Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Let the Healing Begin

Sometimes, as Christians, God allows us to come to a place of complete brokenness in our lives. It doesn't mean that we are broken (damaged irreparably) or that he has abandoned us, but rather that he knows that in order to heal we have to have a breakthrough of a sort and we, at times have to be at the end of our ropes in order to grab on to the healing changes that we need in our lives. Change is often scary and we need a compelling impetus that propels us forward to move past the fear, into the wonder that is inside the healing.

Life is not always pretty. We can't wrap it up in a neat little package and pretend otherwise. If we have any depth to our character at all, we have to realize that pain is part of life and blessed by God or not, there will be times when we just can't sugar-coat the realities of the world. This is how we learn. God teaches us humility in our brokenness, lest we become too proud and boastful. God wants us to have a healthy dose of self-esteem, but he is not too found of boastfulness and pride.

I have come to such a place of brokenness in my life and just as my Father promised, he has not abandoned me there. He has always been beside me, holding my hand and giving me comfort. He has also brought me friends who have come along beside me and encouraged me in many ways. Even as I struggled, fumbled and stumbled around for answers, I have never lost hope that things would eventually come around to healing. I have prayed, cried and railed at the pain; screamed at it to go away and leave me alone, but it never really left me. He was there all along the way, but he wanted me to understand that his strength is made perfect in my broken weakness. Now, it is as if God is rubbing his hands together and saying "Now, let's get down to work. Time for the healing to begin."

I know that doesn't seem to line up with the loving, graceful, merciful God that I talk about often, but it does. God is my heavenly Father, and just like any parent, sometimes his love needs to be tough in order to teach us the lessons we need to learn. However, the toughness is surrounded in mercy, and at the very bottom, in the deepest darkest toughest part, there is his grace. If we never dig deep enough, expand ourselves far enough, we will never experience the beauty of the fullness of his grace. He doesn't want us to shove our problems aside. No matter how insignificant or petty a problem seems, if we brush it aside without examining its impact on our lives it builds on the last thing we put in the discard pile and after a while, we reach a critical mass of petty, little insignificant things that have turned into a huge pile of mess in our soul.

Now, this is not to say that we should make a big deal about every tiny blip in the road of life. Everyone knows we can't sweat the small stuff, right? I mean, people have made millions writing books about that very subject. The trick is in knowing what truly is small stuff and what isn't. An angry neighbor whose newspaper ended up in our yard? Small stuff. A surly customer service representative? Brush it off. But things that effect us personally - when we find ourselves as the common denominator in the same circumstance time and again, it might not be small stuff; we might want to address it so that we can get past it. Perhaps there is something that needs to be worked on in our character that will keep that particular irritation from happening again. Or maybe another person is the common denominator in the problems in our life. Each irritating circumstance, if looked at in isolation, may seem to be petty and small, but when examined as a whole, it becomes big and overwhelming. We must make changes in order to experience change and move on with our lives.

As for me, I have come to the place where I am ready to submit to the healing process. I am not going to just flit off and get over it. I am going to do the work. I have a feeling that it is not going to be easy and I am going to wish I had just stuffed it down and pretended I was okay, but I know that if I push through, that real, glorious, genuine healing will take place is going to be spectacular. I trust that my God will give me his grace to get through it and that at the end, he will be proud of me.