Central Christian Church Message Podcast

We're In This Together | Through The Valley | Pastor Cal Jernigan

August 15, 2021 Central Christian Church of Arizona
Central Christian Church Message Podcast
We're In This Together | Through The Valley | Pastor Cal Jernigan
Chapters
Central Christian Church Message Podcast
We're In This Together | Through The Valley | Pastor Cal Jernigan
Aug 15, 2021
Central Christian Church of Arizona

Mental health is important. Why then is there a stigma about it in the Church? We wouldn’t shame someone for having a broken leg or a cold. Why then is there shame related to depression or anxiety? Do you feel alone and broken? God sees you. It is ok to not be ok. Join Pastor Cal Jernigan this weekend as he explores why it is important that we talk about mental health.

Support the show (https://www.centralaz.com/Give)

Show Notes Transcript

Mental health is important. Why then is there a stigma about it in the Church? We wouldn’t shame someone for having a broken leg or a cold. Why then is there shame related to depression or anxiety? Do you feel alone and broken? God sees you. It is ok to not be ok. Join Pastor Cal Jernigan this weekend as he explores why it is important that we talk about mental health.

Support the show (https://www.centralaz.com/Give)

Cooper. Um, when we moved back from Washington, went to central with a friend of his and he came home that day was like where I found our church.

[00:00:16] Oh, months later, my father passed away and I didn't really deal with the, the grief, um, very well. I was very overwhelmed by it and didn't really know how to like, overcome it and feel better. Um, the process of thinking about life changed for me, I was, um, kind of lost as much as I'd been a Christian throughout my life that I really wasn't pursuing my faith.

[00:00:46] I bought my first Bible and we were reading, um, Psalm 1 39. And it kind of said, God knows your, you know, how many days you have on earth. And, and it changed my perspective a lot. And I thought, huh. You got to look at life, every part of your life like that. When my son got baptized and he said, you know, God is working in us every day.

[00:01:08] And he is really doing amazing things, even if we don't see it, if you believe that everyday new wake up, you know, that there's so many blessings that are bestowed on you and God is there to just walk you through that cheery. So, um, yeah. And I'm glad that he's still working on me.

[00:01:35] Morning, everybody. And welcome. Welcome to you here. Welcome to you with whichever campus you're on. We are so glad you're with us. I also want to welcome our online community wherever you are in the world. Joyce, I know you are here. Florida and Bob, I know you are in Utah and you just represent a fraction of the people from kind of around the world now that are a part of us.

[00:01:54] So I want to say welcome to all of you and I am so appreciative of Jen who is willing to tell her story. Can I point out something just as we get going, that you have a story, you have a story and you know, your story. And God knows your story, but something happens inside of us that we can become ashamed of our story.

[00:02:14] We can, we can try to distance ourselves from our story. We can want nobody to know what's actually happening, but if you're alive, you have a story. God might be far more comfortable with your story. Then you are comfortable with your story. I want to talk about that over the next month. I want to let you know, actually six weeks.

[00:02:33] I want to say this to you though. It is interesting to me that as we're going to talk about this, I feel the need to forewarn you that this is going to get really, really personal and don't be afraid of it, but just be aware of it. All right. I want to take and just go beyond what Jen said. In her words I want to take to you.

[00:02:55] I want to take you to a Psalm 1 39. I want to read to you the texts that you actually saw on the screen. Let me just read verses one through four. It says, oh Lord, you have searched me. And you know me, you know, when I sit and when I rise, you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down.

[00:03:16] And you are familiar with all my ways before a word is on my tongue. You know what completely. He is he, God knows you and you know you, but so many of us, we can listen to what God says about us, but we feel what he says about his love for us. So we're gonna, we're gonna rust with this now. I do feel the need though.

[00:03:39] Again, I just did it to do it again to forewarn you. This gets personal and this is going to be a tough, a tough series for some people I have up here. Uh, a chemical that, um, for those of you who majored in chemistry, that you might recognize this formula, it's a C three H five in 3 0 9. It's a colorless odorless, kind of an oily substance.

[00:04:09] If you're really into this, this is the chemical structure of what this is. Now you go, I did horrible in chemistry. I don't have. I promise you while you might not recognize it, you'll recognize it. You, you you've heard of this from the time you were little, you you've heard of this. I just think it's a perfect illustration of what we're going to talk about in the days to come, because this is nitroglycerin.

[00:04:34] If you know anything about natural glycerin, you're probably wondering what am I doing with it on the stage? Let me explain. Okay, let me just explain, let me give you a little background. Nitroglycerin was invented by an Italian. In 1847, it, when it was created, it, uh, the, the strongest explosive that existed at the time was called black powder.

[00:04:56] And this magnified it, in fact, in magnified, it so much that, uh, a guy by the name of Alfred Nobel actually used this chemical to create what we know is dynamite, by the way his brother was killed with this chemical. Well, It's a bit ironic. I think for the, the guy that we award a peace prize in his name to be the guy that takes something like this and create the explosive, but very quickly, the possibilities of what you could do with this I'll be at mostly harmful existed.

[00:05:31] It was interesting because they discovered two things about this chemical that are really, really important to understand. Number one, it is highly explosive and number two, it is extremely volatile. Uh, let's just pray. I don't bump. All right. Uh, extremely volatile, highly explosive. In fact, it was shit.

[00:05:51] This goes back into the 1860s. It was shipped to, uh, San Francisco where the central railroad was using it to blast a tunnel that summit tunnel through the Sierra Nevadas except that never made it to this year in Nevada. It blew up in San Francisco, killing 15. And let me assure you. That's not really nitroglycerin people in the front row are going to not breathe.

[00:06:19] It it's not, but it is so indicative of what I think we want to talk about. Let me, let me explain. So nitroglycerin is highly explosive and it's volatile. The subject I want to talk about is highly explosive and it's vulnerable. Uh, it's. It's one of these things that when we talk about it, it can get really, really close to us.

[00:06:39] And so we're beginning a series that we're calling through the valley, and I need to say this, and this is very, very important. I will repeat this numerous times throughout the series. The subject we're going to talk about can be painful. I have no interest in exacerbating anybody's pain. I don't want to make it worse for anybody.

[00:06:57] If anything I say hurt you, please understand it was never my intent. I just understand that what we're talking about is so real and we are so using the word over and over vulnerable that, um, w w we become hypersensitive. So I have a band-aid on my finger. I'm sure can't even see it, but I have a band-aid on my finger.

[00:07:17] It's not a prop. I cut my finger. I cut the tip of my finger. And it's so unbelievably sensitive that. I can't believe what I, I can't even type without it hurting, but, but it's, it's, it's a temporary state that I find myself and it'll pass, I'll heal. I'll get better. But this is a picture to me of the difficulty, because see the nature of this being so personal, it can become explosive internally, right?

[00:07:48] Because he, there's a couple of things that we would say you just. You know, Hey, you have a mental health issue. God, God, and mental health issues do not go together. Things explode when you bring God into a mental health conversation as if something really, really bad. W we believe that God, in any form of mental health issue should be kept miles apart.

[00:08:10] And, and you can have one, you can have God, or you can have a mental health issue, but you can't have God and have a mental health issue. Or so they say, I need you to understand. I don't say. I think you can struggle with things and have God. And I want to be really, really clear about that. That doesn't mean you have a lack of God in your life because something is hurting inside you.

[00:08:35] I want to say this because of the ex the, the, the mental thought that, you know, you put God in any kind of mental health issue together. You're going to have a reaction. That's going to be really nice. Because of that, what we've learned to do in the church as we've become very dishonest with each other, we've become very disingenuous.

[00:08:53] So what we do is we go to church and we, we might've had the most horrendous fight with our wife or husband or kids on the way to church, but we know the game you play. When you get out of the car, you slap a smile on your face. And when somebody comes up and asks you, how you doing today? What's the answer.

[00:09:11] Good, fine. I'm fine. I'm fine. Everything's good. It's great. I'm doing great. And we've learned how to do this in an environment that I think is really something we should talk about. Um, it's as if we're ashamed to say, you know what, I'm not having. I had a very dark night. I I'm really struggling. I, I I'm, I'm worried.

[00:09:34] I I'm afraid I'm gonna lose my job, whatever your issue is that you're just going. And we're afraid to say that because there seems to be a stigma. That's attached to anything in internal that's going on because, because I don't want to be identified by that. And so we, we, we don't tell anyone what's going on inside, which is really bizarre.

[00:09:55] When you think about it's called church. If there was ever a place where people who are needy should congregate, it ought to be a church because he see the, the price of admission here is you gotta admit you're, you're kinda messed up. I don't have a hard time saying that because I'm kinda messed up. I'm a moral failure.

[00:10:17] I don't know if you know that, but you need to know that I am a sinner saved by the grace of God. I'm a moral mess up. Guess what? So are you, but why are we so afraid to own it? Why are we, why have we become so defensive about the truth about our lives? And these are the issues that I think we just got to wrestle with.

[00:10:38] If you came to church and you had any kind of a physical health. Whatever it was. Hey man, I've been down with the flu or I've been a man. He came in in crutches. I got cast on your leg. What happened now? You wouldn't believe it. You tell the story. If you twisted your ankle, you tell the story. I can just go on.

[00:10:57] If you've got a headache, you tell the story. What you wouldn't do is you wouldn't come to church and go what? CAS? I don't have a cast on what are you talking about? You wouldn't do that. You. You would never come to church and say, I have a headache. Well, I'll tell you why you, you need more God in your life.

[00:11:16] You know what? You have a cast on your leg because you're not walking with Jesus. That's obvious. You never do that to you treat people with so much more kindness and compassion. You know, another reason why we're so afraid to be honest, because unlike any physical health. Any kind of mental health issue.

[00:11:34] We're afraid of it being tagged on us for the rest of our life. See if you'd come in, you have the flu. I don't go, oh, you're the flu. You don't become the S the, the illness that the sickness doesn't define you. Oh. But you know, twisted ankle broken leg. Oh, you're the person with a broken leg will know that you buy that for the rest of your life.

[00:11:56] You don't do that because you understand these are seasons and my finger's going to heal. I'm going to be. But when it comes to anything inside, we feel like I can't tell you because I will, I'll be known as the depressed one. I'll be known as the anxious one. And we're afraid that that thing is going to stick.

[00:12:16] And again, I just want to say of all the places where you ought to be treated with kindness, it ought to be here. Don't you suppose that mental issues that we struggle with? I don't know, could be as debilitating as a physical illness, maybe more. I mean, I understand what a show called duty or diabetes, but what about, you know, depression or anxiety, or

[00:12:47] could it be possible that the stuff that's going on inside is far more debilitating than anything that would manifest itself on the outside? Just something I think we might want to think. You see, what I want to do in this series is I want to take away the stigma and I want to normalize the conversation where it's just, Hey, it's okay to talk about this.

[00:13:05] And I want to talk about this because I think it's much deeper than we are admitting maybe, or even aware of maybe a great preacher of the, of the 18 hundreds of British preacher by the name of Charles Spurgeon. He said something I think is so profound. He said this, the mind can descend far lower than the body.

[00:13:26] For in it, there are bottomless pits. The flesh can bear only a certain number of wounds and no more the soul can bleed in 10,000 ways and die over, over again. Each hour, according to the CDC, 50% of us will struggle with some sort of mental health issue throughout our lives time, or at least at a time in our lifetime, staying with the CDC.

[00:13:55] Their number back in 2019 was that one out of five. And they various, they said one out of five. So 20% others would say it's a 15 to 20% somewhere before 2000, 1915 to 20, according to Dr. Henry cloud, who said this at the leadership summit, he said, the number now is 40%. 40% of us are, or struggling with something internally as of 2021.

[00:14:24] And folks, I want to say at 40% of us are struggling with anything. It's a crisis. It's a crisis. Well, why are we struggling? Well, I don't know if you know this, but a tornado devastated our lives in the last two years. I don't know if you know that if you not familiar with the idea, I'd encourage you to go back to last week's message and just wrestle with the life we're now living together, a tornado has just decimated the environment that we live.

[00:14:49] They say that eight out of 10 of us admit, admit I'm facing far more stress in my life now than I did in 2000, 19 eight out of 10, which means two out of 10 or one of two things. You're if you're one of the two that's, I'm fine. You're either a liar or you're a real estate agent. You are one of those two because all the rest of us are going.

[00:15:11] It's crazy hard. Oh, it was also interesting as of the eight out of 10 half of them say that this stress is negatively affecting their behavior. What would you mean by that? The stress is causing them to do things that they don't want to be doing. They say like what, what, like yelling and screaming and breaking out, crying and having swings in my moods that I've never felt.

[00:15:42] Snapping, like I've never snapped. So when we talk about these mental health issues, what are we talking about? Let me suggest just a short list. So the list is longer, but let me just suggest a couple of things. How about anxiety, depression, fear, stress, shame. Those are five mental health issues. Can I make a confession to you?

[00:16:07] Let me read the list again. So anxiety, depression, fear, stress, and shame. Can I just admit to you, I have experienced all those emotions. Can I just say that? Can I tell you I've experienced all of those in the last two years? Does it make me less of a person to tell you that now please, he's understanding.

[00:16:28] I'm not saying I'm not saying I have suffered with these things as deeply as some of you have. I'm not saying that I don't. I can't say that, but I can tell you the last two years of this tornado, it's been really hard and it doesn't make me less of anything to be able to tell you it's been really, really hard.

[00:16:51] And by the way, um, there's, there's an effect when you're struggling with any of this stuff. I alluded to this last week. Let me just go a little further, right?

[00:17:07] It tends to drive you when you're feeling anxiety, depress, you know, shame, fear, any of those in, into isolation, you tend to separate yourself and that tends to drive you to deeper levels of loneliness, which can be incredibly hurtful. Once you're there, you can enter into avenues of self harm, all kinds of avenues.

[00:17:33] We know that when you're isolated and lonely, it also can increase your odds of addiction and addictive behavior. And it's just a hop, skip, and a jump from suicide or suicide ideation, which is when you're just having compulsive thoughts about. So when we have all this going on, because of the culture we're living in, shouldn't we just stop and talk about.

[00:18:02] But by the way, I think you need to understand something and this is important. It's easy when there's a problem to say, yeah, well that's only, and then, you know, label some group and say, that's their issue. Well, you know, this only affects this, this thing we're talking. It only affects you. If you're young, if you're young, we got to take care of our young people because they're really messed up.

[00:18:27] Or we can say, if you, the older you are, these things are going to be, no, you need to understand this affects the young and this affects the old you can say sometimes. Well, you know, this is a struggle that men have, or this is primarily a struggle women have, but you can't say it about this stuff. This is a struggle men have, and this is a struggle women have, you can say, you know, people who, um, are living in poverty, they have.

[00:18:53] But people of wealth don't have that. And you can't say that about this. People are wealthy, have this, they have these struggles people. Well, you know, certain ethnicities, if you're a poor background, you're more prone to you. Can't say that about these issues. You can't even say if you're a person of this faith, you'll be exempt, but a person of that faith, you can't say any of this, you need to understand.

[00:19:18] I am really grateful that this has come. Above surface. And we've been led in this conversation by the way, by a couple of famous athletes, which again, I'm sure you're aware of on the cover of time magazine, this, uh, July. This is Naomi Osaka. Couldn't continue. She said I can't handle, uh, she referenced the press.

[00:19:46] She dropped out of the tournament. I think it was Wimbleton if I'm remembering right. And it became a big scandal. It's a big, the question is, is it okay to not be okay. And, and that goes back to my Michael Phelps, by the way, who was kind of been the first person who asked that question in the sports arena.

[00:20:05] But it's a question being asked a lot lately, if you watch the Olympics, of course, Simone miles. It created a scandal. How can you, how can you be so physically able and, and yet not mentally. And there were people who just derided her because she said, I just can't do that. And others of course, came to her aid.

[00:20:27] So the simple question that I think we wrestled with is, is it okay to not be okay? Is it okay to not be okay? I I'm going to repeat what I've already said of all the places where I think it should be okay to not be okay. It should be.

[00:20:43] Everything about my life is built around the conviction that I am less than God wanted me to be. I'm less than God wanted me to be. And he loved me anyway. And no insult intended. You're less than you were meant to be. And he loves you anyway. So why can't we just come out and say, you know what? It's okay to not be okay, because God doesn't seem to break God out any, but here's the problem that I want to explain.

[00:21:20] All right. Um, let me put it to you in three truths and then I'll throw an idea out. All right. Three truths. Um, the struggles we face. Let's just call it out. There's just difficult. It's difficult. This had difficult time. We're struggling. Second truth, pretending we're not struggling. All right. That just makes things worse.

[00:21:46] Then make it better.

[00:21:50] I would say this though, having to struggle alone is the worst thing of all. It's the worst thing of all. It's the last one, the alone one. That's a greatest concern. Not that you're struggling, but that you would do it alone. Uh, I want to explain something is, see what happens to us is we start to think if I struggle, it must mean I lack a relationship with God and I want to just say clearly what I believe.

[00:22:24] All right. And if you're prone to write anything down, write the sentence down. Think about. The presence of struggle does not imply the absence of God and anyone who's telling you it does is can you down a path as your pastor, I'm going, please. Don't let them take you there. The presence of struggle.

[00:22:45] That's not in play the absence of God. It's huge though, because if you don't get this, what will happen? In the struggle, two things will come out of it. You will separate yourself further from God, and you will separate, separate yourself further from people, both of which will do great harm if I'm not supposed to.

[00:23:04] If it means that I'm not walking, I'm not supposed to feel this. Then I'm just going to feel like God's left me further behind and I'm less worthy to be with people next week, by the way, let me just jump ahead next week. I'm going to talk about why I'm where I really want to be. I want to talk about the debilitating reality of shame and guilt in our lives.

[00:23:28] And I just want to explain where if you don't come to grips with that, which we'll talk at length next week about it is that is the thing the enemy of God will use to keep you away from the person of God, your shame and your guilt. And you'll just believe I I'm, I'm less than I'm imperfect and therefore.

[00:23:50] I shouldn't be, I'm not lovable and I can't be loved. Well, let me, I gotta move here. Overarching idea. If I, if I have one mental health hat that I've learned, and again, I, I've dedicated quite a bit of time this summer to trying to get my brain around this one thing that I think there's going to color the entire series.

[00:24:13] One thing that if you get this idea, I think you'll get it. You'll get a glimpse into where I'm going in. I've already alluded to it numerous times in this message. It's the big idea that I'm going to try to convey to you. And I'm going to do my best to persuade you to trust me on this one. Is this idea, the only thing worse than going through a crisis is going through a crisis alone.

[00:24:39] The only thing worse is when you think it's only, you. Isolation and loneliness separation. Uh, w if we never talk about it, you're going to believe something's wrong with it. And therefore, that's why we're avoiding it. You can believe that you and you alone are the only one who's struggling with that thing that you're struggling with.

[00:25:01] You're so messed up. My friend, Mike Breaux has a saying, I love this saying, I just love this. He says, you know, most of us are just like the rest of us in that awesome. Cause I can get so focused on an issue and feel like I, and I alone, you know, I'm so most of us are just like the rest of us. Not, not all, but most of us are, there's a lot of similarities.

[00:25:27] So let me just throw four things. And again, I have just a few moments, but I want to get to the word of God. And I always apologize. When I start a series, I always use a disproportionate amount of time, amount of time to try to put it in a setting where we can. And because we launched on this one, I've had to talk about some things that I just feel is important to understand, but I do definitely want to turn your attention to the word of God.

[00:25:54] And so if you'll allow me, let me just four things that you need to know, just start here for things you need to know. Number one, you need not be alone. That's the first thing I needed. So you need to not be alone. One of the books I read this. Which I, I got so much out of was, um, Nelson Mandela's biography on it's called a long walk toward freedom to freedom.

[00:26:15] Uh, it's about the south African story and apartheid and all of the struggles and, and in that book, and it's the story of his life. And he spent a lot of years on an island called Robin island in a little cell. He spent, I think 28 years of his life in prison, I think 18 were on Robin island. And again, I'm just doing enough the top of my head, but here's what you need to understand.

[00:26:40] He talked about the struggle of being, you know, of so much of your lifetime, 28 years of your lifetime in prison. And it was for his beliefs that they imprisoned him and he, he tells a story of, of the abuse that would take place. And he talked about how he was spending time in, uh, these limestone quarries, where they chip away and the dust literally get all over your, any of your eyes.

[00:27:08] And he talked about feeling like he's going blind. And so this experience, he goes, it was horrific, it was horrific, it was horrific, but he said the worst thing of all that, the thing that would break you faster is if they put you in solitary, And he said in solitary confinement, you lose all perspective of all things important that you have no sense of time anymore.

[00:27:30] You have no sense of place in person anymore. Is that anything but solitary confinement? I was so impacted by that. I thought who would do that to anybody? And that's an important question, but a more important question is why would it anybody do that to themselves? And that is what we. When we think God won't accept us and we're less than everybody else.

[00:27:58] I just want to tell you, you don't have to be alone. Yeah, don't have to be alone. I want to read to you is from, uh, I wanna read to you from that Psalm that I started with, I read verses one to four. I want to read to you verses five to 12. Pick it up. Okay. You, him, me, you, him, me in, uh, you hit me in behind and before and you lay your hand upon me.

[00:28:29] too wonderful for me too lofty for me to attain what were kind of go from your spirit. Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there. If I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dine of Dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there, your hand will guide me.

[00:28:44] Your right hand will hold me. If, if I say surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me, even the darkness will not be dark to you. The night will shine. Like the day for darkness is as light to you.

[00:29:02] He goes on to talk about the way God created them. He's not saying that word, God, I cannot ditch you, man. I'm trying my hardest to get away from you everywhere I go. You show up, get lost. That's not what he said. He's going God, I am incredibly comforted by the fact that no matter what happens to me, you will be there no matter where I end up, I will not be alone.

[00:29:29] You don't need to be alone. It's a torture that you do to yourself. Don't do it. So I'm 34 18. The Lord is close to the broken hearted and save those who are crushed in spirit. There we see. So the second, when God sees you is for you and is with you, God sees you. He's for you and he's with you. If I have time, I would take you to John 11.

[00:29:53] I would tell you the story of a family of two sisters and a brother, Mary and Martha and Lazarus, and how Lazarus died. And Jesus was away in Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus that Lazaruth who you love is died. He's dead. Please come right away. Help. Jesus. Doesn't come right away. He finally shows up and the sisters kind of vent their frustration off at him.

[00:30:16] And he gets caught in the moment. Not unintentionally. He knew exactly what he was going to do is going to raise Lazarus from the dead. He knew he was going to do that, but it's fascinating to me. The shortest verse in the Bible is two words and it's found right in the middle of that story. Jesus wept.

[00:30:36] Why would Jesus. Because Mary and Martha were weeping. God sees you. He's with you. He understands. All right. He's with you went through the pain, they went through, it was called empathy. You have a God. Who's very empathetic. Now the third truth I'd throw at you is it's okay to be real with God. This one is.

[00:31:07] You see, we've somehow determined. It's not okay to be real with one another. So we come to church and we pretend to be better than we are and everything's together. And we, you know, sculpted image and we deceive, um, you know, you never need to do that here. And honestly, don't ever do that to God because you know, you can fool, you know, some of the people you, you're never going to fool God, you're just never going to full God.

[00:31:34] Oh, there is a book in the Bible that is so loaded with something that should just kind of rattle you a bit. It's called the book of Psalms in the book of Psalms, which I've been reading from, by the way, if you haven't caught on in the book of Psalms, there are Psalms, the Psalms are songs. Okay. These are, these are the lyrics of songs and they're songs that we know as songs of love.

[00:32:01] Uh, well, songs of morning songs of, of honesty. In fact, there's a whole class of Psalms that are literally indictments were Thomas is crying out to God. Let me just read to you one. You don't think God can handle this? Listen, listen, I'm 13. I'm going to start right there. How long Lord will you forget me forever.

[00:32:21] How long will you hide your face for me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts? And day after day have sorrow in my heart. How long will the enemy triumph? Look on me and answer, Lord my God, give light to my eyes or I will sleep in death. My enemy will say, I have overcome him. And my foes will we? Joyce, when I fall now, I'm just going to stop there because I think that's all you need to get the flavor of a Psalm ego.

[00:32:47] You better back up from that guy, man. Strike lightening. Let's go strike God. Can't handle your honesty. This is in here to tell you yes, he can. And that's how the guy was. And that's how God can be spoken to God. I can be honest with you. I I'm hurting really bad. And the fourth and last one is brokenness is the doorway to strength.

[00:33:10] Brokenness is the doorway to strength. The apostle Paul who wrote two thirds of the new Testament, had some issue that he pleaded with God, multiple. He says three times. I've always thought about this in my own understanding, as these are three epics of his life, three areas of his life, three big chapters, not three individual occasions, three major bouts of prayer over these, this issue, whatever it was.

[00:33:33] Well, while we don't know, it could have been some emotion thing. He was carrying some mental struggle. He had, it could be a physical. What we do know is what he wrote in second Corinthians 12. He says, there's three times. I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me, but he said to me, my grace is sufficient for you.

[00:33:52] For my power is made perfect in weakness. And he said, well, therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ's power can rest on me. That is why for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties for when I am weak, then I am strong.

[00:34:10] What's he saying. When I am driven to my knees, pleading with God for help. I never stand taller when I am collapsed in, in a sense of defeat. And I cry out to God, I'm a failure. I'm struggling. He said, I never stand more tall victorious than that. See God, let him struggle. Because of something God had in store for him.

[00:34:44] He, and it was interesting because so many times something has meant for one thing, can accomplish something else. This, this chemical right here, this thing right here, it was created as an explosive, you know what it's used for healing. You see what they discovered is people who are suffering with angina, which is the construction of.

[00:35:10] To your heart, this chemical will open your heart up. It was me to destroy life. It will give life in the application. I don't know any better way to say it. God can do incredible things through things that would do harm to others. God can do incredible things. So I'm going to close right now. I'm going to read you one more Psalm and then I will.

[00:35:36] Be done, but I just have to, I have to read to you the absolute most favorites home of most people, the absolute, most popular song ever. The song that as soon as I start you go, oh yeah, it's only like six verses. So it'll just take a moment. Just it's the song that we built the series on. It just seems like an appropriate place to close.

[00:35:57] So here's what it says. Psalm 23, the Lord is my shepherd. I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside quiet waters. He refreshes my soul. He guides me. He guides me along the paths, the right paths for his namesake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil for you are with me, your rod and your staff.

[00:36:26] They comfort me. You prepare. Before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows, and surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life. And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. It's so interesting to me that he chooses the valley. Can I just close on this observation?

[00:36:48] I've been in valleys and I've been on mountain tops. I can assure you. I prefer the mountain. I prefer being on top of the world where the vistas are just, there's never ending. I can see so far, I feel so high a mountaintop, but can I point out something on a mountaintop? That's not where growth happens.

[00:37:10] In fact, if you get too up there, you get what's called above Timberline and nothing grows, but you know what you're going to see from the mountain top. You're going to see the valley and you know what you're going to see in the valley. Where all the lush growth exists, it's in the valley. So could it be possible that God's going?

[00:37:31] I know, I know, I know you're in the valley. I'm, I'm, I'm with you, I'm with you in this valley, but we're going to do some incredible things in your life, in this valley, but, but don't worry. You're not going to live here. You're going to go through the valley at when one day you'll be looking at it from a mountain top, but right now, what needs to happen is you just need to deal with some things in there.

[00:37:52] On your way out of the valley, my finger, it's going to heal. Don't don't define me as, oh, you're the man with a broken finger. You're the man with the cut finger. No, no, I'll be good. I'll be good. You're struggling with something internally. You'll heal. You'll you'll you'll be good. Let's just get it right with God.

[00:38:13] Okay. Let me pray. So Lord again, if I said anything that exacerbated anybody's pain for giving me and give them the grace to, uh, allow that. Gotcha. Uh, I, uh, I know we're just messed up right now. It's a very, very hard time. And, and too often, we just want to pretend like it's all good and it's not all good.

[00:38:34] I now have all kinds of emotions are going through people, all kinds of struggles. Got it. We give them to you and we realize that that doesn't make them just go away. But Lord help us to understand what in this valley you would have us learn as we make our way through it. There will come a day when we'll come out of it.

[00:38:54] And, uh, one day we'll probably look at the valley from the mountaintop, but right now through the valley, be with us in Jesus name. I pray this. Amen. Thank you all very much. All right.