Monthly Archives: February 2016

The Cycle of Hurt

Battle

As I was in an attitude of prayer yesterday, I saw a picture in my mind of the huge spiritual war that is going on around us.  I could see the chaos and explosions, with shrapnel flying around everywhere and casualties occurring.

And it’s real.  Satan is working destruction, taking carefully aimed shots, lobbing bombs, battering down defenses.   Everything we see that is negative is his work.  When people have bad attitudes, it’s his work. When they are insecure, it’s his work.

battle2

It’s important to remember that we have a part it this.  We make choices. Any time we allow our fear to shape what we do, we are working with Satan. The same is true when we give into resentment, or selfishness, or pride.

So often we act out of our emotional damage, out of the insecurities, the buried hurts, the secret gaping wounds. We behave like wounded children, retreating in mistrust, or unintentionally lashing out. We don’t see that we hurt each other, and are hurt in return, and then we feel more damaged, so we hurt again.

The only way to stop the cycle is to be like Jesus and not retaliate, to do good to others when they do bad to you, to say, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”  Because people really do NOT know what they do. They are acting out of deep hurts and insecurities.

The only way to BUILD instead of destroy is to strive for our actions to be motivated by love, faith and reverence for God.  Every time we practice these we create a better world.

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.  The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  II Cor 10:3-4

When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.  I Peter 2:23

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Eph 6:4

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Battle Against Evil

Firm in His Grasp

I am thinking about David this morning, and how hard it must have been when he was hiding out in the wilderness for all those years.  He had been a shepherd.  I like to think that he wrote Ps 23 when he was out tending his father’s sheep, and he built a close relationship with God then.  That relationship and understanding of God is what allowed him to slay Goliath.

He had been one of the most respected men in the kingdom.  His best friend was the king’s son.  He led the soldiers and killed many enemies.  He even married the king’s daughter.

So it must have been a cruel twist to have to run away to the barren places, and always move from place to place, being attacked, fearing for his life and the lives of the men who were with him.

It must have been hard not to resent that God would allow this to happen, after all he had done to maintain his integrity and serve God.  It seemed like the foulest of injustices.

How could David continue to trust the Lord in all of this?  How could he believe God still had his back, when he wrote things like, “how many are my foes, many rise up against me,”  (Ps 3) and “How long will you assault a man?”  (Ps 62:3)

Yet over and over again he would maintain, “But you are a shield about me O God.  You give me glory.  You lift up my head.”  and “My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.”  (Ps 62:1-2)

All of us have to go through these cruel twists, these times when we’re giving to God and everything is going great and the worst happens.  And we can’t help but feel betrayed, thinking, “How could God allow me to be in this situation?”

Can we believe that God has us in the secure iron grip of his hand, as David said in Ps 139?  “If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”

Can we believe that He is fierce in protecting us?  That when we pray in our distress, it is as David wrote in Ps 18, The earth trembled and quaked, and the foundations of the mountains shook; they trembled because he was angry. . . He parted the heavens and came down . . . He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me.  . . he rescued me because he delighted in me.” 

I am trying to believe this more firmly.  My trials are so small compared to what David endured.

My soul finds rest in God alone.  He alone is my fortress.  

I hide myself in Him, and trust.

And through the watches of the night, I recite to myself this little song that I wrote:

Keep me in the circle of Your love.  May Your right hand hold me fast.  May Your arms hold and carry me close.  May Your comfort envelop me.  Wrap me in the solace of Your peace, resting on Your mercy.

And I remind myself that much of what I face is like this verse from the old hymn, “God Moves in A Mysterious Way.”

You fearful saints, fresh courage take; The clouds you so much dread. Are big with mercy and will break In Blessing on your head.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Faith

Teaching My Heart…

spring

I haven’t posted for awhile.  I have been going through some intense self searching.  I have been struggling with something that bothers me.  I have been on the mood roller coaster that is menopause.  So in all of this I have had some great insights and times with God.  But I haven’t felt compelled to write like I usually do.  I haven’t felt ready to share.  My head hasn’t felt clear enough.

But today I am feeling some clarity and inspiration.  I woke up at 4:45 this morning, feeling grumpy about some things that had happened.  So I prayed and talked to God about them.  It is amazing to me how He gave me wisdom and provided an almost miraculous change of mind state for me.

Here is some of what I was thinking.

I thought about the book of Job.  I’ve been listening to Job in the car lately.  I always try to have some Bible CDs to fill the space while I’m driving.  I’ve been working my way through the Old Testament.  And now I’m at Job.

I have to confess that I really didn’t want to listen to Job.  I like the first and last part of the book, but, to me, the middle is so long and boring!   But that is why I listen in the car, so I can expose myself to things that I might be tempted to skip over if I was actually sitting down and reading.

The thing is, as I listened to Job, and took in the repetitious pontificating of Job and his friends, the endless justification, the whining, the sanctimonious advising, it occurred to me that that is what we sound like to God.  We carry on in our self important bombastic way, totally caught up in our conceit.  We whine and complain, so affronted.  We go on and on, we can’t let it go.

I think God doesn’t like to hear all of this any more than I do when I listen to Job.

And I think about how it is said that Job is one of the oldest books of the Bible.  It is one of the first communications, in a sense, from God to man. And what does God want to say?  That we go on and on talking about ourselves, all puffed up in our opinions, all indignant about our situations.  That we are so blinded by our conceit that we can’t respect to Him as the Almighty and All Knowing, who knows so much better than we do the ways things ought to go.

It hit me yet again how His thoughts are not my thoughts, that way that seems so clear to me as how things should happen, may not be the way God is going.   I can’t get indignant when what God does seems counterintuitive.

Instead, I need to be much more like David when He wrote Ps 131:

My heart is not proud, Lord,

my eyes are not haughty;

I do not concern myself with great matters

or things too wonderful for me.

But I have calmed and quieted myself,

I am like a weaned child with its mother;

like a weaned child I am content.

As I was thinking about all of this, it occurred to me that, left to ourselves, we are terrible disciplers.  Just like Job’s friends, by nature, we have a pretty poor idea of how to help one another.  And  just like Job, we are even worse at trying to reason things out and help ourselves.

And I started to be especially thankful that we have the Spirit.  While I was lying in bed, talking to God, I realized that I could let the Spirit disciple me.  The Spirit was right there, waiting to be called upon, waiting to be the voice of hope, whispering to me that God is good, that He will work out everything for the good.

It really is true that Jesus came to give us living waters.  “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”  (John 7:38)  Fresh pure goodness and hope is there, bubbling up inside of us, when everything in us wants to rant at God over and over again.

So I wasn’t crazy about being up at 4:45 this morning.  But I needed to work it out, so I wouldn’t be stewing all day.  I brought my impossible situation to God, and he turned it around.

All I can do is thank God as in Ps 16:7 —

I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;

even at night my heart instructs me.

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Humility, Things I Am Learning