Friday, August 16, 2002
Ten suitcases and two trunks. Yes, that's what our daughter took to college with her that first year. Using some of my frequent flyer free tickets, we all flew to Chicago to take her to college. And her two brothers - oh, they were just thrilled to help move their sister's whole life. But something very strange happened when we landed at Chicago's O'Hare Airport. They closed the airport. Record-breaking rain had flooded the airport approaches so no one could come or go, including flight crews or people picking up passengers. And as we joined thousands of other passengers trying to find some food, a phone, a room, we had a distinct disadvantage. Mount Luggage! It was very hard to go anywhere with all that baggage!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Trapped By The Baggage."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from 1 Samuel 10. Israel has just discovered God's choice to be the first king they have ever had - this shy but impressive young man named Saul. Problem: according to 1 Samuel 10:21, "when they looked for him, he was not to be found. So they inquired further of the Lord, 'Has the man come here yet?' And the Lord said, 'Yes, he has hidden himself among the baggage.'"
Here, God has great plans for Saul, but he's not there for them because he's hiding in all this baggage. Over the years, many of God's children have missed God's plan because they were buried in their baggage. Like us that chaotic day at the airport, a lot of us can't move ahead because we've got all this baggage to deal with.
Several years ago, a respected author wrote a book describing Americans as "A Nation of Victims." And, frankly, "victim" may be a word that describes how you've felt about much of your life. There's been a lot of pain, dysfunction, divorce, addiction, neglect, or abuse. Maybe abandonment, bad relationships, lost love - there's a long list of pain factors in our lives these days that can leave some very deep scars. I have no idea of the pain you've experienced, but I know that any of life's monsters can leave you with self-doubt, bitterness, anger, a sense of worthlessness, or even despair.
You probably had little or no choice about experiencing the pain. But you can decide whether or not you're going to let yourself be defined by the pain, whether you're going to live the rest of your life, as it were, "hiding in the baggage." As long as Saul stayed under that baggage, he couldn't experience the powerful future God had for him. And neither can you.
If you belong to Jesus Christ, then you don't ever have to identify yourself as "victim" again. You are now a son or daughter of the Most High God! You have royal identity, royal worth. No one on earth gave you your worth, and no one on earth can take it away. It's time to bring all the baggage of your past to the cross of Jesus, where He became the ultimate Victim, absorbing all the guilt and shame of all our sin. And let the healing begin there.
Even though we hate the hurt of the past, we're strangely attached to it. It's been part of who we are for so long. But the Lord wants to miraculously recycle that pain into compassion for other hurting people, to turn you from your self-focus to focusing on people who need you. Instead of living to make it through, Jesus wants you to live to make a difference!
Baggage has limited you long enough. It's your past. Don't carry it into one more day. You will never go anywhere until you let go of your baggage.