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You've gotta go through difficulties

by Mike Vandermause on January 28, 2019

Guest speaker Jeff Schulte of Tin Man Ministries said during his message on Sunday, January 27 at Community Church that your hurt — whether it’s sadness, loneliness, guilt or something else -- could be a great gift because you need healing. The salt of your tears makes you thirsty for God. 

Jeff said we often try to avoid pain but we’ve got to go through it. In those deep, dark overwhelmed moments,  God can and does speak and show up in deep and profound ways — sometimes more in that place than anywhere else.

Here are other key points from Jeff’s message:

*Jeff read a children’s story “Bear Hunt,” in which a collection of obstacles arise. The theme of the book is you can’t go over, under or around difficulties, but instead “you’ve gotta go through it.”

*Jeff unpacked Psalm 42: 1-8:

-When it talks about thirsting for God, it’s the slow agony of someone walking in a desert in the middle of a drought, dying a slow death.

-The psalmist doesn’t say he will praise God when life’s difficult circumstances go away. He praises him immediately for his presence in the midst of trials. 

*When waves roll over us we pray, “Lord help me to avoid this problem.” We ask God to get us out of difficulties. We don’t want to go through the trials. We can sometimes falsely assume it would be to God’s greater glory for him to deliver us from those circumstances. But more often going through the trial makes us stronger and ultimately glorifies God.

*When waves roll over us we don’t want to feel their impact so we check out, go into denial, minimize what’s happening, rationalize or medicate with sex, alcohol, sports, religion, etc.

*Maybe you have been led to a place in your life that is more than you can handle, where life isn’t working for you. It could very well be that the mercy of God led you there. Anything that has led you to a place of surrender in life, like the psalmist, is the mercy of God.

*You must go through difficulties in life but you will have the help of his presence. God promises that you do not have to go through it alone. We must surrender to God and say, "I need you in this, will you show up with me in it?” 

Discussion questions

What pain have you experienced that you now consider a gift? What did you learn, and how did you grow?

Do you try to avoid pain? Why? Have you considered sitting in it and trying to learn and grow?

*What are some ways you have tried to 'check out’ in the midst of tough times? 

Have you turned to God in your struggles? What have you experienced during those times?