If you could change one thing from your past, what would it be? How has it impacted you over the years? How has it impacted others? Why is it still an issue?
If you could change one thing about your present life, what would it be? How does it impact you? Does your life seem unmanageable? What would you want/need to change, if only you could?
Sounds like some heavy questions…and yet very important ones.
Psalm 139 is a great Psalm about seeking God in our lives, perhaps verses 23-24 can help… Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.
About 10 years ago, I came across a program called Celebrate Recovery. The premise of it intrigued me. It was based on the fact that all of us have hurts, habits, and hang-ups in our lives….and that they make our lives seem unmanageable! We don’t seem to know how to deal with them, and so we ignore them, deny them, blame others for them…and continue to make unhealthy choices…and those choices impact us, as well as those around us. I purchased materials, planned, and started a group at RR and it fell flat on it’s face. What was I doing wrong? I started with a light dinner, a worship team leading singing, and followed the materials provided step by step. For all the hope I had…we averaged only 1 person per week for months until I canceled the program. I asked a few people that I felt should have come “why aren’t you coming?” Their answers were interesting. “I’m not celebrating anything” …or “I’m not a heroin addict” …or “I’m not in recovery!” The title Celebrate Recovery was confusing…it did not attract people who really needed it (and we all do!) to come along for the journey.
I asked myself what was I trying to accomplish, what was the message I needed to state? I changed the title to state a fact that we all know that…. LIFE HURT GOD HEALS!
Why does LIFE HURT? SIN! God created a perfect world (”it was very good”)! Put Adam and Eve into that paradise with one choice (don’t eat the fruit of tree of good and EVIL…it will harm you!). They sinned…you and I sin…and we are not in the Garden of Eden any longer. Romans 3:23…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and Romans 5:12…Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned. Everything is tainted with sin. People HURT us and we HURT them! We all have sinful HABITS and addictions that cause us to be out of control and cause pain! We all have and are impacted by other people’s HANG-UPS. Things like pride, anger, and grief.
How does GOD HEAL? Well, The God who created the perfect world, hand made you! He loves you in spite of your hurts, habits, and hang-ups. And yet the wage of sin is death, and God is a just God, someone must die for your sins. The good news is that He loves you so much that He cannot imagine spending eternity without you there with Him in His heavenly kingdom. John 3:16…For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. He sent His son, Jesus, to live a perfect life, die in you place, so that He can restore the relationship with you. You have eternal life thru faith in Jesus as your Lord and Savior. That is good enough, but Jesus goes even further by wanting to help you deal with your hurts, habits, hang-ups…to make healthy choices…to deal with those issues and the collateral damage they cause!
I changed the title of my Tuesday night group to LIFE HURTS GOD HEALS about 8 years ago, did an 8 week sermon series on 8 healthy choices we need to make, and hundreds have worked through their hurts, habits and hang-ups since then.
God knows about your issues and is the only way to healing. John 6:14…Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.
A man named Jack was walking along a steep cliff one day when he accidentally got too close to the edge and fell. On the way down he grabbed a branch, which temporarily stopped his fall. He looked down and to his horror it was more than a thousand feet. He couldn’t hang onto the branch forever, and there was no way for him to climb up the steep wall of the cliff. So, Jack began yelling for help, hoping that someone passing by would hear him and lower a rope or something. (“HELP! HELP! Is anyone up there? HELP!”) He yelled for hours, but no one heard him. He was about to give up when he heard a voice.
“Jack. Jack. Can you hear me?”
“Yes, yes! I can hear you. I’m down here!”
“I can see you, Jack. Are you alright?”
“Yes, but…who are you, and where are you?”
“I am the Lord, Jack.I’m everywhere.”
“The Lord? You mean, God?”
“God, please help me! I promise – if You will get me down from here, I’ll stop sinning. I’ll be a really good person. I’ll serve You for the rest of my life.”
“Easy on the promises, Jack. Let’s just get you down from there; then we can talk. Now, here is what I want you to do. Listen carefully.”
“I’ll do anything, Lord. Just tell me what to do.”
“Okay. Let go of the branch.”
“I said, let go of the branch. Just trust Me. Let go.”
There was a long silence. Finally, Jack yelled, “Help, help, is there anyone else up there?”
Have you ever felt like Jack? We say that we want to know the will of God…. but when we find out what it is, it sounds too scary, too difficult. We decide to look elsewhere. When He says, “Let go of the things that stand between you and Me, and trust Me with your life,” it sounds pretty scary. But when we let go, we find freedom and safety in His hands.
So…here is my plan for us. With the help of these next devotions, we are going to go on a journey to living a healthier life…to deal with our hurts, habits, and hang-ups. We will invite the Lord to take us by the hand and help us to make healthy choices and to become all that He has hand crafted us to be!
What I want you to do is go back to the beginning of this devotion and pray for God to help you answer those first few questions. If you answer them honestly, it might seem scary at first. Don’t be afraid to answer them because we will work through the healthy steps to a Joy filled, God pleasing, Christ centered life!