Message #1, Reverend. Scott Parker
Freedom from Real Hurts
Genesis 37: 1-4, 18-36; 39: 1-2; Romans 4: 17-18
It has been said that we live in an aspirin culture. The commercials tell us that I don’t have time for pain, and with a thousand varieties of pain relievers available at your local store in convenient family size, there is no reason why we should ever be in pain, so they say. If you’re ever in pain, relief is a swallow away, now available in fast-acting Gel-Cap form.
The Aspirin Culture as taught us that it is possible to live relatively pain-free lives. The motto used to be NO PAIN, NO GAIN; It’s now: No Pain, NO PAIN! WE’VE COME TO EXPECT THAT—in a money-back guarantee.
But that makes our personal lives a little confusing. Relationships don’t come with a guarantee that you won’t experience some amount of hurt and disappointment. Many of us have wounds from a hurtful life experience—and the pain doesn’t easily go away. Some of the challenges we face will not come with a quick or pain-free resolution.
AND WHERE IS GOD IN ALL OF THIS?
Today we begin a 9-week Message Series called Real Hurts, Real Freedom-
We’ll be looking at the story of Joseph in Genesis 37-50 (I encourage you to read it-we will not cover it in a linear fashion). A great visual symbol of Joseph is the coat of many colors which was given to him by His father Jacob (the banner—result of WAPT). Joseph’s experience of family betrayal and slavery gives us a glimpse into the ways in which God meets us in the midst of life’s hurts. God does not take away the pain, but we will see how God TRANSFORMS IT, and FREES us from the hurt of the past.
Joseph’s pain and anguish is very real
They said to one another, “Surely we are being punished because of our brother. We saw how distressed he was when he pleaded with us for his life, but we would not listen…” Genesis 42:21. From the beginning of the story, from the moment Joseph tattles on his brothers, it’s clear that Joseph lives in a normal, dysfunctional family. Looking back in Genesis, you see that Joseph’s father Jacob ALSO came from a messed-up family, as did HIS father Isaac, father of Abraham.
That tells us that…
The people in Scripture are not immune from sin and pain—we can’t expect to be either.
Life is Painful-for Everyone; Some hurts are unavoidable
John 16:33: “…In this world you will have trouble.” (NIV)
NLT: “…Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.”
AMP: “…in the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration.”
2 Tim. 3:12 “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”
To Enjoy Life, we must learn how to deal with the inevitable hurts of life.
The first thing we need to understand is that…
In the midst of painful circumstances,
God TRANSFORMS the Painful Experience, and makes us FRUITFUL
“Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt…The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master.” (Gen. 39:1-2).
Here’s a peek at Joseph’s life several years after being sold into slavery:
The second son he named Ephraim and said, “It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.” Genesis 41:52. In the midst of suffering, God causes us to THRIVE
Another Word for this is…
REDEMPTION: God’s work of restoring that which is broken, bringing good out of the bad, life out of death, something out of nothing. As Christians, God encourages us to believe and trust that God is continuously active in the work of redemption—in world events, the people around us, and our own personal lives.
Joseph might have learned this from his Great Grandfather, Abraham:
“…the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.
Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed…” (Romans 4:17-18)
We see the Redeeming God at work in Joseph’s life as well: God makes him fruitful in the midst of his suffering. God transforms the painful circumstance—Redeems it.
15 years ago, I was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome, before it was particularly well-known, and I couldn’t say the “T” word without breaking down in shame and pain. And yet today, I see it as the place where God has BLESSED ME, taught me how to be a man and showed me the Grace of Jesus, and gave me the best gifts that I have to offer.
Of course, that’s not what I felt 15 years ago. It’s hard to see a redeeming God when you’re in the middle of your pain. We read that God made Joseph fruitful in the land of his suffering. We’re lucky-b/c we got to skip a bunch of chapters and see how it turns out for Joseph, but he didn’t have that luxury.
What kept Joseph going?
Joseph didn’t KNOW that God would redeem his situation.
Joseph TRUSTED that God would redeem his situation
Just like his Great Grand father, Joseph BELIEVED THAT God is a God who brings life out of dead and creates something where there is nothing.
Joseph thrives in the midst of pain by…
Remaining in Relationship with God: TRUST in God’s Redemptive Goodness
An examination of Joseph’s character throughout the story shows that Joseph remains in a relationship with God characterized by trust and obedience. Joseph trusts in God’s goodness, even in the midst of his suffering. This trust is reflected in obedience and forgiveness Obeying God is an indication that a person Trusts God.
(We will talk more about forgiveness & obedience in this series).
A Heart that Trusts in God’s Redemptive Goodness
FREES US from Pain, Dysfunction, and Sin
“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?  You want something but don’t get it… You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God.  When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” James 4:1-3
Are Human Responses to Needs, Loss, Unmet Hopes, & Threats to Security
What FREES us is a growing trust that God IS Good, and is able to REDEEM our pain: bringing good out of bad, and life out of death.
We can’t always SEE that from our side of the pain,
God asks us to TRUST HIM.
Trust in God’s Redemption and Goodness is key to experiencing Freedom from Life’s hurts, but it’s part of a larger process, a larger work that God wants to do in our lives. This is what we will be focusing on over the next 8 weeks.
The “Real Hurts, Real Freedom” Message Series at a Glance
Week 2: Freedom of Forgiveness
Week 3: Freedom of Forgetting
Week 4: Freedom of Knowing the Truth
Week 5: Freedom from painful memories-Reframing
Week 6: Freedom From Past Regrets
Week 7: Freedom STRATEGIES
Week 8: Freedom from the power myth
Week 9: Freedom in Action
The Main Point
In this world, we will experience trouble, trying times and hurts. To enjoy life, we must learn how to handle the hurts of life. Learning to trust in God’s REDEMPTIVE GOODNESS even in pain, will make the difference.
God does not cause the hurts we face in life. However, God will remain faithful to us in the midst of life’s hurts, so that through God’s activity, good will rise from the bad.
My invitation to us this week is to prayerfully identify a place of pain in your life that God wants to address with you during this Message Series. Perhaps this is an event that has left you wounded, of a place of great insecurity or pain, or an unhealthy practice in your life.
2nd Invitation: Prayerfully consider who you would share this message with. Who in your circle of relationships is hungry for the healing and freedom that Jesus Christ offers, whether they know it or not?
Prayer for This Week
Jesus, You know the wounds that I have experienced in this life, and the pain that has kept me from enjoying life in the fullest. Show me, Lord, the wounds that you want to address, so that I would become free of them. As we begin this journey together, help me to grow a deeper trust in your goodness that will redeem my hurt. In Jesus’ name, Amen.