I have always loved the rudeness that often attends a person who desperately needs care and healing.
In my time of prayer, the best place is in the cupped hands of my Abba Father.
It is important to remind ourselves that the process of restoration is long and slow. It cannot be rushed or it will sacrifice the quality and integrity of the transformation. When we realize that God is making all things new (Rev. 21:5), it is important to realize that is an ongoing present tense, which stretches itself over all of eternity. Our own personal and internal restoration is ongoing over a great matter of time.
But as you restore a piece of furniture over time, it is great to look at the before picture to recognize the progress thus far. While the piece is not yet finished and is still being restored, the progress is worth noting.
Our own hearts and lives are being restored one broken place at a time. The overall restoration project of our broken hearts and lives will not be rushed or it would sacrifice the quality and integrity of the transformation.
Also, though we wish for the final product to arrive within our own broken hearts and lives, we will not experience that complete change and restoration until that final day. There will be more broken places yet to be restored.
But take courage in the progress thus far.
The interesting thing about leprosy is the MAIN ailment is the absence of pain. Because leprosy patients do not feel or know pain, they often do self-destructive things and know nothing of it. They grab splintered rakes and sharp objects with bare hands and know no pain. They wear very tight shoes and create blistering and festering sores they only see and not feel. Leprosy patients are absent of pain, but it is that absence which dissolves the reality of destruction happening to them all the time. We ought to praise God for pain. We are SO quick to get rid of pain when it is that pain which tells us we need aid.
There are parallels to be drawn to spiritual and emotional pain. Without it we would be callous and shut off...which is destructive to our emotions, spirits, and souls. We make it easy by trying to defeat pain. It's like we don't want to hurt, but what if that hurt is exactly what keeps us from destructing. If we felt no pain, we would only be a spiritual leper...an emotional leper. The craziest thing is that lepers are afflicted, but I, as an emotional leper, afflict myself. I resound with lepers of Biblical times and silently scream, "UNCLEAN!" I am a spiritual and emotional leper. I shut off my own pain sensors by covering them up and saying, "I'm not hurt...I'm tired of being hurt...so I won't be anymore...I'm tired of hurting...I'm tired of caring." So begins a self-destructive disease.
I get so terrified of pain that I shut myself off from it, but without it...without being honest about my pain, hurt, real emotion, I just destruct. I am self-afflicted, but can only be healed through the grace of GOd.
In recovery! Experiencing pain with gratitude because at least I feel.
In Matthew 20, Jesus asks some blind men, "What do you want me to do for you?" Why would Jesus ask them this? I mean one, we know that Jesus is all-knowing. He knows what they need. But two, come on, anybody walking by would know what these men need. They're freaking blind! It is obvious that these men want and need their sight. EVEN I CAN SEE THAT! (see what I did there) Of course a study and reflection of the passage lets us see Jesus want to be asked. He wants to be desired. We can study forever the reasons Jesus would actually ask what these men want him to do. Jesus did that all the time.
The challenge is trying to see myself in this passage. As a disciple, what would I have done? Would I have seen the need? Yes it is blatant and obvious, but would I have really seen the need? I mean really?
I am a Christian who desires to serve, to have compassion and serve, but will I notice the needs around me? I mean they are blatant...just as blatant as two blind men, but I don't serve the needs around me. I don't even serve the blatant needs. Should I be asking, "What is it you want me to do for you?" I don't know. I mean there are blatant obvious needs around me, but OBVIOUSLY I don't see them.
Is it that I do not really see them? I do not have my eyes and ears open to actually see those needs around me. I have to be attentive to the needs around me. They are not always so blatant as a blind man asking for sight (lucky Jesus). Sometimes it is nearly a need for respect and compassion...someone to listen...heck...someone to smile. Am I really so clueless to miss an opportunity to smile for someone who may really need it? Probably!
Now if I miss THAT, how many other chances will I miss? I need to be more attentive. After being attentive I have to be willing to be interrupted. What is the point in being attentive to people's needs around me if I'm not willing to STOP!
I have to open my eyes, my ears, my heart to see and notice the obvious needs around me, and then free myself to be interrupted and STOPPED for those needs around me.
If I am going to continue a life of healing in Christ, I will need HOPE. Hope is often highly misunderstood. Since hope is fundamental to our healing, it would serve us well to know what it means. First of all, hope is not a concept. There is substance and definition to hope. Essentially, HOPE is projecting the positive things I am experiencing NOW into the FUTURE. This means HOPE says, "Months from now I will be better of than even now."
The problem with hope is our tendency toward the opposite. We could have the tendency if we are not healing, feeling or working through things to say to ourselves, "Months from now, I'm going to be screwed and worse off."
HOPE PROJECTS YOUR CURRENT STATE OF BEING INTO YOUR FUTURE.
That being said, there ARE a couple things required of us to live a life of hope. To live a life of hope requires a positive current state to project into the future. This means that our current state needs to change.
There must be a CHANGE in our lives in order for us to begin a life of healing and hope. This change, though, requires a RISK be taken. Am I going to be willing to take risks for the cost of healing? If I want to know a life of healing; a life of hope, I have to be willing to take some risks so that change may come. If I stay COMFORTABLE in my current state (the one without healing) I will project THAT state into my future, and I will be the same or worse months from now.
On the other hand, if I look at my current state and get bold enough to take a risk and change it, I will begin to see healing and change. Then my current state changes and I can project it into my future...THIS is hope.
"but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, HOPE. And HOPE does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us." - Romans 5:3-5
What you do comes out of your beliefs about yourself, others and God. This means that everything we do, every action we do has a root in some sort of belief. This means every action; healthy or destructive, has a root in some belief we have of our self, our world, or our God. Our foundation is our belief system because it is from our belief system that we act. How is it that this happens? Well our certain beliefs create certain emotions, and we already know that our emotions drive our behavior.
So we have to examine our beliefs in order to change; to heal. Now by "beliefs" about our self, others, and God I am not talking about proof or stale theology. When I say belief, I mean that we have to dig deeper into our hearts to see what we REALLY believe about our self, our world, and our God. I am not talking about indoctrinated stale answers. I mean we have to answer, 100% honestly, questions like:
Do I believe God loves me tenderly? Do I believe I can know God very personally? Is God a force, a character, a person...? Do I believe I am a child of God? Do I believe I am truly loved by others? Do I believe I am worthy of love? Can other people be trusted? Is it worth the risk to trust new people? If I have been hurt, should I trust any longer; are all people hurtful? Can God really heal me and love me?
The questions go on and on. But if we truly desire healing and change in our lives, we have to look at our belief systems. Change is going to require insight and changing some beliefs we have deep down about our self, others, and God. Out beliefs drive our attitude toward ourselves, others, and God, and that attitude triggers our behaviors and actions.
When you have dental work done on one tooth, you will usually want the novocaine. The dentist gives you the shot to numb the area around the tooth. But its never the one tooth, is it? That tooth and the area surrounding it is often numbed with the one pinpointed shot. That is the way novocaine works. You try to dull the pain of one tooth, and in so doing, dull the feeling of the entire surrounding area. How interesting that pain is pain and numb is numb! When something happens to cause us emotional pain, we do what we can to get rid of the pain. We don't want to hurt; to feel pain. So we numb it out with whatever we can. For some, its with drugs and alcohol; for others its with relationships or sex. For me its often with denial or indifference; I can escape the pain by simply not feeling it or ignoring it. I numb the feeling of the pain that situation brings.
But like novocaine, its never just the pain that gets numbed. A lot of times, its not just "pain" in general that gets numbed. Like novocaine, I pinpoint my pain, numb it, and find out that it inadvertently numbs the surrounding areas as well. I find in my attempt to numb the PAIN of a situation, I can end up numbing other emotions. I become incapable of FEELING much of anything.
When you numb one thing in your life so you don't have to feel, that emotional novocaine is going to affect more than the problem. Numb is numb! Even though I purposefully numb the pain, I also end up numbing, simply, the ability to FEEL. Numb is numb! Now you cannot feel joy, affection, love, anger, sadness, and other emotions in the surrounding area.
We have to feel!!!! Even the pain!! Pain motivates us to change something, and if we only numb the pain, we do not change; and we numb other emotions in the process.