Welcome to ReCreate Ministry. Our mission is helping people become new creations in Christ. We’ve all been there. Chances are many of you reading this are there right now. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t writing this for myself as much as I am to help others. That’s why this topic is so important to me, because it’s my story. It’s part of the reason it’s taken me so long to get back to writing and posting these messages, and for that, I apologize.
This week, we are starting a new series that I’m calling Lost. We’re going to spend the next three weeks talking about when things just aren’t okay, and about how to find peace (and even joy) in that season. I realize that this might be a difficult thing for some of you. If you’re like me, feeling lost may have even become more the rule than the exception. If you’ve been with us for a while, you kind of know my story. My hope is that the next few weeks will help us all to realize that, even in the midst of the chaos, Christ is still there and still with us.
You see, sometimes life doesn’t go the way we planned. That’s been true for me in almost every aspect of my life. As a kid, the only thing I wanted was to be the next Eddie Van Halen. It was my dream to be the next greatest guitar player ever, so I worked really hard and spent a lot of my time trying to get faster and better at the guitar. I would spend hours a day playing, writing songs, and practicing my stage presence. When I was in high school, I put a band together, and we played a few shows here and there, but it never went as far as I had hoped it would. After high school, I skipped college to try to make it as a musician, which didn’t go the way I had planned. Then at 21, my daughter was born, and I had to at least attempt to become an adult. Over the years, I’ve had my share of disappointments. I’ve wanted a family for years, which hasn’t happened, and I have to make myself appreciate the season that God has me in, but it’s not easy. James 1:2 – 4 (NIV) says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and completely, not lacking anything.”
The truth is, we’ve all had disappointments. If you haven’t had something traumatic happen in your life, you will at some point. For some, it’s the death of a loved one, for others, a diagnosis that changes your life. For others, it’s a relationship or a marriage that ends without warning or reason. Sometimes, someone comes into your life just long enough to hurt you, then leaves. It’s not fair, and there’s nothing that you can do to make it go away, but there are things you can do to get past it. C.S. Lewis, in his book A Grief Observed, writes, “We were promised sufferings. They were part of the program. We were even told, ‘Blessed are they who mourn,’ and I accept it. I’ve got nothing that I hadn’t bargained for. Of course, it is different when the thing happens to oneself, not to others, and in reality, not imagination.” We will be digging into this book and it’s quotes a lot in this series, because I think that it is one of the most honest books about grief ever written.
Romans 5:3 – 5 (NIV) says, “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” As I started to plan out this message, there were three things that really stuck out to me. The first one is this:
I know that many of you have had a hard life. Since starting this ministry, I’ve heard from a lot of people who carry hurts that I can’t even begin to understand. Some of you have stories that break my heart. A man named Paul had a pretty hard life, too. Most of the letters he wrote in the New Testament were written from prison. My favorite book, Philippians, was one of those letters. Philippians 2:14 – 15a (NIV) says, “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation.” What Paul is telling us here is that we should face whatever challenges come our way with joy, not because these things don’t hurt us, but because our hope comes from Christ.
After my accident, I had lost all hope. I wasn’t even sure if I was going to have a future, and I honestly wasn’t sure that I wanted one. I had never met anyone who had been through what I went through, and it was only recently that I actually did meet someone who shared my story. The only thing I had was the knowledge that Christ was still with me. Later, in Philippians 4:6 – 7 (NLT), Paul says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Anxiety has been a big issue for me lately. Despite it being almost 2 years since the accident, I’m having a really hard time with driving, especially any drive that takes me more than a few miles from home. One thing that I’ve noticed is that starting my day by talking to God or spending time in His Word helps take away some of that anxiety. When we compare the things we’ve been through to the greatness of God, our hurts and disappointments don’t seem so big. The second lesson here is this:
Those of you that have been around a while know that I am a massive Tolkien fan. At the end of Return of the King, when Frodo is writing after he has returned from his quest, he writes,
In Ephesians, Paul warns Timothy about a man named Alexander, who is a coppersmith. We don’t really know what Alexander did to Paul, but Paul says that “he caused me much harm.” As I said earlier, sometimes someone comes into our lives just long enough to inflict pain on us, and there’s nothing we can do about it. Pain may change you, but it doesn’t have to define you. I don’t know what it is for you. Maybe it was a wife or a husband who, out of nowhere told you that they weren’t in love with you anymore, or that there was infidelity, and you now have to pick up the shattered pieces of your world and try to figure out what comes next. Maybe it’s an abusive parent or abusive spouse. Maybe it’s the loss of a job, or a diagnosis that rocks your world. Whatever it is, it will change you. The good news is that we get to decide how we react to that change. I’ve been in a season where it’s been really hard to see the silver lining on the clouds. I’ve dealt with a lot of pain, but Matthew 11:28 – 30 (NCV) says, “Come to me, all of you who are tired and have heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Accept my teachings and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit, and you will find rest for your lives. The burden that I ask you to accept is easy; the load I give you to carry is light.” That brings me to the last lesson in this message.
I’ve been in one of the darkest seasons of my life over the last few weeks, but I’ve learned something in this season about God. He has put people in my life to encourage me, pray for me, and just be there for me in general. John 14:27 (NLT) says, “I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” I thought that God had left me, but He has repeatedly shown me that I can trust Him in all things. Maybe God can’t physically give you a hug, but He has been sending people my way who have been a listening ear, a voice of encouragement, and even some to give hugs. We can trust our pain to God because He always gives a way to heal from it. Let’s thank him for that.
I am so thankful that You meet us in the times when life isn’t going quite how we planned. Thank You for being our healer, for being our rock in the middle of the storms. Father, I know there are some reading this who are going through storms right now. Lord, You know that I am one of them. Help anyone feeling lost right now to reach out to You, and help them to feel Your loving embrace. Most of all, we thank You for Jesus, and it’s in His Name we pray.
Next week, we will be continuing our Lost series by talking about loneliness. I know this is another thing that we all struggle with from time to time, so we are going to take a look at what the Bible has to say about it, and how it can help us in the times when we feel alone. Have a blessed week!!!!!