The obvious and interesting thing about pain is that it’s always personal. Last week we learned from the story of Sid and Kim. A father and daughter who taught us that you will either live in humility, or you’ll live with regret. You can watch Kim's story here
I’ll never forget leading Sid to Christ, and hearing the desire of his heart to reconcile with his daughter. I’ll never forget the phone call telling of his tragic death. But mostly I never will forget the look on his daughters face at the funeral. A look of regret, plainly saying “I would give anything to have one more day”. One more day to make amends, one more day to forgive.
We also talked about David and Absalom and how through years of pain, and years of mistakes, we only have record of them seeing each other one time! (you can read the whole story here in 2 Samuel 13-18) I believe the hurt became too much for David. It became easier for him to ignore the situation than feel the pain of it. I think for Absalom, the hurt turned into anger and the anger pushed him too far. Both lived and died in regret. Look at the final verse in this text: 33 The king was overcome with emotion. He went up to the room over the gateway and burst into tears. And as he went, he cried, “O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you! O Absalom, my son, my son.” 2 Samuel 18:33.
Can't you just feel the pain of regret in David's heart? Some of us become good at ignoring or distancing ourselves from a situation, but in the end you can't truly distance yourself from the pain. It's personal. Pain is personal but it also carries a promise from God.
The promise of pain is that God wants different for our lives. I said in one of the services that God wants to recycle the pain, but I heard a term today that describes it even better. The term is “upcycle”. Upcycling is when an artist takes something worn, old or broken and shapes it into something new, and better. Check out this verse in Ephesians: For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10.
God is the artist who takes pain in our lives and uses it to upcycle us. He makes us better, creating a purpose and a future from the mess of our lives.
There is always a better you waiting on the other side of brokenness. You just have to be willing to walk the path of pain to get to the promise. I don’t know why God allows a father to leave a family, or a tragedy to occur, but I know without doubt that He is in perfect control, upcycling the pain in our lives to the be fulfillment of His promise.
So instead of being defined by what has happened, and consumed by the pain, be consumed by what Jesus did on the cross. I will either be defined by what people have done to me, or what Jesus has done for me. Easy? Not so much. But I don’t think the cross was easy. I don't think following Jesus was every designed to be easy. Following Christ, and believing His promise is true takes a new perspective.
A new perspective comes when we believe that God is good, that He wants good for our lives, and that He is always working things out for our good. “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28 That’s the promise of God!
Last weekend we simply asked people to lay their pain down at the foot of the cross, and this weekend we will get extremely practical about walking out forgiveness. We’ll look at some steps that can help us move from hurt to healing.
This week I pray that you have been thinking about the story of David and Absalom. I pray you have been moved. More than anything I hope that your story becomes God’s story. Pain may be personal, but so is Jesus! He knows you. He is the "author and finisher of your faith". Trust Him. He has your back and loves you so much. Hold on to His promises. Hold on to his hand. Let him love you and lead you to a place of finding peace. I am praying that your pain and hurt becomes a journey of reconciliation and healing.
Your Pastor and Friend