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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Why is it so hard to heal?

"Pain reaches the heart with electrical speed, but truth moves to the heart as slowly as a glacier." (Barbara Kingsolver) I love this expression because it speaks so clearly as to why it is we deeply experience some things so doggone quickly, then take eons to actually have others things even inch their way beneath out skin! Pain jars us - truth sometimes doesn't even affect us until some time way into the distance when we have one of those "ah-ha" moments. I think the degree to which we have been influenced by pain may also be the degree to which we are willing to actually trust someone to be true and reliable - even if that someone is God himself!

DEMONSTRATE Your ways, O Eternal One. Teach me to understand so I can follow. EASE me down the path of Your truth. FEED me Your word because You are the True God who has saved me. I wait all day long, hoping, trusting in You. (Psalm 25:4-5 VOICE)

Pain is an "indicator" of something which we need to address - either to remove ourselves from the thing causing the pain, or to seek attention to properly address whatever it is that has resulted in the sensation of pain.  If we have a toothache, how silly would it be to go to the mechanic down the street to ask him to address it?  Yet so many times we experience deep, inner emotional pain and then attempt to find answers to it from sources which prove to be extremely unreliable to us.  We need to learn to understand pain as an "indicator" in our lives that we are either heading in the wrong direction, have come up against the wrong influences in life, or have buried stuff deep below the surface which now is struggling to remain contained because of how much it has festered there.

The good news is that God wants to DEMONSTRATE his way of healing - of renewal from the pain - to us if we will just bring that pain to him.  It can take us a long time to actually accept that truth in our lives, though.  We may dink around with our pain for a long, long time, then one day just come to the place of desperation where we say "enough is enough". Sadly, there are individuals who go to their grave in deep emotional pain simply because they wouldn't allow God to demonstrate to them the way out of that pain.  When God demonstrates the way out of pain, he is doing more than just pointing the way - he takes part in walking us out of it!  He isn't just setting us in the direction we should go, he is pointing out to us all the things he wants us to appreciate along the way, until we come to the place of realizing he has helped us to uncover the root of our pain and finally deliver it into his hands.

When we see a demonstration of something, we are seeing what can be if we just do the same, right?  How hard is it to actually paint that oil painting just like the guy just "demonstrated" it to us?  Our perception of the ease at which he handles the paintbrush, skillfully combining the colors and strokes to produce the desired image on the canvas can leave us feeling it is a cinch to produce what he has just produced - right?  We slather the pain all over the canvas in generally the same method he did, but our "work of art" differs quite a bit from his!  What was the difference?  He is the artist - we are the apprentice!  We haven't mastered the skill - we are still learning from the master.  There are times when we try to deal with our pain, thinking we know how the Master would deal with it, but simply fall short of actually dealing with it because we aren't equipped to do so.  We need the Master to demonstrate his grace, illustrate his love, illuminate his truth.

As our passage suggests, God doesn't just throw truth at us and expect it to "stick" in our lives.  He knows we need to be EASED into truth a good many times - simply because we have this problem with either self-sufficiency or we have been wounded too many times to count so that we are scarred, damaged, and just plain skeptical of the trustworthiness of anyone in our lives.  This is why he demonstrates his grace and love repeatedly, in many different ways, applying it to different forms of "pain" in our lives - so we will eventually "get" that he is able to be trusted with our heart!  Our heart is the canvas - but what has made contact with that canvas may have left it a mess.  He is the one skilled at taking even the messiest of works and transforming them into clear evidence of his love and grace.

Pain gets in quickly - truth takes a little longer - but the only antidote to pain is truth.  In order to heal, we have to absorb truth at whatever pace we absorb it.  Little by little, it will EASE us into trusting his DEMONSTRATED love and grace.  Just sayin!