Monday, August 13, 2018

Life Hurts God Heals Pt 2

My Aunt would talk through movies or TV shows. Not to anyone around her, she talked to the characters: don’t go in there, you know you can’t trust her, here comes the train, he’s got a gun, don’t open that door, she’s hiding behind the curtain, that’s not a real baby. You can say she was completely involved in the action.

That’s the goal of any novelist or movie producer—for the people reading or watching to get completely involved in the story. They shape their characters to make you either like them or hate them. You become angry when your favorite character is mistreated. You want revenge when the bad guy gets the upper hand. You’re happy when the villain gets his in the end.

What makes us get so involved? The writers have helped you form opinions. Then as you read or watch, those opinions are in control. You’re either pleased or disappointed based on how things go according to your opinion.

Happens in life as well. It is a rare person who can go through difficulties without forming an opinion. It’s quite natural to resent pain or the actions of others that caused pain and even people who represent that pain.

Joseph’s brothers knew this and anticipated, now that their father Jacob had died, Joseph would deal harshly with them. Pay them back for what they did to him.

Gen 37:23-28 So it came about, when Joseph reached his brothers, that they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the varicolored tunic that was on him; and they took him and threw him into the pit. Now the pit was empty, without any water in it. Then they sat down to eat a meal. And as they raised their eyes and looked, behold, a caravan of Ishmaelites was coming from Gilead, with their camels bearing aromatic gum and balm and myrrh, on their way to bring them down to Egypt. Judah said to his brothers, "What profit is it for us to kill our brother and cover up his blood? Come and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him, for he is our brother, our own flesh." And his brothers listened to him. Then some Midianite traders passed by, so they pulled him up and lifted Joseph out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. Thus they brought Joseph into Egypt. 

Gen 39:20-21 So Joseph's master took him and put him into the jail, the place where the king's prisoners were confined; and he was there in the jail. But the LORD was with Joseph and extended kindness to him, and gave him favor in the sight of the chief jailer. 

Gen 40:1-4 Then it came about after these things, the cupbearer and the baker for the king of Egypt offended their lord, the king of Egypt. Pharaoh was furious with his two officials, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker. So he put them in confinement in the house of the captain of the bodyguard, in the jail, the same place where Joseph was imprisoned. The captain of the bodyguard put Joseph in charge of them, and he took care of them; and they were in confinement for some time. 

Gen 40:23 Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him. 

Gen 41:1 Now it happened at the end of two full years that Pharaoh had a dream, and behold, he was standing by the Nile. 

It’s easy to get frustrated as we watch life unfold and clash with our opinions of how it should have gone. That’s why suffering can produce resentment. This messed up my life.

We want there to be some meaning to our suffering. We don’t want to suffer needlessly.

We read of Paul’s imprisonments. Why on earth would God take His choice man out of circulation to have him locked away in various stinking prison cells? Well, the Philippian jailer would have never been saved if Paul and Silas had not been in his jail when the earthquake hit. Half of Paul’s epistles would never have been written since they were written from prison cells. The whole Pretorian Guard in Caesarea would not have heard the Gospel message had not Paul been chained to them. Other believers would never have gained the boldness to spread the gospel without Paul encouraging them out of his own miserable circumstances.

Without the results, what God accomplished because of Paul’s misery, it would be easy to say Paul was unfairly treated.

In the same way, it’s easy to think how unfair it is that all this happened to Joseph. It looks like just meaningless suffering. And we would have no problem with him taking a more aggressive approach to dealing with his brothers. After all, they caused his suffering.

Typically, in our emotional brokenness, we have a focal point. Someone did something or didn’t do something, or something has happened or didn’t happen, something has been taken away or not taken away that has left me hurt and empty.

Instead, he chose to see God in his suffering. This is about God’s purposes. God has more in mind than what these circumstances indicate. Look what God did to prepare me for this day. This is my miracle.

Gen 50:15-20 When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, "What if Joseph bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong which we did to him!" So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, "Your father charged before he died, saying, 'Thus you shall say to Joseph, "Please forgive, I beg you, the transgression of your brothers and their sin, for they did you wrong."' And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father." And Joseph wept when they spoke to him. Then his brothers also came and fell down before him and said, "Behold, we are your servants." But Joseph said to them, "Do not be afraid, for am I in God's place? "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. 

Question is not how did we get here, but now that we are here, what does God plan to do?

How do we get to the place where we can trust God more than our hurting bothers us? By habitually thanking God in all things.

1Thess 5:16-18 Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 

I can’t just thank God when He accomplishes my desires. I can’t just thank Him when I sense blessing. I must thank Him even for what I can’t see. What He’s planning. What’s going on behind the obvious. Even when it still hurts. When I can’t give thanks, I limit God to what things look like. When I only look at what things look like, I’m not prepared to see the miracle.

Jim Buick had a fire at his hanger at Conroe Airport last weekend. He was trying to start his classic Rolls Royce that had been in storage for several years. The car caught on fire. First impulse was to get the fire out and save the car. Which is the right reaction. But things went differently, and he lost the car. If you say the car was the most important thing, losing the car would be a major disappointment. But if in losing the car, you discover your life was saved. Your whole perspective changes. Your miracle came disguised in the loss of a possession.

In our excitement we pray, God help me save the Rolls, but that isn’t the right prayer. The right prayer (without knowing it) was God save my life. Somehow in all that went on, Jim was drenched in gasoline, yet didn’t catch fire. His life was miraculously spared.

What if Joseph had prayed every day: God get me out of here! I’m sick and tired of this prison! God set me free! And God said: That’s all you want, that’s your miracle, just to be set free? I’d rather not do that. I need to leave you there for a while longer to show you what the real miracle is.

In everything that happens, God has a plan. And His plan is better than anything we could ask Him to do. In the meantime, we wait for the miracle.

I was once a container of great joy but got bumped which cracked my container and my joy spilled out. So we pray: I want the joy back.

But when we limit our prayer to God take away our hurt—the obvious—we’ll miss the miracle. The miracle isn’t getting the joy back. It’s Jehovah Rapha restoring the container.

Not until the crack is healed will God bring back the joy. Otherwise, it would simply leak back out the crack.

What heals a broken container? Giving the container to God. He wants the broken container. He needs no explanation as to why it got cracked, who cracked it or for how long it has been cracked. He simply wants the container.

Say you ran your truck into a security gate somewhere. The body shop guy doesn’t care about how it happened, only if you want it fixed.

Giving God our broken container means giving Him the misery, the bitterness, the desire for revenge, the punitive desires, the grudge, the small-mindedness to think this is just about me and I don’t like it one bit. To stop looking at what was done to me, what happened to me, how I have suffered because of ______________.

Doesn’t that cheapen what I’ve been through? Giving yourself to God isn’t some cheap, flippant, religious exercise. It’s a sacrifice.

Ps 51:17  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.

A sacrifice is something that costs us to give and requires humility: 1Pet 5:6-7 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. 

A man was walking through an art gallery when he came to a picture of Jesus dying on the cross. As he stared into Jesus’ face, the gallery guard tapped him on the shoulder. "Lower," the guard said. "This picture can only be fully appreciated from a lower position." The man stooped. From this lower position he saw new beauties in the picture he hadn’t seen previously. "Lower," said the guard. The man squatted and looked up into the face of Christ. The new vantage point yielded more beauty. He was amazed. The guard said, "Lower. You've got to go lower." The man dropped down to his knees and looked up. Only then could he see the artist's intended perspective. Only in humility could he see the full beauty of the cross.

It takes humility to give our brokenness to the Lord. We’ve paid an enormous price for our suffering. Our tears have come at a great cost. We need healing. For Jesus to heal, we must give Him the broken pieces. Let’s start by giving Him our tears.

Don't Cry My Child
by Cary Smith

Don't cry My child as though your tears lack meaning.
Don't cry My child as though there is no hope.
Each drop I trace down faces softly trembling,
Helps wash away the sadness in our soul.

Don't cry My child as though you've been forgotten.
Don't cry My child as though you think I'll leave.
I promised you I'd always be beside you,
So here I am, "Your Comfort and Your Peace."

     Tears that flow from hearts that have been broken,
     Tears that fall from lives now torn in two,
     Tears that sting from dreams that have been stolen,
     All your tears are precious, child to Me.

Don't cry My child as those who think they can't go on.
Don't let your hurt take you to despair.
Long before the sorrow that's consuming you
Ever touched your heart I was there.

    Tears that flow from hearts that have been broken,

     Tears that fall from lives now torn in two,
     Tears that sting from dreams that have been stolen,
     All your tears are precious, child to Me.

When the sadness in your heart overwhelms your firm resolve,
Let these promises convince you of My love.
I place your tears inside a special bottle,
So cry My child and give your tears to Me.

Psalm 56:8 You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. 

1.      No one devalues the price any of us has paid to carry our broken pieces, but as long as we carry them, we will constantly be reminded of that price.
2.     Giving the pieces to Jesus eases that burden off of us and onto Him.
3.     Rest can only come when we let go and let God make us whole again.
4.     To give our brokenness to Jesus, we must do what Jesus said: Come unto Me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I’ll give you rest. Matt 11:28

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