In touch with a World of hurt.
“Forget what hurt you in the past, but never forget what it taught you.”
– Shannon L. Adler
Hurt = Pain, disappointment, sickness, tired & weary.
“Never let an earthly circumstance disable you spiritually”
James 5:13-18 (NIV) – 13Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. 14Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 16Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. 17Elijah was a man just like us*. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.
*Elijah was a man just like us – He made the headlines in the bible – you make the headlines in your home, church or work, etc.
Written more than 2000 years ago James’s letter is as relevant to us in this 21st Century. (It’s as though he wrote it yesterday.)
Just as the early church was scattered, we just like them live in a world of hurt.
Hearts are hurting… Homes are hurting…. Many individuals and families need healing.
James identified three primary groups of people who need hope and healing.
#1 People with Pressure
#2 People with Pleasure
#3 People with Pain
#1 People with Pressure. (trouble or hardship)
James asked “Is any among you suffering?” I’m sure the response was thunderous.
Right now in this church are people who are dealing with pressure ® Physical, Emotional or Spiritual.
These problems can rob us of Joy in life. (If we don’t focus on the Joy giver.)
James then offers this wise counsel ® His advice was that when we are suffering “WE SHOULD PRAY.”
There is power in prayer – Prayer feeds the soul ® Hebrews 4:12 (NIV) - For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
All too often prayer is our last resort, not our First!
We do all sorts of things to relieve our pressure – when all else fails; we sigh and say “Well there’s nothing left to do but pray.”
I’ve seen people fall apart emotionally living with intense pressure
Some blame their hard times on others
Some blame God.
But I have also seen believers take their burdens to God, and found Peace that is beyond understanding.
Philippians 4:6-7 (Ampl) - 6 Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. 7 And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].
God invites us to Himself ® Psalms 50:15 (Ampl) - “And call upon me* in the day of trouble; I will deliver you and you will honor me.”
*Call upon me = prayer
Peter reminds us ® 1 Peter 3:12 (NIV) – “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
#2 Next James turns our attention from people of pressure to people with pleasure.
James 5:13b (NIV) - Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise.
A quick clarification: Praise and thanksgiving are different. We thank God for what He does and we Praise Him for who He is regardless of our circumstances. (When life’s good I praise and when it’s bad.)
One thing that should be an outstanding feature of a Christian is Joy!
Paul reminds us ® Romans 14:17 (NIV) - For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
#3 James had yet another word of encouragement for people with pain.
James 5:14-15 (NIV) - 14Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.
Do you realize these are the only instructions in scripture, concerning how we should pray for the sick, those in pain?
When Jesus asked “Is anyone among you sick” (verse 13)
The precise Greek word here means: “without strength” or “to be weak”
Most of us assume that James was referring only to Physical sickness.
In verse 14 “The prayer of faith will save the sick.”
Here he used a different word for sick, a word that means: “To grow weary”
James was writing to those who had “grown weary” from struggles of life.
Those who wanted to crack under the pressure of life – Mentally & Emotionally
1 Thessalonians 5:14 (LB) - Dear brothers, warn those who are lazy*, comfort those who are frightened, take tender care of those who are weak, and be patient with everyone.
*Lazy – Did you know; you get lazy Christians!
Whether you have grown weary or are very sick ® Medicine alone doesn’t heal
® Doctors alone don’t heal
® Proper diet alone doesn’t heal
GOD HEALS – His very name is Jehovah Rapha “The God who heals”
No matter whether you’re under pressure or all is going well and you’re experiencing pleasure or you’re in pain
May you always choose to put your trust in the ONE who has your best interest at heart.