A Creative Word

Practical, occasionally funny, faith-focused thoughts.

Category: pain

Peace When You’re in Pieces

Almost every day I run into someone who is in the middle of a problem: her child is using drugs, or her mother is facing health challenges; perhaps her husband has filed for divorce, or maybe she is out of work and behind on the bills.

Whatever the situation, it’s big, it’s bad and she is almost overwhelmed, even though she keeps telling herself that it will all be ok. After all, she’s a Christian, and these things will work out for the best, right?

I get it. Believe me, I get it. And while it is absolutely true that God will use everything for His daughters’ good, there are some very real things you can do to make things better and less painful. Which means, unfortunately, that there are some very real things you can do that will make your situation worse and more painful.

(Screeeeeeeech!)

Did you hear that? It was the sound of some very nervous Christians slamming on the brakes. Look, I know actually acknowledging that a well-intentioned Christian can do things to make a bad situation worse is not a popular thing to say. Especially OUT LOUD. It’s too “negative.” But there, I said it, and I believe if you’ll think about it, you’ll agree.

You and I have both seen Believers face seemingly insurmountable situations and thrive, growing in their faith and having an extraordinary amount of peace throughout incredibly tough situations. By peace I don’t mean that they aren’t sad or grieving or having a difficult time; I mean that they have a “wholeness” even while they are in the middle of their grief. And most likely we’ve said. “Girl! You’re totally rocking it! You’re amazing! Your faith inspires me!” (And in response, she probably gives God all the credit.)

And we’ve also seen Believers face situations that sent them into tailspins that shook their faith—they ended up leaning away from God and isolating themselves from other Believers. Their lives spiral down and down– sometimes for years. And often we react toward them with grief, or even frustration and anger. (Sorry. The “screeeeech” earlier should have clued you in that I pretty much try to tell it like it is, rather than make everything look pretty… I tried pretty-fying everything, and it didn’t work out too well in my life.)

Unfortunately, that downward spiral I mentioned isn’t an exaggeration. I know because I’ve watched it happen—but more importantly, I know from scripture that it’s true. (Remember how David tried to “fix” his downward spiral into adultery?)

When you’re in those kinds of situations, you need HELP. That is, you need Hope, Encouragement, Love and Peace.

Peace… have you been longing for peace? It’s more than just “calmness.”

Jesus said, “My peace I give to you—not the kind of peace the world gives, but the kind only I can give.” The Hebrew word for “peace” is “shalom.” Shalom actually means “nothing missing, nothing broken, whole, complete.”

Now, THAT will bring you calmness!

And there’s good news! There are several other things that can bring you Hope, Encouragement, Love and help you hold on to the Peace He gives you. Over the next six weeks I’ll be sharing some actions that will give you HELP.

In the meantime, think about that definition of Shalom-style peace. And go spend 10 minutes, just you and Him—get some of that Peace you’re longing for!

“I will fight your battles, and you will hold onto your peace…” Exodus 14:14

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>Back to the Vine Analogy Part 3 of 3

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Treating only the symptoms (bad fruit, sin and pain) is like plucking all the fruit off the vine and burning that fruit. Look– no fruit, just scorched earth! At least for a little while…

Drastically treating the symptoms is like cutting the vine off at ground level. And at first– there’s no sign of the vine or its fruit at all.

But the root still exists, and it WILL produce new branches as well as more unpleasant fruit– perhaps a fruit that looks slightly different, but has the same bitter taste.

I hope we can all see the correlation. We must treat the underlying cause/root (the wound we received when someone sinned against us) of our bad spiritual fruit (which includes the our painful symptoms and our own resulting sins) so we can fully eliminate that fruit (pain or sin).

We need to look for the cause of our bad spiritual fruit/pain/sin and allow God to help us deal with it so that we can be completely and truly free.

Prayer can help reveal the root, when we aren’t sure what it is. Trained Christian counselors and those who are very experienced in deliverance ministry can also help us discover the root. (Psalms 1:1) Then God can help us be free of the fruit AND free of the root!!***

Digging up the roots to permanently remove the bad spiritual fruit/pain/habitual sins can be dirty, hard work. While there’s no question that Jesus forgives us and makes a way out of sin for us, we often have to change our habits of thought and habits of deed that lead us INTO sin! Digging up the root helps us do that. Jesus tells us to deal drastically with our own sin in Matt 18:8-9.

So how do we “dig up the roots?”

  • We already mentioned forgiveness. (Mark 11:25-26)
  • Digging up the roots usually requires godly, wise counsel. Spiritual intervention is frequently needed, too. (Ps 1:1)
  • Careful, personal examination of scripture is ALWAYS part of the process, as is prayer. (Romans 12:1-2)
  • Consistent fellowship with Christians in a worship and learning environment is incredibly helpful, also. (Romans 12:4-5)
  • Finally, determination to walk in spiritual health is absolutely required. (2 Cor 7:1) Without determination, one can easily slip into habits that allow the bad fruit (pain / sin) to re-introduce itself to our lives.

Being free of that bad fruit IS possible. Talk to those Christians you fellowship and worship with– they’ll often gladly share their personal stories of victory!

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