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Feeling Mended When You’re Feeling Torn

—Home Church Sermon—

“I… would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord… I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body… for your progress and joy in the faith. -2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23-25 There are many people who feel like they need a vacation from all the craziness that is happening during this time of the pandemic. How about you? “Vacation” is synonymous with words like: Rest Relief Ease Peace Change of pace Pleasure Fun Freedom The word “Vacate [where we get the word “Vacation”] means “to leave” a place previously occupied. This is what Paul is talking about in the verses above. He would prefer to leave the “place that he is currently occupying”. [on earth, with all of its problems] He wants to go to heaven. “I… would prefer [I want] to be away [Vacate] from the body and at home with the Lord [He is saying that he wants to be in heaven] Before I breakdown the meaning of this verse, keep in mind that we all have been “Torn apart” by people and things that have happened in life. Where something is torn, there needs to be mending. That’s why I’ve entitled today’s message: Feeling Mended when you’re Feeling Torn We can experience both at the same time as Christians. What Paul means: “I am torn between the two: [I’m split, divided, ripped apart, severed, separated] I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; [People use this word “better” about heaven don’t they?] “He/she is in a “better place”. but it is more necessary [Better] for you that I remain in the body… [Stay alive] for your progress and joy in the faith.” -2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23-25 Progress Joy Faith Ultimately, God wants Faith to grow. That is the Progress that God is interested in. Paul was not torn between heaven and earth because of what earth had to offer that he would miss. For he once had it all. Before becoming a Christian, he was a rising star in Judaism. He was very smart and was taught by the best teachers. Acts 22:3 says that he was taught by Gamaliel, a well-respected lawyer/teacher in the Jewish government. He was an up and coming star. When he was converted, he gave all of that up and willingly became a servant of others and for their “progress and joy in the faith.” He didn’t want to go to heaven because he was a failure on earth and wanted to escape it. His life in Christ was far better than his life BC (Before Christ) There was no pandemic that he wanted or needed a vacation from. Things in the world were not crazy. Though his life was hard as a persecuted Christian, but he endured it all for the sake of his Christian witness and experienced what he called; “The peace of God, which transcends all understanding” [That he said would] “guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 4:7 But still, it seems that more than vacating the persecution, he just wanted to be with Jesus. And he knew that God thought that it was more necessary for others that he stayed and continued to represent Jesus. God wants all of us to experience the progress and joy in the faith that Paul wrote about. Progress is being Jesus to others in all that we are called to do in life. Joy is an emotion that we get by anticipating, and expectating something awesome and wonderful that God will accomplish through whatever our situation. Joy is different than happiness. Ie. You are happy at the graduation, but you have joy in the event of graduation because of the anticipation of the future career of the person. Joy is the deep happiness and peace that you feel as you anticipate and look forward to seeing the wonderful thing that God is working in a situation. That is happy joy. It is helpful; for me to think about joy in two ways. There is; Happy-JOY. [Where the two words can be thought of as synonyms] The other joy is; Knowing-that-God-is-up-to-something- wonderful-in-this-tough-situation -JOY I always prefer the “Happy-JOY”. It’s easy. It takes no work. It is passive. It just comes naturally. But the other JOY. Is not easy. It takes work. It is not passive, but rather is active. I have to do something. I have to find the good, or the potential good that God will eventually bring out. I have to be trusting and patient. I by nature do not want to have to do that. It does not come naturally. It is hard to find JOY in tough situations. Life is hard enough. I don’t want to have to work that hard. Especially when we don’t seem to see God working. Yet we are supposed to exercise faith in believing that, God-is-up-to-something-wonderful- in-this-tough-situation. But life is filled with hard things. Life is filled with sad things. We are torn by a great deal of things in life. We are surrounded by “tears” and “tears”. Two different words spelled the same way. Where there are “tears” (crying), there are also “tears” (rips, wounds, splits) and visa-versa. Wherever “Tears” are present, there needs to be “Mending”. God promises to deliver that “Mending”. David wrote; Weeping [Tears, sadness, sobbing, pain, etc] may stay for the night, [The dark season and down times of your life] but rejoicing [This is the “Happy-JOY”. The feeling of happiness. But that “feeling” of happiness will be delayed. It will come later. That’s what “in the morning” means] comes in the morning. [Later] -Psalm 30:5 God knows your tears and David wrote about God collecting them in Psalm 56. The Philistines had captured David in Gath when he wrote this Psalm. As a prisoner of war, he had reason to be afraid, to cry and to be sorrowful. He knew that his struggles were recorded in God’s book so that God would always remember them. “You have kept count of my tossings [Misery]; put my tears in your bottle.”[ So that God would not forget David, his tears or any of his struggles of life]  -Psalm 56:8 ESV How many things have caused you misery and tears? David is expressing his trust that God would remember his sorrow and tears and never forget about him. Through his difficulties, David was confident that God was on his side. “My enemies will turn back when I call for help.     By this I will know that God is for me. In God I trust and am not afraid. What can man do to me?” -Psalm 56:9,11 Our tears are not meaningless. God knows each of us intimately, and every one of our tears has meaning to Him. He remembers our sorrow as if He kept each tear in a bottle. In the end, He will share His Happy-JOY” with us in heaven when; “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” -Revelation 21:4 Like Paul wrote about, there are a lot of things in life that can make us feel torn aren’t there? The more important the thing, the more we may feel torn. Big things tear us apart more than small things. Example: A lesser important thing like whether to order a hot fudge sundae or a banana split won’t usually rock our world. But the more important things like health, relationships, or God’s direction in life do rise to a level that can cause great tension and perhaps many tears. Sometimes they can even feel like they are tearing us apart. Some of these situations require us to make decisions, some don’t. Whether they do or not, our response to the feeling of being torn is the same. Trust that God is doing good things in you, and through you. We can learn a lot from what Paul wrote. His focus was on the benefit and value that he could add to others. This helped him deal with the feelings of being torn between wanting to go to heaven, and having to stick around to do ministry. He saw what was ‘necessary.’ Oh, he did want to go to heaven, but he said; ‘it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body… for your progress and joy in the faith.” Those are the words he wrote to the people in the city of Philippi. It may have ‘seemed’ like he wanted to be with Jesus more than anything else in his life. However, what he wanted “Even more”, was to ‘want what Jesus wanted.’ This reminds me of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. “Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” -Matthew 26:39 When things tear you apart, look to what Jesus says the most important thing is (the progress of your faith and the faith of others). That perspective gave Paul the patience and comfort to continue doing what he was doing even though he said. “I… would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord… I am torn between the two…” It’s O.K. to feel torn. We live in a torn world. In fact, until we get to heaven, we will be torn between a great many things. When you feel torn, whether decisions need to be made or not, believe that your life has meaning and that God will bless others through you in a very special and valuable way. In the end, thanks to Jesus, you will be in heaven with nothing to tear you apart ever again. That is the, ‘far better’ that Paul reminds us of.  That is the strength to go on whenever and however you may be feeling torn apart. That is the key to; Feeling Mended when you’re Feeling Torn Prayer: We thank you Lord that you know all about us. You know our sadness. You know our tears and our sadness. You also know our tears, the wounds that tear us apart. You know all about our fears and understand the things that tear us apart. Strengthen us to trust that you can do great things through us for the sake of others. Give us the heart of Jesus who totally trusted in his Father in heaven, died on the cross for us, forgave us, and lives that we might have live a “Mended” life while we are torn between many hard things in life. In Jesus’ name. Amen! Pastor Dave

Word of Life Church 17525 W. Bell Rd. Surprise, AZ 85374

Word Of Life
   Church & preSchool

623-544-3000

wolchurch@wordoflifeaz.org

17525 W Bell Road

Surprise, AZ 85374

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