No matter how often we read the bible, we cannot immunize ourselves against pain and suffering.
It gives us hope, yes. But that hope doesn’t mean that we will never feel sad, it means that we will have the strength to carry on, even when times become hard.
I don’t know about you, but I’m sick and tired of people paining the Christian life as something which is easy.
It’s not always going to be. There will be times when all you want to do is break down and cry.
When prayers seem to remain unanswered. When those around us are suffering, when we face hardship in our lives.
And do you know what, when these things happen it is okay to break down and cry.
You do not need to put on a brave face. To fake it until you make it. Because God’s heart breaks for all these things as well.
You have permission to feel sad. I am so sorry if you have ever been made to feel as if you are not able If you have ever been made to feel as if you are less of a Christian. That you are only sad because you are not praying hard enough or reading the bible long enough.
Yes we can find hope in knowing that Jesus is near, and that he does hear. But that doesn’t mean that the pain will go away immediately. Yes we do have hope, but that doesn’t mean the pain will go away immediately. Sometimes that can be a really hard thing to cling on to.
Because although you may not be able to find any joy in today , you can hold on tight in the knowledge that this sorrow will one day pass.
So if you need to, let those tears fall. Let them fall for the brokenness around you and for the impossibility of the situations that you face.
Because you cannot do this on your own, the only way that you can get through this is by crying out to Jesus.. He will hold you in his arms. There is no one better to have by your side.
3 For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
2 A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
3 A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
4 A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance. (Ecclesiates 3: 1-4)
Sometimes I have the weirdest dreams, like the one I had when I was driving in the car with a giant guinea pig.
Other times I have the worry and stress induced dreams, like the one where all my teeth fall out, or I’m running away from trouble, but for some reason I can only run backwards; or the one where I need to scream, but no sound will come out of my mouth.
Other times I have the kind of dreams that you just don’t want to wake up from. The ones where you shut your eyes, trying to press play again.
But the best dreams aren’t the ones you have when you’re asleep. The best dreams are the ones that won’t let you get any sleep.
The things you get so excited about that you just can’t shut your brain off for ten seconds and fall asleep.
I don’t know about other people, but for me these often involve big risk, big adventure and showing people big love.
Whatever these things that keep you awake are, they wont do any good if they are simply the things that stop your sleep. As I once heard, our dreams don’t bother satan, only our actions can.
Our dreams aare only any use if, when the daylight comes, you go ahead and live them out.
That’s the hard part though.
It’s easy to stay up half the night dreaming, but that’s not how dreams come true.
Dreams don’t become reality by accident.
Bread doesn’t rise without yeast, and grape juice won’t become wine on its own. In the same way our lives are like stale bread, or a wedding without wine, if we don’t live with intent.
Our big, crazy dreams probably aren’t going to become a reality without a lot of effort, a heap of risk and a good amount of time on our knees.
Every day we can make small steps: if we live on purpose, with purpose and for a purpose.
If your dream is to be a missionary then start praying for the country you believe God has called you to. Start practicing trusting him with your finances. Start trying to live in a cheaper way.
If your dream is to write a book start writing.
Our God-given dreams often won’t be the easiest. They will normally require some kind of risk. A risk of security, or humiliation if it fails.
But even if these dreams never come to fruition. If they are the things God has called you to they well make a difference. Chasing them will bring you closer to Him.
So choose today how you are going to live. Are you going to live on purpose, with purpose and for a purpose or are you just going to keep on drifting through life. Like a ship with out a rudder.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. (Proverbs 13:12)
14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (James 2: 14-26)
I can remember one evening when I was about thirteen years old: playing about with some make-up when no one else was watching. I was surprised when I looked in the mirror and realised that the face that was looking back at me was actually quite beautiful! I was so used to seeing something ordinary: too thick hair; a genetic disposition to blackheads and spots (thanks dad!) and glasses long before they were considered trendy; that I was shocked and embarrassed to actually think of myself as pretty. I so felt guilty that I quickly washed off all the make up before anyone could see me.
I guess that I didn’t believe I could hold onto that identity of being pretty, that even when it seemed it might apply to me I was quick to rip it off again.
I was so used to my slightly geeky identity, that I simply couldn’t take hold of a new one.
Christ has given us all new identities. The problem is sometimes we hold on so tightly to our old ones, that we can’t take hold of the new ones.
One of the new identities Christ has given us is BEAUTIFUL: We are the apple of his eye, we are his perfect bride (and who would dare call a bride ugly!) and we are more precious than the most beautiful jewels. This is true whether it feels it or not. And I know that especially for women it will more often feel like not. But the great thing about what God says about us is that it IS true, no matter how it feels. No matter how hard it feels we can let go of our striving for beauty and worth and we can hold on to our true identity as a beautiful child of God.
Another of the identities that we can struggle to hold onto is that we are CHOSEN: God has chosen us. I know this can be hard to take hold of, if you were always the last one picked in PE, or someone who struggles to attract anyones attention. Christ chose you, not because he had to, but because he wanted to.
Christ has also given us the identity of LOVED: have you ever noticed how a shy woman can become confident when she knows she is loved? Or how an awkward child can transform when they know you care about them? Christ has loved you so much that he died for you. You can hold onto the label of loved, you can take this one and staple it onto your forehead or tattoo it onto your arm; because Christ has told you that you are loved.
The final label that I want to focus on is that you are FREE. The opposite of freedom is fear. And so many of us are still living in fear. Even though we have been set free. We have been set free. There is no captive, in their right mind, who would choose to return to their chains, once they have been set free. Christ has set you free, don’t tie yourself back up in those chains again.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here! (1 Corinthians 5:17)