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Back to Basics – Hope Amidst Suffering

Winter can leave us feeling ready for a change

 

by Pastor TJ Freeman - February 23, 2017

Got a case of the winter blues?

Many people do…Whether it’s a touch of cabin fever or full blown seasonal depression, winter can leave us feeling ready for a change.

But, what if your feelings of anxiety or depression aren’t seasonal, but something you deal with more frequently?

That’s the case for an estimated 40 million Americans who have been clinically diagnosed with an anxiety related disorder. Out of that number, 15 million have been identified as having major depression. It’s no wonder that the 10th leading cause of death in America is suicide. But, did you know that for every 1 successful suicide there are 25 attempted? It is likely that over 1.1 million Americans will make an attempt at their own life this year. Others will choose instead to engage in self harm. Statistics have shown that 1 in 5 females and 1 in 5 males have engaged in this practice by cutting, or burning, or in some cases even breaking their own bones…all in effort to cope with some deep inner turmoil or hurt.

Still, much of the suffering we experience is never reported. We know what it’s like to hurt, to lament, to cry, and to struggle…Sometimes, in the midst of it all, we have to wonder: why all this hurt? I had thoughts like that just this week as I saw images of a college roommate’s 2 year old daughter hooked up to machines in an intensive care unit she’s lived in for the last 43 days following a liver transplant. Just 2 years old and already she knows suffering all too well. I’ve had thoughts like that as I’ve watched my friends, family, and fellow church members bury loved ones…or struggle with pain or sickness or broken relationships…

Why all this hurt?

That question actually begs another…is there any hope? Before you pick up the next self help book, turn to the bottle, or just give up…I’ve got a better option. Stay tuned and because after the break, we’ll talk about the reason and the solution for your hurt.

Have you ever met someone who had hope in the midst of suffering?

I have a cousin like that. Grief has been her constant companion as she has faced one trial after another for a lifetime.

But, you’d never know it. Her eyes still sparkle… here smile is still bright… and she is a constant source of encouragement and inspiration to those around her. There are examples of people like that in the Bible as well.

The Apostle Paul experienced great suffering, yet never lost hope or joy.

An early New Testament deacon named Stephen was stoned to death for preaching the Gospel, but showed no signs of despair…only hope. It is from people like that that we learn an important lesson: Hurt is meant to point us to the Healer.

Jesus understood the pain and suffering we’d feel. He even experienced it first hand… in fact, through His death on the cross, He bore the full weight of our sin and experienced suffering like we’ll never understand. And in light of our suffering, He offers Himself…

Listen to these words of comfort from Matthew 28: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Friend, are you hurting today? Turn to Christ and trust
Him to provide the kind of comfort that only He can!

Credits:

Idea/Concept: Pastor TJ Freeman

Videography: Erin O'Shea

Video Editing: Andrew Moore, Erin O'Shea

Writing: Pastor TJ Freeman

 

Produced by Vogt Media

Funded by Sherwood Motel, UPMC Susquehanna

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