City Life Church, Cambridge started 24 years ago with a vision, passion and boldness to do something risky. It's been a blast, and like everything worthwhile, it's been difficult as well as joyous. Still, we see God has brought our time to an end. As of June 10th CLC Cambridge will disperse, sending our final number out to change the world--the mission God gave us right from the very start. Thank you to everyone who's joined the amazing adventure! There is so much to be grateful for. We still identify as family and we remain friends as we enjoy finding out what God has for us all next. --Kevin, Tom, Lyn & Tim
His Good News about Pain
How did you learn to respond to pain? Do you run away from it, do you suffer through it (kicking & screaming and complaining)? I will never forget how I felt when my toddler walked out of the ball-pool play area crying in pain. He had a bite mark on his skin! I was so angry and felt sorry that he’d suffered this pain. What an injustice! Unbelievable! Or was it? How does Father parent us through pain?
Pain is part of life but our Father loves us and wants to show us His Good News–through the pain that we find in our lives.
He Has Been There: Empathy with image of Jesus (lego)
our God knows what it is like to suffer, He knew pain and temptation to take the easy way out.
“He suffered, but He did not threaten anyone” 1 Peter 2
“The prophets said the Messiah must suffer these things before He begins His time of glory.” Luke 24
“if you suffer for doing good and you are patient, this pleases God. This is what you were chosen to do. Christ gave you an example to follow. He suffered for you. So you should do the same as He did.”
“My God, my God, why have You left me alone?” Psalm 22:1 (with cross background)
Comfort, He wants to help (image of Calvin & Hobbes hugging)
“refuge, always there” Psalm 46:1
“a safe hiding place, a granite safe house” Joel 3:16
(story of letting God “in” and finding comfort regarding temptation).
Often our selfishness is hidden from us, but once in a while we get glimpses in it. I saw mine and felt sorry for myself. It seemed like something that I’d be fighting with forever. I felt discouraged and wondered how God would respond if I came to Him with my mess and my pain. The way my pain came out of me was in the words, “it’s not fair!” I imagined Him wagging His finger at me from his place of righteousness and purity, rightfully putting me in my place for feeling sorry for myself. But I decided to go to God right then and talk to Him right there–just where I was at. Jesus responded exactly the opposite as how I expected. He sad, “I know” because He did know every temptation (though He never acted selfishly). I was overcome with a great feeling of peace and encouragement by His response to me letting Him in to my pain. He showed me something fantastic about Himself that I will remember for a very long time.
Life, Pain is normal (image of grapes and stem (like vine)
“a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.”
Story of misguided member of God’s family praying against pain of loss of a family member who died. Although he meant well, when this brother in Christ prayed for healing in this regard I knew it wasn’t that see needed enough faith or to “just believe” and be miraculously instantly healed. God heals us of the loss of a close family member through time.
Impact, Pain is worthwhile (garden shears image)
He prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more perspective
Story of Lucy being in pain of Dan moving away. She had to go against what felt natural to allow help into her pain. It was her decision to let someone in and she benefited from relief from some of the pain. She could have carried it longer on her own, but being connected is how Father has designed us to get relief from our pain.
God created us for more than just an easy life. He is strong and mature enough to allow us to experience some pain cause He’s more interested in us realising our potential than escaping pain. He wants us to mature and grow more than He wants us to be pain free. He wants us to realise our purpose in life, even if that means some scratches and bruises and bumps!
Perspective, Pain won’t last
“Weeping may go on all night, but in the morning there is joy” Psalm 30
“your weeping shall suddenly be turned to wonderful joy” (it will pass)
“When you see me again. It will be the same joy as that of a woman in labour when her child is born—her anguish gives place to rapturous joy and the pain is forgotten. You have sorrow now, but I will see you again and then you will rejoice; and
no one can rob you of that joy.” John 16
There’s a biblical pattern that trials and troubles and pain comes with life, but they pass. These three verses above are just a few examples of this, which can be found all through the Bible. Take heart that your pain is temporary and that God’s goodness is permanent. He wants to comfort you and help you to see that.
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, sadness, crying, or pain. All the old ways are gone.” -Revelation
So, there’s a part of us that cries out, “It’s not fair” about pain. And we’re right. It’s not the best and it’s not the paradise that God intended for us. But the effects of sin and the fall will be reversed when Jesus returns and as Jesus says in Revelation, there will be no more pain!
Conclusion: He knows your pain, He wants to help, pain is normal, pain is worth it, pain won’t last.
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Romans 8:18