kind of pain. Pain in our 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.
We’ve been dealing with the subject of hope for the hurting the past two weeks, and this morning, we will finish that series.
I know some of you wonder about why it takes so long for me to go through these series. To that, I give you this story:
A billing clerk for a managed care company proudly told a friend that she had just finished a jigsaw puzzle, "And it only took me five months," she beamed.
"Five months?" said her friend. "That sounds like an awfully long time to finish a jigsaw puzzle."
"Not really, " the clerk explained. "The box says six to twelve years."
The reason why I take so long is that I want you to remember exactly what I’m telling you. That you can trust God’s word. That it does indeed have everything we need for life and godliness. That we can and should turn to Him and His word first in all areas of life, especially when we are hurting.
This morning, we are focusing on hope for the hurting, and the three aspects of resolving those hurts. The first aspect was that we should turn to God first. The reason why is that he is the father of the compassion and the God of all comfort. Remember 1 Peter 5:7—Cast all of your anxieties on Him, for He cares for you.
Last week we saw the second aspect, and there was two parts to it. The second aspect is this: when you are hurting turn to other believers. The other part of it is that when others are hurting, we are to go to them.
I asked you last week to think back in your life, look over your life this morning with me for a brief moment. Has God ever brought you through a dark valley in your life? A time when all hope seemed lost? At the time you were going through it, you felt such despair and wondered how you would ever survive. Yet God got you through. Can you think of a time like that? I asked you if you thought that was the only time God has ever done that for someone, or even for you? The answer is “Of course not.”
So here’s the rub. When we are going through our own troubles, our own trials, experiencing our own pain and problems, remember this: other people have gone through them as well. And they can comfort you, with the same comfort that they received.
But it’s not just that. We are to comfort others as well. We all have a story to tell. We all have blessings we have received. And we all have received comfort in knowing that God walked with us through every trial, hurt and pain.
So, the first aspect of finding hope for your hurts is to turn first to God. The second aspect is that we turn to other believers. Let’s read 2 Corinthians 1:8-11.
8We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. 9Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.