*** This is an excerpt of a sermon I gave around Christmas time. Please forgive any poetic formatting errors. Hope you enjoy! ***
Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace
We all have questions, questions that need answers.
Before we pray, before we turn to God and say ‘God let your answers and your kingdom come’,
we often look to the world first for answers, only to find that Jesus is an affront to worldly WISDOM.
And what wisdom does the world have to give us? Does it respond to our deepest cares with comfort, solutions and ways to move on?
Is the collective wisdom of the world a bountiful spring, like water to our thirsty soul? Or does it dry up before long, and is gone?
We’re often looking for answers to questions, even answers to questions that may go unasked,
And we often start with this question first: How can I live with my own PAST?
Hurt brings out this question among others mostly because of the people we’re around.
“How can I live with the regrets I have, the people I’ve hurt, the missed opportunities.
It seems like in my life at times, failure is everywhere to be found”.
We live and often die in our past, allowing it to shape us and define who we are.
Letting it in on every decision, every thought. Without it we never seem to venture far.
It seems to be always with us, a constant companion even though OUR past, IS past.
Its effects can be felt, consequences relived, the hurts unhealed.
Strangely our past doesn’t die…in fact it stays with us and lasts.
Oddly, we hold onto it. We revive old wounds, sometimes because it’s all we know,
Until into the future, or even the present, we become unable to go.
To our PAST the world’s wisdom speaks – put it behind you, what’s done is done.
Live for the now, look to the future, and if those don’t work, simply have fun.
After all, life is too short for regrets, and it can be too painful to look back,
Press on it’s a new day, with some effort and hard work there’s nothing you’ll lack.
Or perhaps there’s another question that’s been hiding in plain sight. So obvious, that until now we haven’t been able to see.
It’s simple enough to ask but harder to answer – How can I FORGIVE those who have hurt ME?
This type of question is loaded with hurt, and bitterness, and emotion
Forgiveness couldn’t be farther away when we’re hurt, in fact it seems like a ridiculous notion.
A hurt makes a wound, and a wound takes time to heal,
But how we react to that wound says more about us, more than we’d probably like to reveal.
Our hurts are the places where, if we could choose, we’d never visit,
But somehow we end up there, and ask ‘this isn’t all there is to life – just pain – is it?’
What’s worse, is that those who love us the most, tend to hurt us the best,
Causing our hearts to shrink away from them, where they once skipped in our chest.
And if the hurt runs too deep, we may run far away from you,
After all, to be hurt by another, takes not one person, but two.
To FORGIVENESS the world’s wisdom speaks – hurt them back if you can, it will make up for the pain
It doesn’t matter if they’re friends, co-workers, or the same blood runs through your veins.
Discard them, don’t speak to them, just move on because they’ll never change,
It’s too hard to forgive, and if you try to, you may just get disappointment in exchange.
Now the last question is the most shadowy of all, the one we tremble at and speak of only beneath our breath,
Since we fear and at the same time are desperate to know – How can I face my own DEATH?
It is no easy thing to talk about – death – especially during this season. It’s supposed to be a time of joy and wonder, a time where our spirits are at their highest and loudly we sing,
But we can’t just pretend that when we look around, with loved ones missing, and the world in chaos, that death has lost any of it’s familiar… wretched…depressing… sting.
To most, death is far away, something to be thought about at the appropriate time,
Until suddenly Death’s bell tolls, and we hear our name within it’s chime.
Death is always lurking, always robbing, always ready to take,
Death plays no favorites, or cares for dreams. Life is his to break.
However we live our life in the world – whether poor or rich, humble or seeking fame
At the end of it all, six feet of earth will render us all the same.
To DEATH the world’s wisdom speaks – this is all there is get used to it, when you die you’re dead.
If you believe that you’ll be with God, and there will be no more pain and sorrow, friend you’ve been misled.
Only when we accept as true that all we see and all we do are the only things that are real,
Will we accept that there is no king or savior, or child to which every knee should kneel.
So does the world’s wisdom really speak? Or is it strangely silent and empty in the answers that it gives?
For all it’s talk and all it’s knowledge the world knows not wisdom in any time in which it lives.
The world is poor in terms of wisdom, though it is rich in it’s answers, answers it is all to eager to impart.
But the world really is empty, it only has scars to bare and wounds to show, and thorns to prick. It does not satisfy the wisdom we seek in our heart.
There is only one who fills our hearts with gladness, our life with true wisdom, only one to whom we are surely looking for,
If you remember, to us a child is born and He is called wonderful counselor, and He brings with Him the blessings of God – true Wisdom and so much more.