Life's Healing Choices
by Matt Freeman
One Sunday afternoon a father was trying to take a nap, but his little boy kept bugging him with “I’m bored!” So, trying to occupy him with a game, the dad found a picture of the world in the newspaper. He cut it up in hundreds of pieces and said, “See if you can put this puzzle back together.” The dad lay back down to finish his nap, thinking he would enjoy some uninterrupted time. A few minutes later the little boy woke him up: “There it is. I’m finished. It’s all put together.”
“There’s no way,” the Dad thought. He knew his son did not know all the positions of the nations, so he asked him, ‘”How did you do it?”
“It was easy. There was a picture of a person on the back of the map, so when I got my person put together, the picture of the world came together.”
That story illustrates the reality that the world that we live in does not make sense until we have the right understanding of who God is. The fact is that many of us are mess. We’re scattered all over with no one to put us together and no idea where to begin the process of healing. Each of our lives is tangled up with hurts that haunt our hearts, hang-ups that cause us pain, and habits that mess up our lives.
Hurts, habits and hang-ups. There’s not a person in the world that does not deal with at least one of these on some level – and many of us struggle with all three.
The truth is, life is tough. So is being a single parent. We live in an imperfect world. We’ve been hurt by other people, we’ve hurt ourselves, and we’ve hurt other people. The Bible says it plainly: “All have sinned” (Romans 3:23). That means none of us is perfect. We’ve all blown it. We’ve all made mistakes. We hurt, and we hurt others.
It’s amazing how much better the world looks when we understand who God really is. Regardless of where you are on the spiritual journey, here are five life-changing promises God makes to you.
If you are hurt, God says, “I will heal you.”lt;/li>
If you are confused, God says, “I will lead you.”
If you feel helpless, God says, “I will help you.”
If you feel alone, God says, “I will comfort you.”
If you feel anxious and afraid, God says, “I will offer peace to you.”
Trusting in the person of God and discovering or re-discovering His promises, leads to hope for a better future – and a life of freedom, peace and happiness from life’s hurts, habits and hang-ups.
As you seek spiritual guidance, here are a few important suggestions that I would offer up to you as you on the journey ahead:
■ Read the Scriptures and discover who God really is. The New Living Translation is an easy to read translation. Read through the Book of Psalms in the Old Testament and ponder the vast descriptions of God. The Book of John in the New Testament is an uplifting book detailing the life of Jesus and how He came to forgive and heal. Read a few paragraphs at a time so that God can show you who He is progressively.
■ Don’t attempt life on your own. Find a support group that offers biblical encouragement and a forum to take “off your mask” and share the reality of your hurts, habits and hang-ups. The Scripture says it plainly, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work. If one falls down, his friend can help him up! But pity the one who falls and has no one to help him up!” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)
■ Connect with a church family that offers the hope of the Good News and the strength of the Scriptures. In the face of bad news, we all need reminders that we are loved, cared for and that God has provided a new beginning through His Son Jesus Christ. A strong church family can fill in the gaps and be a vehicle for significant healing and restoration for you and your family.
■ Understand that healing and recovery takes time. God is not worried about your missteps. He’s focused on your next step. Keep in mind that it is all about progress, not perfection.
The Serenity Prayer communicates the heart behind healing and spiritual restoration:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
As you seek after the things of God, may you receive comfort: “The Lord will be a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know Thy name will put their trust in Thee; for Thou, O Lord, hast not forsaken those who seek Thee.” (Psalm 9:9-10)
© Matt Freeman, 2009. Matt Freeman is Outreach Pastor at Austin Ridge Bible Church in Austin, Texas.