Every Scar Tells a Story 2 Corinthians 1 am Nov 2007
“Every Scar Tells a Story”
Have you ever had one of those days? Perhaps you can
identify with this fellow:
I am writing in response to your request for additional
information. In block number 3 of the accident reporting form, I put “Poor planning” as the cause of my accident. You said in your letter that I should explain more fully, and I trust that the following
details will be sufficient.
I am a bricklayer by trade. On the day of the accident, I was working alone on the roof of a ten-story building. When I completed my work, I discovered I had about 500 pounds of bricks left over.
Rather than carry them down by hand, I decided to lower
them to the ground in a barrel by using a pulley, which, fortunately, was attached to the side of the building at the tenth floor. Securing the rope
at ground level, I went to the roof, loaded the 500 pounds of bricks, then went back down to the ground and untied the rope, holding it tightly to insure the slow descent of the 500 pounds of bricks. (You
will note in block 11 of the accident reporting form that I weigh 135 pounds.)
Due to my surprise at being jerked off the ground so
suddenly, I lost my presence of mind and forgot to let go of the rope. Needless to say, I proceeded at a rapid rate up the side of the building. In the vicinity of the fifth floor, I met the barrel coming down. This explains the fractured skull and broken collarbone.
I continued by rapid ascent, not stopping until the fingers of my right hand were two knuckles deep into the pulley. Fortunately, by this time I had regained my presence of mind and was able to hold tightly to
the rope in spite of my pain. At approximately the same time, however, the barrel of bricks hit the ground, and the bottom fell out of the barrel.
Devoid of the weight of the bricks, the barrel now weighed approximately 30 pounds. I refer you again to my weight in block number 11 of the accident reporting form.
As you might imagine, I began a rapid descent down the side of the building. In the vicinity of the fifth floor, I met that barrel coming up again! This accounts for the two fractured ankles and lacerations to of my legs and lower body. The second encounter with the barrel slowed me enough to lessen my injuries when I fell into the pile of bricks, and fortunately, only three vertebrae were cracked.
I am sorry to report, however, that as I lay there on the bricks – in pain and unable to stand – watching the empty barrel ten stories above me – I again lost my presence of mind – I LET GO OF THE ROPE.
Pain is a part of life. In fact, it is one of the very first parts of life. In childbirth, there is pain and it is a difficult experience. Unfortunately, that is not where the pain ends in our lives. We deal with pain everyday in some form or another.
Some of the pain is the result of our own poor choices. However, pain in our lives is sometimes the result of others poor choices.
It is in the journey through the pain that we begin to define ourselves. ---The journeys of our lives make up the experiences that shape who we are.
“Experience is not what happens to you. It is what you do with what happens to you”
…the pain we endured during that time has incredible ability to mold us and define us.
Like me, many of you have some outward signs of pain. You have scars and wounds that tell a story. MY HAND/MY FOOT--SCARS For many of us, the scars that cause the most pain are unseen.
Today I want to show you a passage from the bible that helps us to understand how the apostle Paul dealt with the pain in our lives. It shows us his real self, his real hurt and his real need to depend on God.
2 Corinthians 1:1-11
The Apostle Paul identifies himself as the author of this epistle—which contains the most autobiographical material found in any of his letters!
This letter, although quite personal in nature contains profound theological truth for all believers:
· Be alert to things that will distract the church and keep God’s people from experiencing His best.
· Satan is active in the world seeking to deceive believers
· Abiding in Christ provides everything the believer needs to live the victorious Christian live and sustain us in pain/suffering
There are three basic principles we need to learn from this passage.
1) Life can become overwhelming.
Is there anyone here who has never at some point been completely overwhelmed with life? We all connect with the concept that life is tough sometimes and we are not sure we are going to survive.
2 Corinthians 1:8-9a
Notice that Paul not only feels like he is going to die, he expects to die. Life turns out to not be a grand adventure for Paul of changing the world, but it is at times a great struggle simply to survive.
What were some of the things that Paul dealt with?
2 Corinthians 11:22-28
Paul dealt with all these issues in life. He was constantly being arrested, beaten, thrown out of town, and shipwrecked.
No wonder Paul had such a hard time finding people to go on trips with him.
Many commentators believe that Paul not only suffered physical affliction, but that he suffered a mental or emotional affliction as well. I believe that may be a very real possibility. Paul seems to have gone through periods in his life of major depression and anxiety. On several occasions in scripture Paul uses the term or idea that he feels overwhelmed. …Paul may have suffered from some type of emotional distress that plagued him throughout his life.
---exact details of Paul?
2 Corinthians 12:6-9
Paul wanted desperately to be finished with the torment he was going through. But he learned that God’s grace was powerful enough to sustain him.
Someone asked C.S. Lewis, "Why do the righteous suffer?" "Why not?" he replied. "They’re the only ones who can take it."
We all face incredible hurts and pains in life and they are never easy to deal with.
For many of you, there are pains of childhood tragedy, of poor choices and sin that have plagued you forever and you would love simply to forget they ever occurred.
You will never be able to forget the pain that comes into your life.
It will always be apart of you because it shaped who you are.
*God never wastes a hurt.
What you need to understand is that although you may wish it had never happened and you may wish circumstances of your life were different, God has allowed you to go through them so that he may show up in your life. …So many people go through life mad at God and hurt that God allowed them to experience pain.
But God’s desire is that we take the pain in our lives and we learn to grow from it.
IS IT WORTH THE PRICE?
Paul J. Meyer wrote in Unlocking Your Legacy:
"Cost and self-sacrifice do not make something hard. Nobody feels sorry for the athlete who wins an Olympic medal, even though the person paid an incredible price through grueling effort behind the scenes, denying himself or herself certain things, probably for several years, all for one hopeful brief moment of glory. The medal, once attained, minimizes every cost and self-sacrifice."
Meyer continues, "Following God is similar in many respects. There are costs and self-sacrifice to be made, but that does not mean it is hard to follow God. Hard is when you compete but never win, invest but lose everything, work but receive nothing for your efforts, and show love but receive hate in return.... When I compare my costs and self-sacrifices with what I have already received and will receive in return, my costs and self-sacrifices are insignificant!"
2) God is faithful.
This may be one of the hardest things for people going through pain or living with pain to understand. But God is faithful to be a source of power and strength in our weakness.
2 Corinthians 1:9-10
Paul lets us know that even when he thought he was going to die, he relied on the power of God to sustain him.
But God is able to deliver us from the death. The worst thing that can happen to us is the pain and suffering that goes on through the process of our life; but when we die, if we have a relationship with Jesus, that all comes to an end.
Jesus Christ died so that we would not have to pay the penalty of death.
The God who was faithful to deliver us in the past, can be trusted in our future.
Paul says that what he learned through the process of all the pain he endured was that God is able to be trusted to deliver us from the pain in our lives today.
C. S. Lewis describes the role of suffering in the life of the believer as “soul-making.” It is the shaping of the Christian with the hammer and chisel of adversity. Lewis also said “God whispers to us in our pleasures; speaks in our consciences; but shouts in our pains.”
**The way to understand Gods faithfulness is to see as God sees.
One of the problems we have in our lives is that we have such a limited scope of what is taking place.
We see only our perspective and not Gods perspective.
Maybe God’s design for your life is not to take away your pain but to use what you have learned to minister into the lives of others.
3) God desires your scars to tell a story to others.
2 Corinthians 1:11
We often think that the way that God can really be honored and glorified is if we are healed or if we simply learn to bury our scars and never allow anyone to see our weakness.
Paul tells the Corinthians that not only do their prayers encourage him, but they allow others to hear his story.
God is not only a God of healing; he is a God of supporting.
God is honored when our lives are lived out in daily recognition that he is the only one that enables us to get through our day.
(Senior Ladies Sunday School Class)
When our lives are devoted to a need to rely on God, we realize that what is out of our control is under His control.
God uses our scars to tell a story of His love and faithfulness to others.
2 Corinthians 1:4 “Comfort”—the Greek word “parakaleo”—“to call to one’s side” or “to summon” for help---“to exhort or to encourage”
God’s comfort is the result of His presence through salvation, but it also looks forward to a future deliverance.
Paul uses the word ten times in this chapter, claiming it is the purpose for meeting together as a church. Just as God has come alongside our lives to comfort, so we do likewise to other believers!!
Scars are not finish lines of death, they are checkpoints of life.
One of the problems we have in the Christian community is that we are afraid to talk about our scars. We feel like we are past the point of help, we feel like failures and we feel like we have let God down because our lives are marked with scars.
Scars are not a sign of weakness; they are signs of survival.
However, I have seen God do amazing things in my life. He has softened my heart towards hurting people.
There are three things your scars can do:
1) Your scars can paralyze you.
2) Your scars can make you bitter.
3) Your scars can strengthen you & others.
Scars strengthen you when you embrace them.
Are you willing to let God take your scars and use them to bring honor and glory to himself?
Are you willing to allow him control of the areas of your life that are out of control?
Maybe today you need someone to pray for you. Maybe you simply need someone to listen to you and help you to embrace your scars.
- \\ Let it be a reminder to you that God is faithful, God never wastes a hurt, and every scar tells a story.*