June 30, 2023

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Okay, we're going to do a little experiment right now. If you're near something printed - and you're not driving - let's say a book, a newspaper, a magazine - would you just hold it in front of your eyes? Okay, now wait, if you're driving, remember you're excused from this.

But otherwise, you got that in front of your eyes. Okay? Now, hold it a foot or so from your eyes. Now, depending on what kind of shape your eyesight is in, it should be fairly clear what it says. Now, would you hold that printed piece so it's touching the end of your nose? I know you're feeling really stupid now. Blame it on me. Now, hopefully that's not a foot from your eyes. Okay. You got it up there? Well, how's the print look now? Blurry? Sort of running together? Unfocused? Things always look that way when you're too close.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Nearsightedness of Pain."

You're in a pressure situation right now, let's say, maybe a depressing situation, and you've been in it for a while. You think about it a lot, and maybe you spend a lot of time trying to analyze it, and you re-analyze it, and you think of possibilities, and you plan various responses. You remember that book against your nose thing? You can get so close that you can lose your perspective. In order to see that situation clearly, you need some distance. Well, now, how do you get some distance from a situation that you're totally immersed in?

Our word for today from the Word of God, Genesis 40, it tells a story of Joseph being in prison. He's in a bad situation. He's there and comes upon two former servants of the king, who've had dreams. Joseph has the gift of interrupting dreams. And it says in verse 6, "When Joseph came to them the next morning, he saw that they were dejected. So, he asked Pharaoh's officials who were in custody with them in his master's house, 'Why are your faces so sad today?"'

Now, notice. Look, Joseph's life appears to be falling apart. Everything that looked like it was going his way have now collapsed. He's lost his job, he's in prison. But he's still unsinkable. How's he doing this? Well, he took responsibility and he's looking for people who need him. He says, "I see some people who are down today. 'Can I help you?' I see some people who need me here."

I talked not too long ago to a man whose wife had left him quite a while ago. She refuses to divorce him; she refuses to reconcile. And he's thought about that day and night for four years. Well, I listened, and then I gave him some unexpected advice. I said, "Mark, you need to get a place where you can serve the Lord and help some people. This has so occupied you, and understandably so. You haven't had time to serve. Find some boys you can work with at church, or something you can do with the teenagers at church, or a Bible study you can lead, or volunteer for something. Because as you serve, you'll be able to see this situation better, and you'll know what God wants." Mark said, "You know you're right. I've not served the Lord for a while because I've been so involved in this. I need to get busy for others and get some distance."

Well, that's what Joseph did. That's what you need to do. You see, pain tends to make us very self-focused and self-absorbed. Our eyes start to cross, and the situation starts to blur, and we start thinking in circles. Serving restores your perspective. Now, when you feel the least like doing it, is probably when you most need to do it, to get your perspective back.

Maybe your problem is too close to the end of your nose, and it's getting blurrier all the time. Listen, take a step back, think about others. You'll see it better.



Hutchcraft Ministries
P.O. Box 400
Harrison, AR 72602-0400

(870) 741-3300
(877) 741-1200 (toll-free)
(870) 741-3400 (fax)


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