Today I feel led to discuss the emotional pain we experience in our lives. It is something we all have in common. It gets our full attention and our first instinct seems to be focused on how to relieve it. It tends to strip us down to our bare soul, which is one reason I believe God allows it. Yet in the midst of such raw emotion can come great clarity or great calamity.
When we focus solely on relieving our pain we can make harmful decisions that will affect us and those around us for a very long time. That is where great calamity can come in. One of the ways we tend to do that is deny it's existence.
When we do not address it, then consequences are sure to follow. Some of the consequences we face if that happens is that we become angry, resentful, bitter, it stunts our spiritual growth, we become prideful and we start building walls up trying to protect ourselves from further pain.When we focus solely on self-protection intimacy is damaged in our relationships with others. Calamity.
Restlessness (lack of peace) results as well when we continue to deny our pain and all of these consequences of that denial lead to an opening for sin to enter into our lives. This all results in damaged relationships with our God and with others. Calamity.
Ultimately denial of deep emotional pain can result in suicide. The enemy of our souls likes nothing better than when that happens. From my own personal experience I learned that people do not want to die, they just want the deep pain that they feel swallowed up by to stop. When a person gets to that point they feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of the pain and have lost all hope then immediate intervention is needed. Calamity.
It was only through the intervention of my husband and subsequent treatment that I am alive today. I learned during that time that God was bigger than my insurmountable pain. I had forgotten that He breathed the universe into existence. I had forgotten that He loved me enough to die for me. I had forgotten that He said He would never leave me nor forsake me. Calamity.
Once I realized He was not only able but willing to rescue me I had hope once again and my healing journey began to take place. My whole testimony regarding that experience is in my first post titled "The Hand of God."
One last very sad consequence I would like to mention in regard to buried pain in our lives is that we tend to start viewing ourselves as victims. When a person starts down that path, destruction soon will follow. Not unlike the path left after a tornado, a victim always makes sure that their "path" is strewn with destruction. The collateral damage is all around them and the "friendly fire" if you will is what results along with an attitude of entitlement. Calamity.
Pain defined is this: Penalty, punishment (Greek - poine, penalty, fine: see penal) ex. - Penal code for prisoners... (Irony)? Penal Code defined: A body of law dealing with various crimes or offenses and their legal panalties.
When someone violates a love relationship, pain results which results in a penal code of sorts being triggered. We even use the terms "offender" and "offended." Why do we use these terms? A crime has been committed against us. So, in a sense we become a "prisoner of war" because of the pain in our lives. To quote my Pastor "Unforgiveness becomes a poison we drink and wait for the other person to die." We in essence become a prisoner of our own making. Calamity.
The key that unlocks those "prison bars" is forgiveness. The road to healing is a process and it is only through God's grace and in His strength that we can accomplish it. The freedom that comes when those "bars" break open are worth every bit of suffering we experience. The clarity I spoke of earlier now begins!
The awesome thing about God is that if we choose to obey and forgive He sets in motion His own set of "consequences" if you will. Just like the snowball effect of unresolved pain that leads to collateral damage God causes collateral healing to take place when we seek His healing. It is an amazing thing and something only God can do. Only God can accomplish it because only God can change a heart. Clarity.
We talked last week how God has the power to turn a heart of stone into a heart of flesh Ezekiel 36:26 NKJV. He is able because nothing is impossible with Him Luke 1:37 NKJV. Clarity.
Corrie Ten Boom is a beautiful example of forgiveness. I urge you to read the story of her account of being a Holocaust survivor and coming face to face with one of the guards from the Ravensbruck concentration camp that had held her captive. She describes how God gave her the grace to extend forgiveness to her former captor. It makes any act of forgiveness on my part seem very small. I hope it is an inspiration to us all to always be willing to forgive. Clarity.
One of my favorite quotes from Corrie Ten Boom is this "When you are covered by His wings, it can get pretty dark." She knew this from experience. We tend to think that God has "left the building" so to speak when we are in the midst of our pain and suffering. Quite the contrary. He is there. He was there for Corrie and He is there for us. We just have to seek Him and He will make Himself known to us. His presence and His glory! Clarity.
I know our discussion has been focused on the pain we may be enduring at the hands of someone else, but pain is pain and no matter the source, God is always there with His love and comfort to guide us into healing. With His healing comes clarity because His truth begins to be revealed to us as we begin the process of letting go of our pain and turning it over to Him. To quote Tenth Avenue North in their song The Healing Begins "Sparks will fly when grace collides with the dark inside of us!" Clarity.
His presence and His glory! I would like to take a quote from Beth Moore which says this, "The goal of life is not the absence of pain. It is the presence of God and the glory of God. When He can work glory without pain, He does. When He can't, it's going to hurt."
One last thought, Songbirds. Collateral healing brings with it's own "consequences" such as joy, peace, reconciliation. It brings hope and restoration where there was once despair and darkness. It breaks the chains of sins passed down from generation to generation in families. Clarity.
Most importantly it reveals that if we are a child of God then we are victors not victims. Victors have a humble attitude because they realize their victory is only through Christ unlike victims who have an attitude of entitlement that stems from a heart that has been hardened by unresolved pain. We may be victimized in our lives, but that is NOT our identity. We are freed from the bondage that unresolved pain can place us in. The reason for that is all because of Christ who knew no sin, who bore our sin so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him 2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV! Clarity.
My prayer and and my song for us today is that we look to Christ as our ultimate example of how to resolve the pain in our lives. He endured the pain of the cross on our behalf. He was there, He is there and He always will be there. His presence and His glory. Clarity.
The song It is titled You Were There by Avalon illustrates the constant presence of our Lord beautifully.