One of the joys of my life and my ministry is the privilege of leading a group that we call LIFE HURTS GOD HEALS. How is that for a phrase that fits this coronavirus season as well as every day of your life! The premise of this group is that we all deal with hurts, habits, and hang ups in our lives. We tend to deny, ignore, blame others, but that never fixes the problem! These traits make our lives unmanageable and rob us of the Joy Jesus offers us. Well, about 6 weeks ago we were told we could not meet due to social distancing, so I decided to write a daily devotion for my group. I wanted them to know that they were loved and missed, that they were not alone, that they are part of a bigger group. I wanted them to embrace the fact that God loves them and that He wants us to invite Him into our lives…to help us deal with our hurts, habits, hang ups.
Those devotions quickly spread to others wanting to receive the devotion through email (over 80 now)…and many of you forward them to family and friends….and some of you have found them at royred.org (resources). All of my past devotions can be found there.
I love to use illustrations and personal stories to share the Gospel. One of my favorite illustrations (not sure of the original author) can be helpful as we navigate life’s hurts, habits, hang ups. It goes like this:
In the darkest part of the night, a ship’s captain cautiously piloted his warship through the fog-shrouded waters. With straining eyes, he scanned the hazy darkness, searching for dangers lurking just out of sight. Then His worst fears were realized when he saw a bright light straight ahead. It appeared to be a vessel on a collision course with his ship. To avert disaster, he quickly radioed the oncoming vessel. “This is Captain Jeremiah Smith,” his voice crackled over the radio. “Please alter your course 10 degrees south! Over.”
To the captain’s amazement, the foggy image did not move. Instead, he heard back on the radio, “Captain Smith. This is Private Thomas Johnson. please alter your course 10 degrees north! Over.” Appalled at the audacity of the message, the captain shouted back over the radio, “Private Johnson, this is Captain Smith, and I order you to immediately alter your course 10 degree south! Over.” A second time the oncoming light did not budge. “With all due respect Captain Smith,” came the privates voice again, “I order you to alter your course immediately 10 degrees north! Over.” Angered and frustrated that this impudent sailor would endanger the lives of his men and crew, the captain growled back over the radio, “Private Johnson. I can have you court-martialed for this! For the last time, I command you on the authority of the United States government to alter your course 10 degrees to the South! I am a battleship!” The privates final transmission was chilling: “Captain Smith, sir. Once again with all due respect, I command you to alter your course 10 degrees to the North! I am a lighthouse!”
I bet you didn’t see that one coming!
Many of us in today’s world operate like the battleship captain…bigger and more important than anyone else. Going through life as if rules can be changed (or should be changed) to fit our personal needs and desires. Having a “get out of my way” attitude. Commercials egg us on: “Have it your way,” “Rules are made to be broken.” “you only live once so grab all the gusto”
In reality, we can’t always have it our way. We have to conform our lives to a higher truth, a higher authority. Truth is not going to change to accommodate us. We are the ones who must change to conform our lives to what’s true.
So, the question is where in your life do you act like you are the captain of that battleship? It’s your way or the highway. You have learned to rationalize why anything you do is ok…You blame and threaten others when your plan fails….or you didn’t get your way.
Do you act like that battleship in your job, marriage, parenting, finances…or maybe in your spiritual journey? Do you expect others (and even God) to move or change their plans to accommodate yours?
Who is the lighthouse in your life’s journey…the immovable object?
God’s truth is our lighthouse. His truth found in His Word is not going to change to accommodate us. Psalm 119:105…Your Word is a lamp for my feet. A light on my path. His Truth will lead us to safe waters. We are the ones who must change to conform our lives in order to accomplish His plans for your life. Jeremiah 29:11.. .For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Did you notice that there is no asterisk * there that says “unless you have a better plan”…or you “really don’t like God’s plan”.
Jesus is our lighthouse. The Bible teaches that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He will always be there for us. He is dependable. We Christians must conform our lives to His will for us. If He tells us to alter our courses, we have no choice but to obey. That’s what being a disciple is all about. And the best part is that He always knows best!!!! Lighthouses are especially important when storms appear, and we lose our way! Standing firm guiding us from perils.
And remember what the purpose of a lighthouse is…it’s to warn of hidden dangers, to center us and set as a reference point, to keep us on a safe path to accomplish our God given purpose…to get us safely to port.
God’s Word is the immovable standard by which all will be judged.
Spend some time this week meditating on these questions. What could represent the battleship in all areas of your life?
What (or who) should represent the lighthouse in all areas of your life?
What will happen if nothing is changed/moved?
What is God calling you to change/move?
What hurt, habit, hang-up is sending you on a collision course?
Is god calling you to change directions in some area of your life? In our Life Hurts God Heals group our goal is to look to God’s Word to help us deal with our hurts, habits, and hangups….to make healthy choices by letting God be the lighthouse…and adjusting our course accordingly.