“IN THIS WORLD,” JESUS SAID,
“YOU WILL HAVE TROUBLE.”
BUT WHEN THE SKY OPENS UP,
AND TROUBLE COMES POURING DOWN,
OUR SPIRITS CAN BECOME WOUNDED.
WHEN WE ADOPTED OUR DAUGHTER ANNIE, OUR ELEVEN YEAR OLD DAUGHTER SALLY WAS EXCITED AT FIRST. SHE HAD LONGED FOR A SISTER.
But then Sally said, “I felt like all the attention shifted from me to her.”
She slipped into a deep depression. Her cheerful spirit disappeared. Her weight dropped. Her nights were sleepless as she wept into her pillow. I couldn’t understand for we were trying so hard to shower love on Sally as well as Anne, and we loved her so.
I said to Steve,
“I don’t understand why she can’t just snap out of it!”
Steve said, “Would you tell a person who has the flu to ‘just snap out of it?'”
He sat by her bed, night after night, stroking her hair, praying for God to heal her.
But I was behaving like the counselor in this skit:
Try as we might, we can’t just stop it.
We are like a person in quicksand.
The more we struggle the more we sink.
We need help from outside.
Friends, physicians, and counselors can help if they are wise.
But the real POWER from outside comes from God, from His Gospel, His LIFELINE.
God is near to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
The solution for a crushed spirit, as Tim Keller says, in this week’s free message, “is complicated,” for we are physical, emotional, and spiritual beings. Sally needed medical help in order to sleep so that her physical body could recover; she needed the emotional help of the love of her family; and she needed spiritual help to “get rid of the yuk in her heart.” We got her good medical help, we enveloped her with love, and we prayed. And God did what we could not. One night when we went as a family to a concert, the singer closed with: “If you have yuk in your heart you cannot get rid of, come to Jesus, and ask Him to deliver you, for He is the only One who can help you.” Sally practically ran forward. She says that was a turning point in her life, to see that God could deliver her from what she could not deliver herself. Sally and Annie have been so close ever since. This week we are all together at my home, including their four little girls.
I keep thinking of Psalm 133: “How good and how pleasant it is when brethren dwell together in unity.” Wounded spirits and wounded families and wounded churches need the Power of the Gospel, the Pearl of Great Price, to heal. Nothing is more important than that.
1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
Monday – Wednesday Bible Study
Prepare your heart with this:
2. Read Proverbs 12 – 14 in one sitting, asking the Lord to quicken you, to give you a passage you need right now. Share what you find.
3. Healing a Wounded Spirit
(The following proverbs Tim Keller addresses in this week’s free sermon.)
A. Proverbs 12:25
1) What weighs a man down and what lifts him up?
2) Why do we need a word “outside of ourselves?” What good Word does the Gospel give you?
Sally and I watched (again) one of the Bridget Jones Movies — and laughed. In one scene she is reading a self-improvement book that says it doesn’t matter what others think. All that matters is what we think about ourselves. She says, “Wait — that can’t be right!” She reminded me of a beautiful new young woman named Amy in our study who said that her thoughts toward herself were hateful, for if she wasn’t doing things perfectly, she condemned herself. But the Gospel is showing her how loved, how beautiful she is.
B. Proverbs 13:12
1) What makes the heart sick? Give an example.
2) It is understandable that a dream deferred (marriage, motherhood, success, health) brings sadness, and God empathizes. But we have something more precious than any of those things. What does Colossians 3:1-2 tell us to do?
3) My favorite line in the above “Come Ye Disconsolate” is “Earth hath no sorrow heaven cannot heal.”
What deep earthly sorrow is yours that heaven will heal?
C. Proverbs 14:13
1) What is true of both laughter and and joy? Why, given our fallen world, is this true?
2) How will the Lord reverse earthly sorrow — and how has the gospel made this possible?
D. Proverbs 17:22: How does a wounded spirit affect our physical health?
E. Proverbs 28:1 How does a wounded spirit make us unreasonably fearful?
When I met Amy, she frightened me, for she seemed so severely unhappy and negative. This year she started coming to our church and also to our evangelistic women’s study. The gospel is finally becoming clear to her and I am absolutely amazed at the night and day difference in her. All the passion that was negative has flipped to being positive. She smiles with deep dimples, laughs, and encourages others. Yes, she credits good medical help, counseling, and yet she says, nothing made the difference like what she is getting from this fellowship and her understanding of the gospel. She is a ballerina and danced to a praise song for us recently with passion. It is like a light has turned on in her darkness. This is a picture from our new church plant directory!
Indeed, the gospel is the pearl of great price. In Matthew, Jesus uses the phrase “Kingdom of Heaven” for the gospel. R. C. Sproul explains:
If we were to look for one single theme that seems to be the most central and most important theme of the entire gospel of Matthew, it would be the theme of the coming of the kingdom. We see in the first instance that the term gospel refers to the gospel of the kingdom — the good news of the announcement of the breakthrough of the kingdom of God. In Matthew’s case, he uses the phrase “kingdom of heaven” rather than the terminology “kingdom of God.” He does this not because he has a different view of the meaning or content of the kingdom of God; rather, out of sensitivity to his Jewish readers, he makes common use of what is called periphrasis, a certain type of circumlocution to avoid mentioning the sacred name of God. So for Matthew, the doctrine of the kingdom of heaven is the same kingdom that the other writers speak of as the kingdom of God.
4. In the following parable, how does Jesus show us the worth of the gospel? (Matthew 14:4-5)
Thursday-Friday Sermon: The Wounded Spirit
5. Share your notes and comments
6. What is your take-a-way and why?