I found myself in tears reading the account of Jesus healing the paralytic in Matthew 9. When I came to the words: Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, “Take courage, My son, your sins are forgiven.” God wants the world to know that we can be courageous in believing He wants to heal our broken lives. God has good intentions towards us but the world has been listening to the Liar who saturates the airwaves with the very opposite message. The scribes in this story are those empty and arrogant leaders who claim spiritual authority over the masses and Jesus hears their judgmental thoughts accusing Him of blasphemy. He calls them out and asks: Why? Why are you thinking evil in your hearts? The question shall always be WHY, not what, not who, not when, but WHY. Their hearts were hardened by unbelief that God is NOT good and He is NOT with us and is NOT willing to heal. To believe what God says to us in the Bible is COUNTERCULTURAL and you will be persecuted for it when you speak out your biblical worldview. There is more at stake than your personal comfort. Have you paralyzed God? Are you willing to be the target of hostility because you actually believe God’s word? As much as I want to be loved by people, I see the greater agenda of heaven. If I don’t speak, the rocks will take my place. He did not redeem me for me to remain silent. He did not break me over and over to make me fearful but courageous and resilient. Jesus has given His believers the same authority to forgive and release healing for His name’s sake, for His Kingdom to come, on earth as it is in heaven. We were created to be filled with the awe of God’s glory, and to worship Him, and that He would share His glory with us who are loved by Him and who love Him above all else.
How well do you embrace painful moments?
Do you squeeze them close to your heart in order to humbly injest the pure essence of the lesson at hand? If you do, please call me because I need to come sit under you and learn from your wise ways.
Or are you like me, who needs to tuck the “injustice button” somewhere out of reach of the emotionally immature “trigger-ers” because it’s really not their fault, they just don’t know what the heck they are doing, they just have not processed their “junk” yet with a bonafide counselor.
Willingness to embrace painful moments will eventually lead to great joy. Why? Because the Person of Unconditional Love, Jesus Christ, willfully embraced the suffering at the cross. Why? Because of the joy set before Him.
He knew He would be raised from the dead and provide a way for humanity to be reconciled to God but He still asked the Father if there was another way because the flesh always wants to run from pain.
What pain are you currently running from?
How are you dealing with the pain?
Numbing it with wine?
Infecting others with complaining?
Drowning in self-pity?
May I suggest exercising your willingness to embrace the pain? Hold it so close to your heart that you weep for a few days, acknowledging that the people who turned against you are human and they make mistakes. Then, you lay it at Jesus’ nail-scarred feet and keep it there while you thank Him for helping you to see how He sees the situation and keep thanking Him for reconciliation with those people who have hurt you.
I believe this is the hardest “exercise” for us humans: to leave our complaints at Jesus’ feet and trust Him to work all the details out for everyone’s good. Because the resolution may not manifest until years down the road. That hurts so good. It forms amazing character that few people possess.
It’s commanded in the Bible to “not fear man”, “not be anxious”, but to “trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding”. (Matthew 10:28, Phil. 4:6, Prov. 3:5-6).
The joy comes down from heaven when this muscle of willingness to embrace pain is perfected. C.S. Lewis says that “pain is God’s megaphone.” It is not cruel, it’s His “come away with Me” song, wooing us away from the busy-ness of all that is fleeting, protecting us from the accusations, cleansing us from the bitterness that wants to imprison our hearts from ever trusting another human being again.
The joy comes when we lean into Him and let Him speak to our hearts. (John 15:11) The beautiful part is this joy is His that He longs to fill us to the full with. But the majority of humans on earth are running after vapors of worldly emptiness, completely disconnected from God’s love and presence When we release the wounding of the pain and lean in, He will make our paths straight. That’s where divine joy flows. Nothing can take joy that comes down from heaven, that is God’s will for us on earth.
The Kingdom of heaven on earth is “righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Joy is 1/3 of the Kingdom. The Church has a lot to learn about joy. I know Christians who need to learn from unbelievers what joy looks like, feels like, tastes like, sounds like. I marvel at the world because they are freer dreamers than most Christians. Joy is a gift. Religion kills joy. Joy is a healthy emotion and one of the many fruits of the Holy Spirit.
When you are feeling attacked, accused, misunderstood and defensive, God says to “consider it pure joy” because this trial you are facing is going to supply you with something that will be making you more complete in character, lacking in nothing. As Oswald Chambers puts it: even suffering is not for us to get something for ourselves but everything is for Christ and the gospel. When I consider this, I can let go of the painful betrayal and see myself “in Christ” (it’s His desire that His joy be full in us) and that my response in obedience to God’s Word is furthering the gospel. Now that’s seeing from heaven’s perspective.
So it all comes down to my attitude. Initially, I may have over-reacted to being falsely accused but every moment I have another chance to have another thought and choose to be a powerful person. I take ownership for my part in whatever drama occured and I apologize, repent and leave it at God’s feet. Then, I’m going to consider it pure joy because I’m going to pass this test with a winning attitude.
I declare: I am free, I am healed and my Father loves me.
What are you going to declare in the face of your trials today?
The best revenge is really living your best life. When my engagement failed, I wasted a whole year trying to break off the break up. 2014 was a year of regret because I wasted my precious time trying to “fix” what could not be fixed. I was blinded by my “ideal” man and could not see the frightened and broken man in front of me. The pain of disappointment was inevitable and my heart was shattered by the reality that this hopeful relationship was nothing but an illusion.
But God…used this fallacy to shatter the fantasy and expose my own fears of feeling the pain of rejection, shame and guilt. Through many hours of counseling, I discovered that my heart never had a voice. I muzzled it fearing abandonment remnicient of my painful childhood. This will be the last relationship where my heart takes a back-seat.
I long to share my life with a partner who is passionate about God, me and transformation. I desire to have a child from my womb, to look into my daughter’s eyes and see a piece of my heart outside of myself. I’m going to have these desires fulfilled because I am choosing to be different this year. I’ve recognized my wounds and have found the salve for healing. I’m going to risk failure and pain and live from my heart.
I wonder how many married people muzzle their true heart’s desire to be heard, known and received. I worry that most couples have settled for less than God’s ideal for a mate because they don’t want to be single, but are they living with regret? Is there a continual “yes” for their heart to express herself, to seek after passion, to run with God after creative dreams, to dare to try something no one has ever done?
I’m going for it damn it! I let my heart roar in response to my mother’s controlling accusations and to my ex-fiance’s religious manipulations. I’m done with the cages of other peoples’ shit. I don’t even have to get angry anymore but choose to decline with joy! I get to choose my response to controlling, fearful people. I even have permission to ignore them! 2015 is about saying “NO” to regret and “YES” to my heart. I bless you to find out what your heart has been dying to say, to you, to your loved ones and to the rest of the world. We are waiting to hear from YOU.