Broken Dreams, And Hope! Andy B, Teaching
Are you hurting inside? Do you feel alone? Do you feel lonely, even though you’re surrounded by people?
Have your emotions left you feeling tired and like you have nothing left to give?
Have you lost your job? Or a friend? Or a precious member of your family?
Are you left wondering where hope will come from?
Do you feel different from everybody around you – like you’ve got struggles they wouldn’t and couldn’t understand?
From being a victim of childhood abuse to enduring unemployment as an adult, and the tragic death of a daughter, I have lived through some pretty testing pain, but, always, God was there to walk alongside me.
And if God’s plans are for our good, how can we trust that God really loves us, when bad stuff happens around us and to us?
The comforting thing is that Jesus was rejected and betrayed by one of his closest friends and companions. And while He was both Jesus and God, He still felt the pain personally, even to the point of weeping when the emotional strain overwhelmed Him.
We’re all looking for something to help us feel peaceful, and we’ll do it any which way we can.
But there is one certain place we can find hope. And that is in a relationship with Jesus Christ.
We're living in a world, aren't we, which is full of pain, and misery, and hurt as we still react from the severity, of the serious implications, of COVID-19 through 2020 into 2021, and doubtless that will spread into 2022.
We've seen people losing their jobs.
We've seen people lose loved ones.
We've seen lives defined, permanently, because they've endured COVID and come out the other side, and they have what the medical community are labelling as long COVID.
We've seen fear and terror reign.
We've seen terrorism around the world. Afghanistan, right now, within the last few weeks, the last few months.
We've seen, erm, the, the Taliban retake control. We've seen the terror and fear of people desperate to leave, what they know is, an oppressive government.
All around the world there is fear, and there is terror, and it's trying to grip hold of our hearts and our minds. It's trying to control us.
The media. My word! The media have done a wonderful job of stirring the pot of fear and conspiracy theories, rather than actually just giving the news. They put their own spin on it to instil fear to make you watch more or buy more papers.
And all of this is going on around us, and maybe you're feeling emotionally vulnerable, broken, hurting.
You've lost loved ones.
You're living in a situation where you're really afraid of COVID because, well, you've got a particular situation physically where COVID is more likely to kill you if it gets you.
All of this is going on around us.
We've seen businesses that are thriving suddenly killed off because of situations near them, whether that's through having to constantly put their staff onto furlough. Or they just can't make any money anymore. We've seen livelihoods lost. All of this is going on around the world.
So how do we respond to that as people?
How do we respond to that as Christians?
Are you hurting inside?
Are you, do you feel, alone?
Do you feel raw, emotionally, like you've got nothing left to give.
You're worried about your job, your business, your family, your future. These are all normal fears that each one of us will have at different ways in different times.
But we can be encouraged because Jesus, He experienced some hard times too.
Let me read the shortest verse in the Bible and, for this, it's one of the most powerful.
John Chapter 11, verse 35. 2 words.
Why was he weeping? Well, someone had died and he'd gone and he was mourning the fact that somebody was dead, that somebody had lost their life. He was emotionally distraught. Which is encouraging! Jesus, the son of God, He has emotions. And he mourns.
In my ESV, erm, study Bible it says this
"Mourning because of death does not indicate a lack of faith. It shows honest sorrow at the reality of suffering and death."
And I wonder how much of our anxiety, our depression, our fear, our worry that we see ripping through and growing in society, like the most virulent of weeds, like a virus. It's ripping through. It's getting our hearts and it's infecting us.
And I think a lot of that to do with control. We want to control and keep ourselves safe.
And I think some of that is because we feel like we're supposed to respond in a certain way. We should be stronger. We should be weaker. We should be more vulnerable, more compassionate. And some of these can be good things. But they can also become weights upon us. And Jesus reminds us that the burden upon us is light. So if you've got a heavy burden, it's not the one that Jesus wants you to carry, and that's really what I wanted to talk about in these moments.
Let's just flick to my very favourite piece of scripture in the Bible, Isaiah Chapter 43, first 3 verses, and I wonder whether, as I read these out, they're words of comfort, or words of frustration for you?
"But now thus says the Lord. He who created you, oh Jacob. He who formed you, oh Israel. Fear not, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. And through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you. When you walk through fire, you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the holy one of Israel, Your saviour. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you."
Now 'Egypt and Seba in exchange'? I'm not going to bother going into that today But I wanted to look at being overwhelmed by the fire, and the flames, and the fact that when we're walking with God, He says they will not!
Because one of the greatest mis-taught pieces of scriptural understanding, is that when you come to faith, suddenly you won't have any problems in your life. Everything will be great and rosy. It'll be wonderful. No problems. You'll have all the money in need. Good health.
And all of that is simply rubbish!
We do have access to a God who heals. We will see people healed. And we will have all that we need to do, to accomplish all that God has for us to accomplish. But that does not necessarily mean that we're gonna be devoid of problems. In fact it has nothing to do with that. Actually problems will still come upon us.
As human beings just like Jesus, we don't get to exist outside of life pains, and hurts, and difficulties. We have to walk through them. The difference is that we have Jesus to help us through.
Psalm 34 verse 18 says this, or it would do if I could find it. There we go!
"The Lord is near to the broken hearted and saves the crushed in spirit."
And what's really important is that piece of Scripture, Psalm 34, verse 18, that little passage where verse 18 sits, as my study Bible reminds me, He's talking about people who love Jesus, that Jesus is gonna be with you.
Flicking back to Isaiah 43, this is God speaking to His people.
"Thus now says the Lord He who created you, He who formed you fear not. I have redeemed you."
God loves us!
God loves you!
But we will still face difficulties, and hardships, in our life. And the exciting part of being a Christian is not having to go through life, never experiencing anything. But being able to experience everything with the Lord Jesus Christ, by your side.
As Christians, we need to think of consequences . When we think of consequences we think of, well, if we do something wrong, or do something right, there's gonna be something that happens as a result of that.
Consequences, in themselves, are neutral. But the action of that consequence can be really good or really bad.
And as I come back on the idea of control. We've seen government seeking to control. In many respects I suspect, I think, I hope, trying to protect the people that they are serving.
But we also see governments using that opportunity to protect themselves. And we know, don't we, that there are all the ideas around lockdowns, a lot of that is simply not something the government believe in.
Why can I say that so clearly? Well, because they ignore the rules. Because there are lots of exemptions for people who shouldn't have exemptions. If it's so important that we can't do this, and we can't do that, then they would make sure that they lead by example. The fact they're not leading by example, tells me, that although it may be quite important, we know it's not quite as important as they want us to think of it is.
And we need to use our brains, and our wisdom, and we need to obey those in government. But we need to see the truth as well.
And when we see media stars, and government ministers, ignoring the rules they're setting, we know they're not that important. Because they're not just using it as a means of helping, they're using it as a means of, using it as a means, to getting what they want.
People travelling for eye appointments and seeing their families when they really shouldn't. Well that tells me that it's not that important to them.
They want to speak the words but we need to see action. And actions are really the point of being a Christian. It's not about what we say, it's about what we do. "By your fruit will you be known." It's not what you say, or think, or mean, it's what you do, or don't do.
If you want peace, and you're hurting, and your broken, you need to pursue God.
What have I got? What, what right have I got to talk to you about suffering?
Well as a child I suffered childhood abuse. I got through that because God was at my side.
As a teenager. I struggled in a school system where I just did not fit. I didn't like exams, and I was very uncomfortable.
As a married man, I've had to mourn the loss of our 3rd child. She died, tragically. I've lived through that.
And as an adult, further on, we, my wife and I, we've, we've experienced the highs and lows of good and bad employment. And at one point I was in a job, and they so desperately wanted to destroy me, and my future, that they forced my family into a situation where we had no money, we couldn't pay rent, we couldn't pay for the heating, we couldn't buy food, we couldn't do anything. And actually they were so determined to try and hurt us that they tried to destroy our future employment as well. We were on food banks.
I know what it's like to live through pain and hardship. And you might say, well, that's great. That's your life. But you know, what about mine? I've got a different situation.
The Bible tells us there's nothing new under the sun.
I may not have been through exactly what you've been through but I've been through painful experiences in my life, that nobody should ever have to go through, and I've come through the other side, and I still know Jesus, and I still have peace, and I still have certainty of a hope in my future.
And if you're worried about your future because you feel you don't have one, I can promise you that you do because the Bible tells me so!
Those things that I mentioned, that are part of my life, that have defined me, they, they define me, but not all of me.
That childhood abuse led to an adult depression which took 15 months of intense therapy to get past.
Losing a child was one of the most painful experiences. Knowing that I was utterly helpless, to do anything about the fact that my daughter was dying. That she had died, that she was out of my reach to help and protect.
Being attacked in a job, and not just losing a job, that's pretty hard. But losing a job and knowing that your employer has done everything they can to try and prevent you from ever working in any job again, just because they're really spiteful, about something that I still don't know what that was about. Insecurity I suppose on their part.
But I know what it's like to be hurting and you know what it's like to be hurting in your life.
Everything is relative. Of course it is. I don't know you're pain, any amount more than you know mine, but I know pain. And I know what it's like to be rejected by people that you're supposed to love, and trust, and accept.
But it's encouraging 'cos Jesus had that too.
One of His closest friends, his closest companions, Judas Iscariot. What did he do? Well he subjected Jesus, by rejecting Him, by reporting Him for something that He wasn't. I mean, OK, as Christians, we can say yes, but Judas needed to do those things, and that's why we needed to happen, because Jesus then went onto the cross. Let's not forget the fact that one of Jesus most closest companions and friends rejected Him, abandoned Him, turned on Him.
Jesus knew what it was like to suffer pain!
And these painful experiences they affect us, don't they?
They define part of us, but they don't define all of us.
My daughter dying defines me in certain ways, but it doesn't define everything.
That childhood abuse I had to work through, when I was in my 30s, well, it defined part of me, but it hasn't defined all of me. Defines a bit and that's encouraging too.
Jesus was God.
God was Jesus.
Jesus is God.
Jesus lived and worked and walked on Earth.
He was a man.
He knew emotions.
And when we think of the fact that Jesus suffered it isn't just that He suffered, He would have suffered more than us. The fact that He was God as well, that divinity of Jesus, didn't mean He bypassed pain and suffering. The man bled tears. I've never got to that extreme an emotion yet. Jesus did.
And actually I would go further and say that Jesus's divinity didn't protect Him or help Him away from pain it actually allowed Him to feel it even more.
He was betrayed by his best friend.
He would, be, hated by those he loved and yet Jesus still knew peace.
Maybe you've lost a job.
Maybe COVID has made you terrified of getting out your front door.
Maybe COVID has changed your world.
Maybe you see what's going on in, in, Afghanistan and you're terrified in the UK, or the US or somewhere else, that you're going to be attacked on the street, and un, unbeknownst to you, that some terror attack will happen to you.
These things can control us and manipulate us, but they don't have to!
Let me just flick, Psalm 34 verse 18 again
"The Lord is near to the broken hearted and saves the crushed in spirit."
Whatever you are going through God says, in His word, the Bible, that He will be near to you. He will be near to me.
These aren't just words that sound good. This is God's promise! It's not just God spouting off some thoughts. We can guarantee that God will follow through on what He says.
Let me just come back to the consequences of life, we live in a fallen world. And one of the consequences of the fallen world is death, and illness, and sickness. As Christians, as we've said, we're not going to be able to avoid that. That's part of life!
But one of the consequences of this life is that we try and control the situation around us, in order to protect ourselves, from further hurt or pain. And what does that do? Well ultimately it'll create loneliness. Because we'll build so many barriers around us, no one will get near us. And at one level that can be good, for a time, to protect ourselves, to heal. But we need to break those barriers down. As people we are designed, and created, by God to Interact with other human beings.
But in life we're trying to control the pain and the misery around us.
Those things that make us feel hopeless. Those things that, that keep us awake at night.
Am I going to get fat when I get older?
Will I not be able to walk?
Will I get dementia?
Will I, will I struggle with this or that?
Will I lose my job when I'm 58, and I won't get another employment?
These are the things that can keep us awake at night.
And as we go through life, there's different phases and seasons where we try and control what's going on around us.
Perhaps you're doing yoga, or reflexology, or you're into something that you're trying to find some peace.
Maybe you go out drinking every night, and you sleep with somebody different every evening, because you're trying to find some love and acceptance, but it's in your control.
Maybe drug taking is something you're struggling with. Maybe your drug of choice is your work. Your drug of choice may well be working so hard for a secure financial security, because then you'll be OK.
And all of these things are trying to make something secure around us. But money can be stolen.
We saw in the UK not long ago people had worked hard for 30, 40, 50 years, building up a pension. 'We'll be OK'. Put your money in this pot and you'll be good. And they get so far and that money has been stolen and there is no other money.
Money is not a guarantee of peace. Neither is marriage. Neither is having friends. Neither of having a secure job, or having the most senior position in a job. None of these things are going give you peace.
There's nothing wrong with working hard.
There's nothing wrong with seeking to improve your life around you.
But there is something wrong with doing all those for your own gain and not for others. As Christians, we're supposed to be conscious of building God's Kingdom, not ours. And that's really key too.
We can't control the people around us that are hurting us. We can't stop them from doing that. We can do all sorts of things to try and limit it, and sometimes that's wise and that's right. But people will hurt us.
And suffering comes in waves doesn't it? I know what it's like when, I mean, I, I, I feel that. I've been in those situations where you you're so devastated, and broken. You think OK, God, nothing else. I, I can't cope with anything else happening to me, God.
And then you have a flood in your house.
And then the washing machine breaks down.
And then the food that you bought? Actually, it's in the freezer and the freezer is broken. and that's gone off and it can get worse and worse and worse and worse. And that pressure builds up, doesn't it?
We've been through all that stuff! They're not words, that's life.
We've been at the end of ourselves financially.
We've been at the end of ourselves, emotionally.
We've been at the end of ourselves in many, many ways.
But the one thing we've never lost out on is the fact that God loves us.
So if you're suffering. If you're feeling broken. If you're feeling like your situation is unique to you. No one is going to understand your problem, we need to understand how the devil works. And the devil's, one of his best techniques, having observed this in people, having observed it in my own life, having watched this, and walked alongside people, the devil loves to make you, and me, feel like we're the only person who's dealing with the particular issue that we're dealing with.
And the Bible tells me that that isn't true. That lots of people struggle with lots of things. And actually, I'm pretty certain now, as I've been walking around for a little while on this earth ,that whatever problem I'm facing, somebody's faced it in the last thousands of years. It's not the first time.
But the devil loves to use his magnifying glass, to make something seem bigger than it is. To make this problem seem more insurmountable than it ever could actually be.
When my wife and I got married, we were told that 'everyone's against you getting married, everybody, it's bad, it's just terrible. Don't do it.'
And actually, when we counted up the people who were actually opposed to us getting married? Yeah there were 1 or 2 that were making a bit of grief. But you know what? Most of the people we met were really in favour of us getting married. But because a few people who mattered to us said that everyone is against it, we believed those lies.
Actually, there were many people, many, many, many, many people who loved the fact that Jo and I were choosing, as a Christian, godly, couple to get married.
But we listen to the lies, don't we? Because they seem more true sometimes than the truth. It's an interesting paradox, isn't it?
But if you want to know peace, it isn't just a case of being near God and then you'll know peace, and that's all good. It isn't a question of here's the formula, go off, and do that, and you'll know some peace. There's a lot more to it than that.
But there's consequences.
Let's come back to control and consequences just one more time.
We want to control the world around us, to protect ourselves from being hurt, from making ourselves such as secure and firm foundation, that it'll all be good, nothing's gonna hurt us or destroy us. We've watched other people look at how bad they've lived their lives and then we realise that actually that's just us trying to manipulate, to control the situation around us, and it doesn't actually give us peace.
If you want to know peace, there's a few things that you need to do. 1of them? You need a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ!
But it's not just a relationship where you know OF Jesus Christ. You need to KNOW Jesus Christ in the most real, intimate ways possible. You need to have Him as your Lord and Saviour. You need to be a disciple of Jesus Christ and follow Him.
It's not to say if you don't know Jesus Christ, you'll never know peace. That's not really what we're talking about. But if you want to know the peace that transcends all understanding, then you need to have a relationship with Jesus Christ.
And we need the Holy Spirit to help us through our lives.
It's not enough to just go through, and try and protect ourselves. We, we need to understand what the devil is doing. Not by focusing on him, but realising that all the stuff that we're struggling with, that we're, that we're thinking, others are gonna be struggling with similar stuff too.
As sure are, as eggs are eggs. As sure as eggs is eggs, somebody else is struggling with the same thing. But the devil comes along, whispers in your ear, 'well, you're the only one that's fat, struggling with this, look at how a failure you are, this is terrible, look at all that'.
So how do we defeat that?
Well, really, simply, you get into the word. You get into the Bible. You read scripture, you pray you spend time with other Christians. You focus on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Philippians remind us to 'focus on whatever is good and pure and lovely'.
Romans 5 says this. The first few verses. Erm, I'm gonna go from verse 3 of Chapter 5, Romans
"Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who's been given to us."
That difficulty in your life? Which you think you're never going to get beyond? You can get past and through. Don't just pray to God to get it out your way and take you around. Pray to God, He'll be with you as you walk through that situation.
As Jesus went through the misery and pain of being rejected by His closest friends, who turned their back on Him, of seeing His own father. When Jesus on the cross, Jesus, He had to face the fact that His God turned His face away. What greater pain could there be?
I only know that on the smallest of levels where my children have done something, and they're really sorry. And I'm, I'm upset by it, and I just can't quite accept that apology when they want me to. And I see the pain as I'm struggling to cope with something they've done, and understanding that, and, and trying to process that. I know the pain that they're feeling when they've said sorry, and the gap between that, and me saying 'OK, let's let's work with this, let's work through that'.
We can try and bypass pain. It won't work!
We can try and think that we're the only ones that are dealing with this, but that isn't true!
The reality is, we all suffer.
We've all fallen short of the glory of God.
We've all got difficulties and struggles in our life
But Jesus Christ, i's not there for the good times. He's there for the good times, and the bad times. To walk alongside us. Because He's walked there first.
let me come back to Romans 5 verse 3.
"Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings."
Doesn't mean to say we're happy about the bad things. We rejoice in the fact that Jesus Christ is with us through those bad things
"knowing that suffering produces endurance"
That suffering is not pointless. That hardship is not a waste of time. It's an opportunity for you and me to get closer to Jesus Christ.
"Suffering produces endurance"
Which means we can keep going.
"Endurance produces character."
Character is so important!
How do we get our character? Well, character comes from endurance, which comes from suffering.
You want to work on your character? Praying for God to help you be a better person? You're gonna probably get some difficult stuff, that you're going to work through with God, so that He can knock off all the rough edges off you, so you can be more like Jesus Christ.
"Character produces hope"
If you want hope in a hopeless world, you need character.
How do you get character? Well, character comes from endurance. Where does the endurance come from? Endurance comes from suffering! And what's suffering got to do with it? Well, everything that's happening to us, we can rejoice, that Jesus Christ is with us.
Don't rejoice that you're struggling with unemployment. Or the fact you can't feed your children? That's not something to be glad of.
But you can rejoice because you know that Jesus Christ is with you. And you can rejoice because Jesus Christ will walk alongside you, and with you.
I know the pain and struggle of not being able to feed your children. I've been there, more than once.
But I also know what it's like to rejoice in the hope that God has got this!
If you're struggling with emotional turmoil, anxiety, depression, fear. If all these things are trying to get to your heart then there is a solution. And it's called Jesus Christ.
It's a relationship with Jesus Christ.
And the thing is, we either move towards Jesus Christ, or we move away.
And when you look at the prophets in the Old Testament. Somebody did a a study of them and said, well, I think they're actually quite depressed, or they're they're susceptible to depression.
But if you're this close to Jesus Christ face, to the face of God, and then you're right over there, away from God's face, then you're gonna feel a huge movement of being close to God, and far away from God.
But what a great illustration of why we need to be moving towards God. As we get closer towards God, we wanna get closer again. And getting closer means losing some of the us from us, so we can be more like Jesus Christ. As we get closer to Jesus Christ, we want to be more like him, which means surrendering those parts of us that we want to hang on to and control because, you know, that's what keeps us safe and that makes me OK.
When we surrender those to Jesus Christ, we find ourselves not with clenched fists hanging on tightly. But we let Jesus take the steering wheel.
Here's a picture for you that I had when I was preparing this one.
It's a bit like you've made the decision to let Jesus sit in in the driving seat of your car.
And He's driving along.
And you're there.
And you've trusted Him to sit in the driving seat.
And He's got his hands on the wheel.
And He's, He's driving along.
And you, you're letting Him do the gear changes.
And the hand brake, and the accelerator.
But you've also got a second brake pedal on your side.
And you've also got your hand on the steering wheel, just in case Jesus doesn't notice that thing down the road, that might be dangerous.
And you've got your foot on that brake pedal just in case He forgets or He's going too fast.
If we want to know what it is to be peaceful, we need to take our hands off the steering wheel, that we've already surrendered to Jesus Christ.
We need to get rid of that brake pedal that can stop us from travelling along the road that Jesus has for us.
And as we trust in Jesus Christ to guide our life, through the power of the Holy Spirit, well we can know peace. And that's the piece that transcends all understanding.
It goes beyond beyond our comprehension. We can't understand it! But it keeps going and it's there.
So if you want to know hope because you feel hope has left. Or you'll feel hope is so far away from you, you're just never going to know it again. Let's rejoice in our suffering. Like I said, not happy that bad stuff happening. That's not rejoicing in your suffering! Rejoicing in your suffering is knowing that Jesus Christ is walking alongside you, and that whatever difficulty you are going through, as Corrie Ten Boom wonderfully said, is Jesus preparing you for heaven. That's worth rejoicing in!
"Suffering produces endurance. Endurance produces character"
Who doesn't want to have a better character? But it's not free!
"And character produces hope. And hope does not put us to shame."
If you want to know peace. If you're struggling with anxiety, I'm going to pray a prayer in a moment, but one of the first things you might want to do is, for the first time, surrender your life to Jesus Christ. Or maybe you've done it many times before. You just need to recommit to Jesus Christ.
You've been going great guns for Him, but, but He doesn't know about this pain, and He doesn't know about that hurt and. You need to let it go.
And if you don't know Jesus at all, and you've been watching this, I want you to know the peace that I've known, when I was being abused as a child, or I was losing my daughter and she died, when I was having to go to the Food Bank because I couldn't feed my children, when people were circling our house, trying to attack us and prevent us from being ever able to work again.
I want you to be able to rejoice in those sufferings as we did. Not happy that they're happening. I'll keep on saying that. I don't want to be misinterpreted! But rejoicing because we know that through that God is with us.
And through those difficulties we know that God is there.
"When we are weak, then we are strong". It's another piece of scripture.
I used to hear that as when we are weak, we're strong. But it's when we are weak then He can be strong.
And if I'm going to amplify that a little bit with my own words. When you're in a difficulty . When something's really got you down on the floor and you're never getting it up, it's because of that weakness, when we surrender ourselves to Jesus Christ, in that weakness, God is then able to comfort us and help us.
But God is a very gentle God. He is the Lord of Lord and King of Kings.
But when you're struggling God is gentle and He will wait for that offer. When we say 'Lord, I need your help now, please help me' that's the point here which are coming and until we are weak, we don't tend to recognise that we need God's help.
Ever had a good day? I forgot to say thank you to God?
Ever had a bad day and not blamed God? It's that kind of thing.
If you want to know peace, and you don't know Jesus Christ, or you know Jesus Christ, but you want to know Him more, and again, will you say this prayer with me?
"Heavenly Father, we thank you that you love us.
We thank you God that you sent your son Jesus to die on the cross for each one of us. For me.
Thank you Jesus, that you died on the cross for me. That you bored the pain, and the suffering, and the, all the rebuke that was upon you, all the hatred upon you, and, and you endured that because you loved us. And because you still love us. And you will still, ongoingly, love us.
Lord, I'm sorry for those times when I've turned my face away from you. When in my arrogance and my pride, I've tried to face life on my own, knowing I can't do it but trying anyway. Forgive give me God where I've not surrendered the control to you.
Father, would you forgive me of my sins of `the past? Would you forgive me of those I've done wrong?
Would you forgive me of those times when I've denied you? Because I want to follow you! I want to make you, my Lord and Saviour!
And Father God I choose, at this point, to follow you.
I choose at this point to surrender the pain in my life, to you, knowing that I can rejoice in suffering. Because suffering produces character. Character produces endurance. And endurance produces hope. All this stuff works together, for you.
So, Father God, I choose from this point to follow you. To be a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ.
If you've said that prayer, and it's the first time you prayed that, it's the first time you've wanted to let go of your past, and make Jesus, your Lord and Saviour, would you get in touch? We'd like to help you, as we possibly can. And put you in touch with others who can help you more.
And if you've decided that you want to follow God because you've just not been taking it seriously, and you've let this particular hurt, or worry, or pain, or problem, has become has become bigger than you're trust in Jesus Christ, just let it go and tell God how you feel,. Knowing that He'll catch you.
He may not catch you in the way you want.
When we didn't have food for our kids, and we are praying at God's door for money through the letterbox to come, so we can go out and buy food, it didn't happen.
What did happen is somebody referred us to a food bank. And we met some lovely people. That wasn't our plan!
Our plan was the money so we can go and buy food. Actually, the kindness, and that interaction with those people, and meeting the people on the other side of the food bank, was, was a really precious moment. And we wouldn't have had that compassionate care if we hadn't been through the difficulties. And we wouldn't have such a great understanding of what it's like to be unemployed. Not being able to get a job. Not feeding your children, Not being able to buy fuel for the house.
I'm not saying I'm happy about all those things happening!. But because they happened, we developed, and deepened, our relationship with God, and we trust Him ever more.
Through life we are either moving towards God, or we're moving away from Him. There's no middle ground! You can't stand still! That's not a choice!
You choose to move towards God or you choose to move away.
Let's choose to move towards God.
Let's choose to move towards that peace.
And let's choose to move away from pain, and hurt, and misery, and dealing with life on our own. Because dealing with life on your own just makes you lonely.
We don't need people to feel loved, we just need Jesus!
And that isn't a bumper sticker, that's true!
So let go of the hurts.
Let Jesus know about them.
And if you prayed that prayer with us today, get in touch.
We'd like to support you in any way we can.
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Written by Andy B