This last Sunday for Advent, I preached on the topic of pain. This may seem like a strange topic for a Christmas sermon. However, Jesus came into the world to do something about the problem of sin and of sins effects - one of which is pain. Pain is one of the primary things that keeps us from walking in what Christ wants for us (John 15:11). Joy is a feeling of great pleasure or happiness. Or as we've learned, joy is simply when someone is glad to be with you; excited that you are there.
Christ is the most joyous, creative person ever to exist. As Dallas Willard says in Divine Conspiracy, "He does not allow us to continue thinking of our Father who fills and overflows space as a morose and miserable monarch, a frustrated and petty parent, or a policeman on the prowl."
Jesus came for our joy and He told His disciples "in this world you will have many trials." In our fallen world, pain is unavoidable and trauma is common. Trauma is the absence of good or the presence of bad. Trauma is any place where our pain is greater than our joy. Surprisingly, pain is a gift because it shows us that there is something wrong and shows us where we are in need of salvation.
It's in those places God wants us to have courage and the strength to face pain so that we might experience the very thing Advent is about! His light piercing darkness, His kingdom invading earth and His grace overwhelming our sin.
So this is all well and good (and hopefully very theologically sound), but what do we do? Well, I am glad you asked. The Biblical cure to pain is comfort (Isaiah 40:1; Matthew 5:4; Romans 12:15; 2 Corinthians 1:3-6). God, the Father of all mercy and God of all comfort, actually longs to comfort us!
Include in this blog are two relational exercises. One is an exercise that you can use to talk with God because the whole point of the Bible is to have a relationship with its author! The other is so that you can learn to both give and receive comfort from another person.
Now for those who have read this far I might have just lost you. You may be thinking "I am fine" or "I don't need comfort" or simply "this is weird." It isn't something we were taught as kids, but it is how God intends to care for us... so that we may have His eternal, everlasting, overwhelming joy! You have to keep in mind the point! In order to "prepare Him room" (in our hearts), something must be taken out.
Church, it's time for the pain we carry to be taken out in order that His joy may fill us.
Let every heart prepare Him room!
Make room for His joy this Christmas season.
Love you guys,