For awhile now, I've become kind of nut when it comes to listening and subscribing to podcasts.
Over the last few months, I have been really enjoying the Saddleback Church Weekend Messages. The preaching series are awesome and I always am left thinking and relating Scripture to my life in new ways.
I recently listened to the first sermon (How We're Getting Through) Pastor Rick preached after the 16 week leave he and his wife took after the tragic suicide of their son Matthew in April 2013.
That sermon is a sermon for all seasons of life and for all people. While sharing their personal story of Matthew's lifelong battle with mental illness, they also offer hope, encouragement, and practical teaching for getting through the tragedies of life.
While I have not experienced the painful loss of a child, my loss is different. But the message of how to handle tragic pain in life still applies.
Suffering is something I believe modern, secular culture fears greatly, and runs away from. For many people today, suffering puts you head to head with painful realities like pain and death and evil. And when we cannot make sense of those realities it can often lead to despair and hopelessness.
But knowing that God is with us and loves us and walks with us amid the most awful circumstances of life can bring hope and healing to those hopeless places. It can change our heart to who we see things, even if the situation does not change itself.
This sermon has really encouraged me lately. I am reminded once again that God is always good, and when life feels or looks broken that He always brings restoration.
Kay says, "hope may not look the way I thought it would, but hope is alive in me because of what I know." What she knows it what I know and remind myself of constantly (some days more than others): that God is good even when life looks the total opposite of that. We are never forgotten or abandoned.
I really encourage you to watch or listen to this sermon. Hold onto it for those moments when your hope feels empty or share with someone in your life who is walking through a difficult time.