Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. – 2 Corinthians 12:8
For a month now, I have been playing frisbee with God. I have been down on myself. I’ve been kind of just moping around in my spirit while trying to outwardly cover it up. Every time I have prayed, I’ve just envisioned in my mind handing this hurt to Him. Every time it has come back to me. This has been kind of unusual for me. This is not how it normally works. Finally, I just had to say, “What the heck, God? I’m trying here!”
Well, I have just received my answer. First of all, God has shown me that there is a big difference between hurt and sin. Sin must be handed to Him, for that is why He gave His life as a ransom for many on the cross. Hurt, now that is a different ball game. Hurt, especially at the hands of men, must be embraced. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” I recently finished reading the book of Mark. Jesus embraced the hurt in those last few chapters. Peter denied Him, Judas betrayed Him, the other disciples scattered when He was taken, Pilate ordered Him scourged, and ultimately it was the religious people, the very people who should have embraced Him that wanted Him crucified. That’s a lot of hurt to have piled on you in just a few hours.
Sin is to be given to God. In fact, the sooner the better. Where else can one go to have sin removed and forgiven? No other religion on this planet offers such a marvelous reset button. On the other hand, hurt is to be embraced. My favorite line in a movie comes from the Passion of the Christ. Jesus is about to be scourged. He simply looks up to heaven and says, “Father, my heart is ready.” Then, he embraces the hurt. He takes the beating of a lifetime. He doesn’t try to get out of it. He just takes it. Not only does He take it . . . He takes it with ultimate peace in His heart.
Can you and I not take anything? Are we so comfortable as Americans that we just expect to live pain free lives? The Bible says He will never leave us nor forsake us. I don’t know about you, but when I am really comfortable in this life, that is precisely when I think about Him the least. I have been really uncomfortable lately. I’ve been trying to hand Him this discomfort and He has been handing it back. I now know why.
Yesterday morning I was handing Him this hurt once more. When it came right back, I got a bit frustrated. Then, I had a very deep conversation with a very good friend who has been praying for me relentlessly. When I prayed again, there was that old hurt coming right back to me. Instead of throwing the frisbee back to God one more time, I caught it, looked at it, and embraced it. The very next reading in my Bible was Mark chapters 15-16. I saw how Jesus embraced the cross. I saw that it killed Him. I also saw how three days later, He rose again.
Immediately, when I recognized this and saw this hurt as a good thing, there it was . . . the Presence of God. I was like, “Lord, why in the world didn’t you let me just do this right off the bat?” He said, “Would you have remembered it?” I said, “No.” He said, “Exactly.”
Don’t you just love Him? Is there anyone or anything on this planet like Him?
I hate how we waste the words “amazing” and “awesome.” We say the dumbest things like “These French fries are awesome!” Those words should be exclusively reserved for Him and Him alone.