May 9, 2023
Download MP3 (right click to save)
It was such a neat surprise to see our longtime friends, Bob and Marcy, at a conference where I was speaking. We hadn't seen them for several years, and we didn't know they were coming. After one session, my wife was talking with them in the hall outside the auditorium, and my observant honey noticed Bob's color suddenly turned pale. And within moments, he was crumpling to the floor. My first thought was, "Is that what my speaking does to people?" When Bob finally came around, he sat in a chair wondering what had hit him. His wife wanted to drive him six hours to their home, but others were really urging him to get to a local hospital...preferable in an ambulance. Men usually resist ideas like that, but Bob was wise enough, and maybe just concerned enough, to agree. And that was a good thing. His heart stopped once on the way to the hospital, and again in the emergency room. Within two days, he had a pacemaker implanted, and he left that hospital feeling great. Had he not had that scary incident in the lobby, he might not have made it.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Life-Saving Pain."
Things going wrong can be your friend if they show you a problem that could really hurt you and if it gets you to the help that you need. Now, that just might be what's happening in your life right now, and it may explain the real reason for what's going wrong. In short, God wants you back before some really damaging things happen because you're not where you're supposed to be with Him.
You'll better understand how He pursues those He loves when you hear our word for today from the Word of God. It's in Hosea 2, beginning with verse 5. God likens His spiritual wanderer to a woman loved by her husband who's been unfaithful to him. She says, "I will go after my lovers, who give me my food and my water." Okay, so when we get away from God when we turn to other people and other things to meet our needs. But God says, "I will block her path with thornbushes; I will wall her in so she cannot find her way. She will chase after her lovers but not catch them; she will look for them but not find them. Then she will say, 'I will go back to my husband as at first, for I was better off than now.'" Then God says, "She has not acknowledged that I was the one who gave her the grain, the new wine and oil, who lavished on her the silver and gold."
See, your best days were the days when you were closest to Jesus. But you've "pursued other lovers." You've forgotten He was the only one who ever loved you enough to die for you, and that sense of peace and worth you had when you were close to Him is not there now. God loves you too much to let you go, so He's been as the Bible says here, "blocking your path with thornbushes" and "walling you in." He's been making your sin more painful, more expensive, more disappointing. If that hasn't happened, it will. More and more you'll keep chasing what you're after, and you won't catch it because only God has it.
If someone you love is the one who's away from the Lord, you can pray in accordance with God's recovery plan here in Hosea 2. Pray for the thorn bushes and the walls and the frustrating pursuits that can cause someone you love to think about what they're doing and to remember the better days...the Jesus-days.
If you're the one who's away from Jesus right now, the one whose love you were made for, the one who died for you, and things are only going to get worse because He loves you. Things are going wrong, not to hurt you, not to destroy you, but to help you wake up to something far more serious that's going on in your soul. You've got a deadly heart condition, and you need to get to the doctor before it does serious damage. You need to get to Dr. Jesus. It stinks away from Him. The porch light is on, the door is open, and Jesus is coming down the road to welcome you home. And home? Home is where you belong.