October 1st, 2018

Hurt But Not Held Back
 
Daniel 3
 
Hurt and pain. They are unwelcome passengers on our road trip of life. After all, when you follow God, you are supposed to have life and life more abundant, right? So, what happens when you find yourself in the midst of a situation you didn’t create and can’t control? A situation that hurts you deeply?
 
You might be able to relate to the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They were happily going on about their lives serving God and landed smack dab in the middle of a fiery furnace as a result. Much to everyone’s surprise, they were not burned up by the flames. In fact, they walked out of the furnace without a hair on their heads signed and didn’t even smell like smoke. Unimaginable!
 
We may not have been thrown into an actual furnace, but we have certainly walked through the fire. Maybe people we thought were friends stabbed us in the back. Maybe our marriages have been in trouble. Maybe people we’ve trusted have talked about us badly. Maybe we’ve been disappointed when something didn’t go our way. Maybe we’ve been hurt by situations beyond our control. Maybe our lives are currently filled with pain. 
 
I wish I could say I have not smelled like smoke after walking through the fire. Instead, I’ve probably been pretty stinky. I smelled of smoke because I allowed the stink of situations, betrayal, or other people’s bad decisions to cling to me. I’ve allowed fear to overwhelm me, bitterness to overtake me, and hurt to hold me back. How about you?
 
Imagine coming home to a house filled with smoke. How would you begin to remove the smell of smoke from your home? According to the fabulous world of Google, there are five simple steps to follow. Surprisingly, we can adopt these same five steps to remove the smell of smoke from our lives. Over the next few days, we will examine how each smoke-removing step can help transform our lives. 
 
We may be hurt. But we don’t have to be held back.