Asbury United Methodist Church
Love - Share - Tell - Serve

January 12, 2018

This morning I had a crazy thought!  I remembered a decades old TV commercial that stated, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”  

           I kind of got a bounce off that and considered, “Pain is a terrible thing to waste!”

I am not meaning to be insensitive or anything but, I think that every pain has some kind of silver lining if we look hard enough.

And, every time we turn around, it seems one calamity or another is knocking on our door.  But, who says that calamities must define us?

          Recently, I was introduced to the book, A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows Through Loss by Jerry Sittser; and, it was quite an eye-opener.  Sittser experienced perhaps the greatest loss that a mortal can endure, yet found the presence of God’s grace in the midst of it.

          A drunk driver left Sittser with what he described as the loss of three generations in his family.  His mother, wife and daughter were tragically killed in a car crash, yet he walked away physically intact.

          One might consider that being the Chair of the Department of Theology at Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington, Sittser might be better positioned to navigate such a loss to his life.  Nonetheless, it took tremendous fortitude for him to come to the conclusion that it is not loss that defines us but instead our response.

          (If you are interested, this book is available from Amazon.  Here is the link: )

          Eugene Peterson’s translation, The Message, offers an interesting take on life’s calamities:

          “Distress that drives us to God…turns us around.  It gets us back in the way of salvation. We never regret that kind of pain. But those who let distress drive them away from God are full of regrets, end up on a deathbed of regrets (2 Corinthians 7:10 MSG).”

          Our life’s story does not have to be defined by loss!  If we allow God to work within our lives and within our distresses, our dilemmas can draw us into a closer relationship with the Father; and, we can be restored to a functional wholeness.

          Instead of being that guy who lost three generations of his family in one fatal automobile accident, Jerry Sittser became that guy who responded in faith and is now helping to lead the rest of us to shore.

          Yes indeed…I say facetiously, “Pain is a terrible thing to waste!”  Facetious means flippant.  But sometimes, there is truth within the flippant.

          Nobody wants pain.  No one wants calamities, dilemmas or sorrow.  Even so, they seem to be a part of life that hovers around us.

          I am reminded that one of Christ’s missions was to state by his very presence that, “Your pain matters to me!  I care about you!”

          And, putting a finer point on things, Jesus said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.  And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows (Matthew 10:29-31 NIV).”



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