Whatever happens is for reasons beyond our full understanding. We reflexively ask the “why” questions when we’re feeling sad, hurt, and disconnected and want reasons and answers. We either thank God or blame God for the pain and problems that contribute to our becoming disconnected. What we do when we feel angry, hurt, or disconnected is extremely important.
Seeking comfort and connection and hope, we can either turn toward God or away from God. We can turn to the world’s “feel good” substances, products, and gadgets for temporary relief. We can even become addicted to them. We can turn toward people or away from people. We can open up or shut down. We can take risks and try to build relational bridges, or we can shut down and build relational walls. If we shut God and people out, we’ll eventually become so lonely and disconnected that we’ll turn to almost anything to try to ease our pain or to find comfort.
When we turn away from the people and processes that God orchestrates for our comfort, connection, and healing, worse things eventually happen. Satan has a heyday telling us his lies that we eventually believe. He convinces us of all of the wrong things. When we exchange the truth for lies and worship what God created for His glory, Satan smiles. We usually don’t see Satan, but we listen to him anyway. When we give in to his bait, he lures us away. We close off, and we believe that God and people can’t be trusted or that they’re the enemy. Sometimes we falsely believe that we’re the enemy. Game on. War on. Conquer. Destroy. We implode or we explode. Oftentimes we don’t realize that we’re being spiritually attacked or that we’re engaged in fighting against and destroying those we love.
When we realize how far we’ve traveled in the wrong direction, fighting the wrong battles, we have so much mistrust, contempt, loneliness, and despair. Guess who is still smiling. The final blow is when something really bad happens, Satan goes for the knockout blow, and we’ve alienated everyone—including ourselves.
The Good News is that even when it doesn’t seem like He’s working, God never stops working. When we’ve exhausted our limited resources and when we’re “done” with everything we’ve tried that didn’t work, God breaks in. He personally pursues us and engages us in a unique process of healing and transforming what’s broken and disconnected. We can deny, run, hide, and fight (and even win the wrong battles). The Good News is that Jesus already conquered the one spewing lies and designing our destruction. Jesus kicked Satan’s butt at Calvary. His tools: abuse, trauma, and pain (the very thing we’re experiencing). When God orchestrated His divine rescue mission to seek and to save all who are lost, Jesus took all of our pain and problems on Himself because of His undying love for us. It doesn’t make sense, but it’s true. God delivered Satan’s knockout punch when Jesus rose from the grave.
The Grave Robber is the only Way, the only Truth, and the only Life powerful enough to restore and to resurrect what’s “broken” and “beyond repair” in our lives. When we get to the end of our rope, we find more of God and His rule in our lives. Yet trusting and surrendering control is the challenge when we yield to no one. When God sends us multiple “life boats” to save, restore, and rebuild us, we oftentimes don’t trust the people or the processes that He sends us. They seem “too” this or “too” that for us to even recognize the Rescuer’s handprint on them.
If your reflex is to disconnect or to push away when you’re scared, anxious, angry, or hurting, you must allow yourself to be led through a process of restoring trust and connection. Divided, we fall. United, we stand. We’re better together. It’s God’s way. It’s a highly personal and relational process. Trusting God, yourself, and trustworthy people may feel incredibly scary, but you have to start somewhere.
Recently I prayed a desperate prayer for God to send me healthy people to connect with. I was feeling disconnected, and I needed Him to answer my prayer. The people and dynamics that He initiated over the past week was beyond words. It would take me ten more blogs to share the stories. I know that God is good, and I know when I’m being spiritually attacked. I know who the enemy is. I know that God, you, and I are not the enemy. I know who I am, whose I am, and what I’m called to do. As I’m responding in obedience, the enemy is trying to take me out.
While my head feels like it’s exploding from pain, I’m writing today’s blog through my pain because God is speaking to and through me. I am so thrilled with the Lord’s incredible and generous answer to my desperate prayer. The pain that I’m experiencing as I write reminds me that we’re in a fallen, sinful, and broken world. While I’m following Jesus, there’s pain in the offering. If I only write when I’m feeling well, I wouldn’t be writing very often. When I tell my friend Matt, my favorite artist, that his best work is when he’s not okay, he just looks at me. Somehow the pain of change has to outweigh all of the other pain in order to surrender to the Healer. I know the Healer in a very personal way now. He’s trustworthy. His love never fails. He’s slow to anger and rich in mercy. He’s changing everything in my life for His glory. He’s my Best Friend.
You don’t have to feel better or get better to become more connected and used by God to help others. All you have to do is surrender your pain and problems to the One who made you and loves you. When you do, God will work in and through you to do more than you would imagine at this point. If you need prayer or someone to journey with you, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re better together.