This week’s message, in the series Healing Life’s Hurts was delivered by City Central Elder Dennis Gibson. We learned from the life and writings of Solomon how to deal with pain in both selfish and godly ways. Dennis led us to discover the accomplishments and anguish of this king of Israel who, by many accounts, was probably the wealthiest, most powerful rulers in the history of the world. Solomon’s heart is revealed in his writing in the book of Ecclesiastes, which reads like a personal journal, of sorts. His candor in Ecc. 2:4-10 is a powerful confession of an ambitious, driven man, who tried to find meaning through striving to satisfy his own desires. In the end, Solomon – son of King David – confesses that all of his toil was meaningless apart from fearing God and obeying His commands.
Dennis gave us a helpful, biblical tool to use when addressing the hurt we experience in life:
God’s promise is true peace and freedom when faced with the hurt and pain of our lives.
Questions for Discussion and Reflection
- “Will you give me thanks?” That’s the question God asks of us in the midst of pain and difficulty. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17 exhorts us, “Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances….” When was there a time where you found it tough to thank God?
- Romans 8:28 contains God’s promise for all believers, “…God causes all things to work together for the good of those who know Him and are called….” Dennis shared that there were many times he tried to make good out of bad under his own power until he came to a point of desperation and cried out, “God, I can’t do this myself anymore!” God’s response to him was, “You’re finally getting it!” What’s your reaction to the declaration, “Pain is not the enemy!” How does pain get our attention and focus us more on calling out to, and trusting in, God? In contrast, what are some ways that people, even Christians, try to cope with the pain in their lives?
- As you reflect on Solomon’s candid sharing in Ecclesiastes 2:4-10, consider how he summed up his striving in verse 4:11. What do you suppose he learned to arrive at his final conclusion in verse 12:13, “Fear God and keep his commandments, for that is everyone’s duty.” What is your response to Solomon’s conclusion? In Psalm 139:33-34 we are given the way to reach out to God, “Search me, O God, and know my heart…see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.” How will you find the peace God promises when you encounter pain, whether past, present or future?