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Overcome by the Wonder
Scripture: Luke 1:46-55
Track 3 of 12 in the A Transforming Church . . . Lives By Transforming Values series
Running time: 28 minutes, 04 seconds.

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Chuck Sackett Speaker: Chuck Sackett
Dr. G. Charles Sackett is minister of Madison Park Christian Church.

View all sermons by this speaker.

"R.E.M. and Mary's Song"

In 1992, R.E.M. released "Everybody Hurts." The American rock group from Atlanta, Georgia, had identified a cultural crisis. Teens were thinking about, talking about, attempting and/or succeeding at suicide in alarming numbers. The lyrics of "Everybody Hurts" pled for perseverance.

A portion of the lyrics read, "...When your day is night alone (hold on, hold on); If you feel like letting go (hold on); If you think you've had too much of this life, well hang on. Cause everybody hurts, take comfort in your friends. Everybody hurts..."

Fans proclaim the song a classis. They credit it with saving lives and changing attitudes (unfortunately, it's also blamed for at least one suicide). The advice (hold on; rely on your friends; realize you are not alone) is correct, as far as it goes.

It's true..."Everybody hurts." Life is not always easy. Bad things happen. People lose their jobs, they get cancer, they lose a loved one in an accident, they fall for a scam, they become addicted, their business fails, their marriage fails, their children make bad choices... The list is endless.

Holding on, relying on your friends, realizing you are not alone . . . they are all good steps to take. But, at best, they give you the courage to endure. Unfortuately, they can't move you to a better place. You need more.

It's hard to imagine anyone facing a more difficult situation than Mary. She was a young teen with a reputation for virtue. Yet, she was pregnant. She was engaged, but not married. She was Jewish. She was in a small town. And her story was, well, unbelievable.

So was her response. Rather than despair and discouragement; rather than talk about suicide; she praised God for His mighty deeds. She did what R.E.M. suggested. She held on and she turned to friends (Aunt Elizabeth). But more than that, she realized that she was not alone. It wasn't other facing similar circumstances, though, that gave her comfort. It was the recognition that God was involved in her life.

That's the power of worship. It may not change our circumstances. But it certainly changes our perspective. It doesn't require that we "smile" or "chin up" or anything else. It allows us to come as we are into the presence of God. Once there, we recognize His power, His character, His love, His grace; and we realize nothing else really matters.