“Come near me and listen to this: “From the first announcement I have not spoken in secret; at the time it happens, I am there”…. This is what the LORD says— your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. Isaiah 48:16-17
Have you ever been stuck in life? Well, this text from Isaiah was written when God’s people were very stuck! They were in Babylon just after it fell to the Persians. Imagine the questions! Are we going to be able to go home? Do we have to stay? Are the Persians going to kill us? Talk about a stressful situation. There are many situations that come up in our life that make us feel stuck, paralyzed, unable to move forward. There are three things in particular that especially effect people. Fear, sin, & hurt, all these can paralyze. We are going to look at these three things.
Fear: The preacher said, “A wise bird knows that a scarecrow is simply an advertisement. It announces that some very juicy and delicious fruit is to be had for the picking. There are scarecrows in all the best gardens…If I am wise, I too shall treat the scarecrow as though it were an invitation. Every giant in the way which makes me feel like a grasshopper is only a scarecrow beckoning me to God’s richest blessings.” He concluded, “Faith is a bird which loves to perch on scarecrows. All our fears are groundless.” Wow bold statement, crazy statement, “All of our fears are groundless”!? The only thing that makes this statement logical is the word of God, Psalm 27:1 “The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” See, the same God who made the universe, the planets the mountains the lakes, made you. He then bought us back with His own death, and rose again conquering even death, Say it, Really Say it! The LORD is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?
Sin: Pain is not a problem in and of itself. But rather, it is a symptom, a sign of something gone wrong. When one places their hand on a stove, the problem is not the pain but it’s the fact they are doing something that shouldn’t be done. The pain in this world is simply a sign that something is wrong; something is seriously messed-up. Without pain, we may never realize that something is wrong. On the cross Jesus not only made it, so that we can live fearless, but made it so that we can live free from sin. As Paul said, “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” Romans 6:1-2 We can move on past our sins God does not see them any more, why should we allow them to bind us? Hebrews 12:1”Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
Hurt: Corrie Ten Boom told of not being able to forget a wrong that had been done to her. She had forgiven the person, but she kept rehashing the incident and so couldn’t sleep. Finally Corrie cried out to God for help in putting the problem to rest. “His help came in the form of a kindly Lutheran pastor,” Corrie wrote, “to whom I confessed my failure after two sleepless weeks.” “Up in the church tower,” he said, nodding out the window, “is a bell which is rung by pulling on a rope. But you know what? After the sexton lets go
of the rope, the bell keeps on swinging. First ding, then dong. Slower and slower until there’s a final dong and it stops. I believe the same thing is true of forgiveness. When we forgive, we take our hand off the rope. But if we’ve been tugging at our grievances for a long time, we mustn’t be surprised if the old angry thoughts keep coming for a while. They’re just the ding-dongs of the old bell slowing down.” Extending forgiveness to others is not an option for the Christian. Think of the Lord’s Prayer, the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray. Say it quickly. What is the only part of that prayer that is our responsibility? “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Who do you need to start forgiving? Start now, if you need help call upon Him who hears you! The only power we have to overcome fear, sin and hurt come from the one who knew no sin, or fear, but he did know hurt. He was hurt, broken and severed from all relationships even with his Father. A man of sorrow, aquatinted with grief. This Man Jesus over came sin and fear and even transforms hurt, that though we hurt, we may be empowered to forgive, giving glory to the one whose name we bear.
Peace in Christ,