Monday, April 27, 2015

Hurt and Suffering

Our third sermon in the emotions series dealt with hurt and suffering, and how this one hit home. Sometimes I don't even think I know how much I'm hurting until I hear something like this because it's often subtle hurts, not the big obvious hurts. We looked at Psalm 42 as Pastor Nathan S shared his story of suffering and how God spoke to him in it and shared what God taught him through this Psalm.

Psalm 42:
As the deer [b]pants for the water brooks,
So my soul [c]pants for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God;
When shall I come and [d]appear before God?
My tears have been my food day and night,
While they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”
These things I remember and I pour out my soul within me.
For I used to go along with the throng and [e]lead them in procession to the house of God,
With the voice of joy and thanksgiving, a multitude keeping festival.
Why are you [f]in despair, O my soul?
And why have you become disturbed within me?
[g]Hope in God, for I shall [h]again praise [i]Him
For the [j]help of His presence.
O my God, my soul is [k]in despair within me;
Therefore I remember You from the land of the Jordan
And the [l]peaks of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls;
All Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me.
The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime;
And His song will be with me in the night,
A prayer to the God of my life.
I will say to God my rock, “Why have You forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning [m]because of the oppression of the enemy?”
As a shattering of my bones, my adversaries revile me,
While they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”
Why are you [n]in despair, O my soul?
And why have you become disturbed within me?
[o]Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him,
The [p]help of my countenance and my God.

The first thing we see in this Psalm and what our hearts are longing for in the midst of hurt is Longing to Long for God. God is the only One who can heal our hurts. He is the only One who can soothe the pain. The Psalmist knew that and cried out to God for relief. Whether our suffering is physical or emotional or mental, we can scream out to God for help. Sometimes that is all we can do. I know that has been the case for me many times over the course of my life. But if that's all we can do, it is pleasing to God and it is worship, because we are admitting we cannot do this on our own.

The Psalm also deals with Dealing with Hurt and Despair. Pastor Nathan gave us 4 ways from Psalm 42 to do that.

1. Pour out your soul to God- Let God know what is in your heart. Be honest with him about your feelings.
2. Remember the goodness of God- Remember Who He is and what He has done. Sometimes that means looking at what He has done for others because we cannot see what He is doing with us.
3. Declare God's love for you- Preach the Gospel to yourself! Remind yourself of what God's word says.
4. Put your hope in God- One day this suffering will end for God's people when Jesus comes back to make all things new.

Finally we discussed how we Find Lasting Hope in the Midst of Despair. He gave us 3 truths to remember.

1. Jesus has suffered deeply as well (Hebrews 2:9)- Jesus knows all of our pain, grief and sorrow. He has lived it and will help us through whatever we are dealing with. Cry out to the One who has known more suffering than we can every imagine.
2. God is present with us in the midst of our suffering- He never, ever leaves His people alone. Just because He is allowing a hardship in our life does not mean He is absent. Trust that He is walking with you.
3. Our suffering will one day end (Revelation 21:1-7)- This is a reiteration of putting our hope in God, the One who will one day wipe away every tear and heal every scar. One day we will be made completely whole.

Know the promises of God and hold fast to Him. What truth or verse has comforted you in the midst of hurt and suffering?

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