WELC08/Tragedy and Pain Devotion
Tragedy and Pain Devotion
Life in God's kingdom is about transformation, we see it everywhere. Water into wine. Reminds me of a Catholic nun who used to do home nursing. One time her car ran out of gas and she had nothing but a bed pan to carry gas in. She walked to nearest gas station, filled up the bed pan and walked back. As she was pouring the gas into the car, two men passed by and in utter amazement one said to the other. "If I see what I think I see then I'm going to become a Catholic today!" When Jesus said, "Blessed are those who mourn because they will be comforted." Then His followers should embrace those things that make us mourn so we can comfort others. True comfort can only flow as Jesus reveals our lost-ness. It is opposite in the world -- consume more, work harder, in order to put away the pain. Jesus calls this happy and blessed when we try to get in touch with the excruciating pain of a lost life. The Kingdom of God sees the pain as an opportunity to heal and put things right so that healing may flow from us.
We are a go-getting, entrepreneurial people. (George Bush says the French don't have a word for entrepreneurial!) Do we understand this? Do we see grieving and mourning as an opportunity for the Kingdom or do we deal with the sin and brokenness in our lives by trying a 'quick fix' and to make things look like they are under control so they look right? Do we allow for grief over our failed projects? Have some dreams not materialised, opportunities wasted? Have we grieved over them?
Luke 7 Jesus allows a notorious sinner woman touch Him over lunch. There were some big cheeses. She wept on His feet and wiped them with her hair. She touched a jar with her life savings in it in oil and perfume and breaks it over Him. An exuberant, over the top waste. Fills the whole house and street with its perfume. It was her fortune saved up through working in the most destructive job in the world. The brokenness and pain of her life, like a wasted fortune has become this famous act of worship and intimacy. So much comfort was released. It is an open invitation to you and me to spill out our pain, our mourning and our brokenness onto Jesus and turn it into a comforting experience with Him.
Jean Vanier, l'Arche community founder. Our brokenness becomes an essential component of our community. True intimacy and depth of relationship needs an environment to share our pain. And share our doubts and vulnerability and insecurity. As we try to hide these or try to connect with one another just in the points of our strength, we will live in strife and conflict. Proverbs -- hope deferred makes the heart sick. In the past weeks thinking about this time together, I wondered how many of us experienced a still birth. For mothers who have had to carry a baby that has died already and would never live this is really traumatizing and calls for proper mourning and grief. Sometimes out of our lack of experience or our idealism, or worse, our pride, we have had dreams and visions and plans that we have worked hard for, that didn't happen. It is important to process that loss. To grieve in order to be restored in our confidence in the Lord and confidence in people and confidence in ourselves. In our organization we tend not to have much patience for failure -- especially our own. When do we write about our failed experiments? I remember Lynn Green once asked me in the car, "I hear you guys have recently gone through some difficult times." Had just had to send a young couple with three kids home. Their family was falling apart because of alcohol abuse. But I was going to bite my tongue off rather than show Lynn my hurt at the failure. Terrible pride and insecurity keeps me from connecting to where I hurt and keeps me from connecting with others and allowing them to connect with me.
I want to encourage you today to come into the presence of Jesus, allow the Holy Spirit to connect you to those broken failed areas in your life that you need healing for. To open up to another person here, "This area, I just need to talk about this." Especially if it is areas of guilt and shame that you think other people will lose your respect over. I guarantee you that comfort will flow.
Last line -- I do guarantee you that comfort will flow.
I hope that you will be able to respond to what I've said and take up the offer to pray for one another.
Tilmann Pforr's Response
I want to encourage you that we will get to the places that the Lord puts in our hearts. God is saying that we are to grieve, to embrace loss and to understand exile and to be honest, to embrace that and sense it. If we have lost something, to sense it. He is a God of hope. If you set your heart on things burning in your heart and if you water them, you will see them come. I've been through hard times and lately have seen angels taking me to heaven. And someone had been praying in tongues and gave him the interpretation. It was exactly what he was praying. He is going to Tibet to pray. I was walking along a street with a friend talking about Smith Wigglesworth and as he walked through a train people would cry about their sins. We want to see it happen. The next day it happened, a man came to us weeping saying he needed to talk to us about his sins. We need a compassionate heart for the lost -- ask Him for it and you will get it. It may take a month, a year, 10 years. Stay there until you see what God has put in your heart. You are called and you are equipped with everything you need.