At CLC, we just finished week two of our sermon series based on the book “God, Where Are You?” (visit clcdayton.com to view archived messages). The big idea for this message was about “de-personalizing” some of our pain and suffering.
When pain, injustice, or tragedy strike and the longer they linger in life, it becomes more difficult to cope with them.
An occasional marriage conflict is easily overcome, but the stress and pain of divorce can linger for decades. A broken arm can be set, mended and recovered so that it is just a distant memory in a matter of a few months. On the other hand, serious illnesses can disable and derail a person for months, years, or even life.
The longer we are forced to deal with pain, the more it tends to become the center of our universe. We can easily get caught up in the “Why me?” scenarios, feeling attacked by life, and sorry for ourselves. We then become isolated in our pain and it seems like there is no way out, and God is distant.
In times of ongoing pain, injustice and suffering, we need to remind ourselves that “The universe is damaged and at war.” To illustrate this point, we borrowed a minute of footage from “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. In these compelling films, we see the portrayal of a huge battle between the hideous (creepy) armies of evil (Orcs) and the chosen city. In Ephesians 6:12, the apostle Paul reminds us that our world is in a spiritual battle: God and His kingdom versus Satan and the powers of Hell.
If we keep this in mind, it makes some of our “Why me?”, self-defeating, and faith-reducing attitudes seem trivial. In a battle between good and evil that encompasses the entire universe, we should probably EXPECT a certain amount of pain and suffering in our lives.
Instead of being depressed about “Why me?”, realize “Why NOT me?” is a better perspective, and then encourage yourself. God has not yet done what he has promised He SHALL do! He SHALL wipe away every tear, there SHALL be no more death, pain or crying…someday, in Heaven (Revelation 21: 4). Until then, He gives us grace to cope with what IS on this Earth. Don’t confuse “Is” with “Shall,” and rejoice from the midst of your pain about what is to come!