Stung But Not Scarred

Bible Book: Psalms  34 : 17-18
Subject: Pain; Hurt; Adversity; Human Value; God's Love

Psalm 34:17-18

Recently I was on Lake Lanier for an afternoon of fishing. I heard a loud buzzing and then something landed on my neck. I automatically slapped at it. Big mistake. I missed! It didn't. The pain was instant as the stinger of a giant hornet went in one side my neck and came out the other. (Maybe a little exaggeration, but it felt like it!) A whelp came up immediately. For days it hurt and was tender to the touch. The area around the sting became more swollen and I finally realized the stinger was still in me. There was no way the hurt was going away as longer as the stinger was intact. I wonder how many of you have been stung by things in life that continue to bring pain today. Pain and hurt are a part of life. We are all stung to varying degree. It can be as minor as a bad day.

Did you know that the average cost of rehabilitating a seal after the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska was $80,000. At a special ceremony, two of the most expensively saved seals were released back into the wild amid cheers and applause from onlookers. A minute later, in full view, a killer whale ate them both.

A woman came home to find her husband in the kitchen, shaking frantically with what looked like a wire running from his waist towards the electric kettle. Intending to jolt him away from the deadly current she whacked him with a handy plank of wood by the back door, breaking his arm in two places. Until that moment, he had been happily dancing to the tunes on his Walkman radio.

Stings can be serious life-altering events. Major stings can come in three different areas.

i Physical Stings

Physical hurts will occur, and we all have aches and pains, bumps and bruises. Some live in constant physical pain, and it's no laughing matter.

ii. Emotional Stings

Emotional hurts are a part of life as well. Emotional hurts are often more difficult to deal with than physical ones.






iii. Relational Stings

Relational hurts occur between persons and can the most difficult to deal with. This is the hurt that has been inflicted by others.

Today, I will begin a series of messages focusing on major stings in our lives. The point of the series is to deal with the scars that can result after the sting. We cannot always avoid the sting, but we can deal with the stinger. We have God's promises to us when we hurt. When you talk about hurts there is no better book to study than the Psalms. The Book of Psalms is filled with emotion. David spills his guts to us. He is transparent and honest. Psalms 34: 17,18 tells us how God responds to those who have endured serious stings in life. Today, I want us to think about stings in general. We will look at some things that will not work. We will stay in Psalms as we study these. Next week we will get specific.

I. Don't Ignore Stings

In Psalms 32:3 we read, "There was a time I wouldn't admit my sin but my dishonesty made me miserable and filled my days with frustration."

Not only do we attempt to ignore sins we have committed; we also attempt to ignore hurt that has been inflicted. This is what I did with the bee sting. But, I found myself constantly putting my hand back to my neck, rubbing and scratching, and worsening the infection. This is the macho approach. Out of sight, out of mind. As Rick Warren puts it, "This is the Clint Eastwood approach." Grin and bear it. Suffer in silence. Why do we pretend? We think if we ignore the problem it will just go away. The Psalmist says the truth is it only makes us miserable to ignore the pain.

II. Don't Run From Stings

Psalms 55: 6, 8 reads, "I wish I had wings like a dove. I'd fly away and find some rest. I'd flee from all this storm."

It is human nature to run from difficulty. Notice all the doors in this facility. They swing out. When there is a problem it is easier to escape. This is the human way for handling problems.

I am hereby officially tendering my resignation as an adult. I have decided I would like to accept the responsibilities of an 8-year-old again. I want to go to McDonald's and think that it's a four-star restaurant. I want to sail sticks across a fresh mud puddle and make a sidewalk with rocks. I want to think M&M's are better than money because you can eat them. I want to lie under a big oak tree and run a lemonade stand with my friends on a hot summer day. I want to return to a time when life was simple; when all you knew were colors, multiplication tables and nursery rhymes, but that didn't bother you, because you didn't know what you didn't know as you didn't care. All you knew was to be happy because you were blissfully unaware of all the things that should make you worried or upset.

I want to think the world is fair. That everyone is honest and good. I want to believe that anything is possible. I want to be oblivious to the complexities of life and be overly excited by the little things again. I want to live simple again. I don't want my day to consist of computer crashes, mountains of paperwork, depressing news, how to survive more days in the month than there is money in the  bank, doctor bills, gossip, illness and loss of loved ones.

I want to believe in the power of smiles, hugs, a kind word, truth, justice, peace, dreams, the imagination, mankind, and making angels in the snow. So, here's my checkbook and my car keys, my credit card bills and my 401k statements. I am officially resigning from adulthood.

The only answer to remaining in the adult section of the human race when you have been deeply stung by life's experiences is to remember what Paul said to make it your commitment as well, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

But there are many ways to escape today and numbers of people are trying them. For example, you can drug yourself. You can try to drink your pain away. You can enter unhealthy relationships. The problem with escapes is they don't last long.

Take the rides at Disney World as a comparison. You wait for an hour and the ride is over in one minute. You get off where you started. That's the problem with escapes. When you come back you still have the hurt.

III. Don't Hide Your Stings

Psalms 32:2.3 states, "I kept quiet, not saying a word, but my suffering only grew worse. I was overcome with anxiety. The more I thought, the more troubled if became."

Many people are very good at disguising their hurt. They disguise it with nice clothes, a nice car, and a nice house. Inside those clothes and that car and that house there is a person who is hurting very deeply. Hiding our hurts only intensifies them. The Psalmist says as a result of hiding my hurt that I am only becoming more troubled.

I agree with Rick Warren who says, "Every church needs a sign that says, 'No perfect people need apply.'" Revealing your feeling is the beginning of your healing.

IV. Don't Stew Over Your Stings

Psalms 55:2 reads, "I am worn out by my worries."

e fret, stew and get uptight. We become anxious. Fretting is the attempt to control the uncontrollable.

I found the following quote, but I do not know whom it is attributed to. But it certainly is true:

“There are two days we can do nothing about: yesterday and tomorrow. There are two days of the week about which I never worry; two carefree days, kept sacredly free from fear and apprehension. One of these days is yesterday. Yesterday, with all it's cares and frets, with all it's aches and pains, with all it's failures and blunders has passed forever beyond the reach of my recall. I cannot undo one single thing I did yesterday. I cannot un-say one single word I said yesterday. All that yesterday holds of my life, of wrongs, regret and sorrow is in the hands of the on that can make the wrong things right; that can turn weeping into laughter, that can give beauty for ashes and can give the joy of morning for the woe of night. The other day about which I do not worry is tomorrow. Tomorrow, with all its possibilities, adversities, burdens, and mistakes is as far beyond my control as yesterday. It is God's day. The sun will rise in splendor behind threatening clouds, but it will rise. The one that held yesterday also holds tomorrow and I have no possession in that unborn day. There is left for me but one day of the week - today. Any man can fight the battles of today. Any woman can carry the burdens of just one day. Anyone can resist the temptations of today. He, who has carefully measured out for  us the cares and burdens of today gives with them the promise, 'as the day, so shall thy strength be (Deuteronomy 33:25)."

But, when we add the burdens of yesterday and tomorrow-burdens that only God can sustain we break down. It is not the experience of today that drives men mad. It is the remorse for something that happened yesterday or the dread of what might happen tomorrow.

Yesterday and tomorrow are God's days. Leave them with him. Think, do, and journey one day at a time - today. That is the easy day. Jesus said, " Therefore do not worry about tomorrow. It’ll worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own (Matthew 6:34)".

There is a story of the stockbroker who said, "I don't worry anymore." The other man said, "You're kidding? In this tense world? How come you don't worry?" The first replied, "I don't worry anymore because I hired a professional worrier. He does all the worrying for me. I pay him to worry." The second one asked, "That's incredible! How much does he cost?" The first answered, "A hundred thousand dollars a year." The second man asked excitedly, "Where are you going to get that kind of money?" The first smile and said, "That's his worry."

As we fret over our problems, they increase in size. Take criticism for example. Someone criticizes you. You begin to fret over it until it is blown completely out of proportion. The more you rehearse the problem in your mind the bigger it becomes.

V. Don't Give Up Because Of Your Stings

Go back to the scripture we first read. God doesn't give up on us in our problems. We don't need to give up on ourselves. In spite of your hurt you have great value.


Notice that I have a $5.00 bill in my hand. I am going to give this to someone today. Now, who wants it? Oh, so you want it. Well, look at this, I am crumpling this $5.00 bill until it is wrinkled all over. Do you still want it? You do! Well, watch this. I am going to stomp all over this bill. Do you still want it? Yes, I know you do. You want it because it has value no matter what has happened to it. My dear friend, that is the way you are to God. You have value to God no matter what has happened to you. He wants you to turn to Him now! You may have been stung, but you don't have to be scarred! He took the scars for you. Come to Him now!