#236 (04/06/06)
Getting Through What You’re Going Through

The Message

By: Robert A. Schuller

Special Guest

Bronwen grew up in suburban Melbourne, attended a school, one of the best, elite reputations. When she graduated from high school she decided to attend the university and after a year and a half at the university she began making some poor choices that led to a life of drugs and profound drug addiction and then ultimate poverty where she had no other property to sell, no other private possessions to sell, all she had left to sell to get money was her body. She would be six years into that drug pattern, one year into the sale of her body and then something happened. She encountered Jesus Christ and if there’s anybody listening here that you don’t really believe it, you have to listen to her, she’s got a true story.

Special Music

" Joyful, Joyful.. "
" Heav’n is Here "
" Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us "

" Anthem of Unity "

RUSSELL WATSON - "You Raise Me Up 2"
KERRIS OATES – “Call on Jesus”

The Message

I was ordained into ministry in the Crystal Cathedral in September of 1980. I had only been in ministry several years, but I'll never forget the pain I felt when I thought that my ministry was coming to an end and I thought I no longer had the qualifications for ministry.

On January 8, 1984 I stood before a congregation of the small church which I had founded and made an announcement which was the darkest period of my life. I had kept a secret within my heart for several months. I was afraid to tell anyone. I was afraid to share it with a soul because I thought it would eliminate any hope of reconciliation. The announcement I made that Sunday was that I would no longer be married to my first wife and that we were going through a divorce. I felt I was no longer qualified to be a pastor. I felt that God could no longer use me. The only thing I could do was pray.

It was then that I started praying a prayer that I have continued to pray to this day. It is the only thing that got me through and it is the only thing that will get any of us through the needs and the valleys in which we find ourselves. I prayed, "Lord, Shepherd me," because I needed to feel the touch of the Shepherd's hands in my life.

"Shepherd me Lord," when the sheep are lost, the sheep need a Shepherd, and I was lost. I was in despair and I felt I had lost everything. At that point all I could pray was, "Shepherd me, Lord." I read the 23rd Psalm, "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want." As I prayed that prayer I visualized Christ, going out into the world and into the fields and looking for His lost sheep as He promised He would do. He promised he would go and he would save his sheep and he would bring his sheep back home. I pictured the Good Shepherd carrying me and leading me through those valleys and I stand here today as a testimony of how God will carry us through the valleys. The Shepherd knows his sheep; He knows every single one of us.

The Shepherd knows what we need even more than we know ourselves. The Shepherd cares for his sheep and the Shepherd tends his sheep, and the Shepherd loves his sheep. Even when we cannot see for ourselves the humanity and the spirituality that exists within us, the spirit and the human love of Jesus Christ touches our hearts and our souls and brings us back to Him. Psalm 23 says, "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want." When we read those words, "I shall not want," the translation would probably be clearer in our common day language as, "I shall have no need." I have had people come and tell me the bible tells us not to want anything. I tell them, "You're taking it all out of context. The Shepherd supplies all of our needs." As a result of the Shepherd supplying all of our needs we won't have any needs, all of our needs will be met by the Good Shepherd, by Jesus Christ, our Lord. We have needs of shelter, warmth, food, water, and the basics. These are the things we need to exist and to keep us alive. A good Shepherd will make sure that all of His sheep have all of these things.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a theory in psychology that Abraham Maslow proposed in his 1943 paper A Theory of Human Motivation. He outlined the hierarchy of needs as follows:

  1. Physiological
  2. Safety
  3. Love/Belonging
  4. Esteem
  5. Actualization

Now what does Jesus say about meeting our physical needs? "Look at the birds in the air, they neither toil nor spin yet your father cares for them, how much more doesn't He care for you, oh ye of little faith." We won't have any needs, not as long as we allow the Shepherd to Shepherd us. As long as we follow the Shepherd our needs will be met. We all go through tough times. Absolutely, did I go through tough times? You bet I did. What happens when we go through tough times?

I refer to it as the tea bag philosophy. Just think of a tea bag when you go through tough times. Why? The hotter the water, stronger the tea! Got it? Hotter the water, stronger the tea. When you go through tough times, God is in process of bringing out the richness and the beauty that is lying underneath of who you are. He allows us to go through these valleys and tough times so we can truly experience the full potential that we have as human beings. If we were to simply go through life without any problems it would be like putting a tea bag into cold water. All you get is terrible water, but put a tea bag in hot water and all the beauty and the joy and the richness and the flavor comes out.

That is why God allows us to go through these things, He loves us, He cares for us, He wants to shape us and mold us as a way for making us the people He has intended us to be. That is why he allows these things to take place and unfold within our lives.

I look at the composer of the 23rd Psalm, and David was a Shepherd. When he says the Lord is my Shepherd he knows what a Shepherd does. David was a good shepherd. He cared for the sheep, if there was something around that was going to threaten the sheep; he took care of the situation. When he sees this Philistine giant (Goliath), mocking the people of God, while the others ran away and feared, he stepped forward and said, "I've killed lions and bears to protect sheep, surely God will be with me and destroy this Philistine who comes against His people. I will destroy this philistine, this giant that comes before you today." (1 Samuel 17:34-36)

This is the composer of the words, "The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want." We find out that the Lord will supply every single need we have and if that's the case we can continue on and we can look at the social needs. What does the bible say about the social needs? It encourages us to come and to gather together on a regular basis. What are we doing in Church on a Sunday morning? Christ promises us, where two or three people gather together in His name, "There I will be also," says Jesus. His spirit is among us in Church. His spirit is here because Jesus said it would be, it is here because we have gathered together, it is here because we desire to have a social connectedness and have our social needs met because we understand that the good Shepherd wants to fulfill all of our needs. He wants us to be able to interact with other people and to support one another and to love one another.

There's an old parable that I was told by Albert Schweitzer. There was a man who saw some loud geese on a pond and he captured one of them and he cruelly clipped the feathers on his wings. When it came time for the flock of geese to fly away they took off and circled around the lake waiting for the goose whose wings had been clipped to join them, but he could not fly. So they flew around a few times and they came back and they landed on the pond again. A few days later they decided to leave again and they did the same thing and they flew around but the goose still could not fly because the feathers hadn't grown back yet. So they landed again. They did this for months until finally the goose with the clipped wings began to fly and they all flew away together. That's what the church of Jesus Christ is all about; people helping people, people helping each other get through the tough times. When I stood in front of the congregation of several hundred people, which I had built in San Juan Capistrano and I made the announcement, the finality of it all was so overwhelming that I simply sat down on the pulpit chairs and wept; I couldn't do anything but weep. All of a sudden, one by one the members of the church came up on the platform and they laid their hands on me and they prayed for me and they embraced me and they loved me. It was the beginning of healing. When we go through these tough times and we see family members and friends and colleagues going through the toughest times of life it's easy for us to be condemning and condescending. However, Christ wants us to be loving and caring and embracing. That's what the church is all about. That's what the bible is all about. Christ reaches out, He reaches through the hierarchy of needs and he reaches every single one, he reaches our physiological needs, he reaches our security needs, he reaches our social needs, he reaches our esteem needs.

I think the Bible understands the importance of our esteem, our need of appreciation and being well regarded by others. As you read through the gospels, you see over and over again the affirming words of the relationship that we have with God. You see that we're God's children, we're Christ's friend, that we have been justified, that we're reunited with the Lord, that we belong to God, that we're members of God's family, and that we're saints. We have difficulty understanding this. Let me put it in the words of the prophet when he anointed David. The prophet said, "Man looks on the outside, but God looks at heart." Man only sees the outward clay, but God sees the jewel within. It's like the old story of an explorer who was walking along the beach and he saw a cave and he went inside and there was a bag. Inside that bag was filled with hundreds of pieces of clay, round clay balls and so he took them and he found out that he could throw them really well, like a baseball. He enjoyed doing that because as they would land in the water they would break apart and you would see a cloud of dust. After he had thrown a few dozen in the water, one of them suddenly slipped out of his hand. As it landed on the ground and broke open, he found a jewel inside. Then he broke them all open and he found all of them were filled with jewels, the clay balls were simply to hide the jewels. And here he had thrown most of them away!

How many people have we thrown away because we can't see the heart, and we don't express the appreciation we have for a human and for another person and for our family members and for our associates.

The last need of Maslow is self actualization; winning, achieving, realizing self potential. If you look at Jesus' last words, you see where we find our true self potential. Jesus said to his disciples, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me, therefore, you go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you and surely I am with you always to the very end of the age." Those words are not spoken to a select few. Those words are spoken to every single one of us to make disciples of all nations. If we're going to make disciples of all nations we start with our children, baptizing our children. We start with our brothers and our sisters and our parents and we share the good news of Jesus Christ and how He can meet all of their needs. There isn't anything that fulfills self actualization more than the spiritual realization that God has used you to have a spiritual impact on another.

The text is true, the text is real, the text is there, "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want." Our needs are fulfilled through Jesus Christ. It happens when we simply reach the point where we can cry out to God and say, "Shepherd me, Lord." When He shepherds you along the path, healing and wholeness begins. I don't know what you are going through today, but no matter what it is, you can get through. No matter how low you are, no matter how deep you are today, the road to healing and success begins by finding stars in your scars. Allow the beauty and the warmth and the love within you to come forth. Inside my book, Getting Through What You're Going Through are two pages where you can start by listing the ways God is blessing you. It's hard to see the blessings because the pain is so severe it clouds your eyes to the realization of God's blessing in your life. The only way you can see the blessings is to physically force yourself to write them down. When you write a list of God's blessings, healing starts to take place.

I want to send you a copy of this book. If you're in the depths today and you can't afford a book, just write to me and I'll give it to you, you need to have it. If you can enclose a gift of any amount that would be appreciated, I know we're asking for a gift of $25. I want to give you a tool that can help you get through the valleys; I want to help you get through the valleys and experience the person that God has called you to be so that you can indeed ignite the potential that is within you. You have to start someplace so I invite you to start with me right now, start with a simple prayer and God will hear your prayer and God will listen to you and God will lead you out of the valleys and into the light. Please pray with me right now

Dear God, I give my life to you, and so as I give my life to you, Shepherd me Lord, lead me out of the darkness and into the light, out of the depression and into the hope. Out of the lifestyle that has held me back and into the joy and the fellowship that you want me to experience. Thank you, Lord for being my Shepherd today. Amen.

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