Sunday, August 18, 2013

Keeping It Real

"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.
In the world ye shall have tribulation:
but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
John 16:33
(KJV)


We live in a world that is fantasy-obsessed.
We do our utmost to escape reality...because oftentimes, reality is painful.
And difficult.
And troubled.
And hard to face.
So, we try to numb our senses...or at least dull them enough to take the edge off.
In the process, we become desensitized.
That is never a good thing.

Because walking through life with numbed senses and a desensitized conscience is not safe.
God created us the way He did for a reason.
It is necessary to feel.
What if we lost our physical sense of touch?
What if God created us without the ability to identify hot surfaces?
How long would we be able to last...
without completely destroying ourselves?

Would God be fair and just?
To create us without instilled pain sensors?
What if we didn't realize we were cutting ourselves, 
until we saw the first sign of blood?
Pain is a God-given indicator that something is wrong.
It often indicates an underlying problem.

Emotions are every bit as important to our well-being
as are our five physical senses.
Keeping them dead is not healthy.
We need to be able to feel...in order to recognize danger signals.
And we need to be able to feel in order for God to communicate with us.

Perpetuating a desensitized emotional state inhibits God from being able to get through.
How can He deal with our hearts, when we can't feel anything?
How will we know when we are getting too close to the edge,
if we are so emotionally-sedated that we cannot hear His still, small, gentle voice?


During some of my deepest trials, I have been sorely tempted
to do some things that I would never have considered before.
I'll be honest.
There have been moments that the mental anguish was so overwhelming,
the grief so unbearable,
the heartache so intense,
that satan dared and had the audacity to present some mind-numbing options to me.
He whispered that it wouldn't hurt anything to deaden the pain...
to escape from it all by swallowing a pill....or worse.
I thought of how good it would feel....to not feel....
for just a day.
To not have to cry.
To be able to get through one day without falling apart.
To feel like I was okay again.

The point is that even if I had caved and crumbled to the temptation,
it would have been nothing more than a fantasy.
Because, the reality was that I was not okay.
Far from it.
I was a complete mess,
and the mess was something I needed to sort and work through.
There were stages of grief that needed to be experienced....
in order to heal properly.
Had I deadened the pain, I would have killed my God-given ability to recognize I was in trouble.
That would have been unwise.
It would have created a false sense of security,
when the security I really needed....was only to be found in God.

Drinking bitter dregs of sorrow, rejection, and hopelessness
has taught me a lot of lessons,
made me a lot more understanding,
and a lot less critical....
of those who choose to drown the pain.
It has opened my eyes to comprehend how people become so driven to places of fantasy,
where reality is completely cut off and shut out,
and senses are blissfully bereft of feeling.
I am not so quick to judge now.
Because I was there....and tempted, too.
There, but for the grace of God, go I, without a doubt.

Jesus refused the temptation to dull His pain.
Remember?
On the cross, He became desperately thirsty.
He longed for a drink....of water.
Can you imagine the severity of His dehydration?
Profuse sweating and loss of blood that had lasted for literally hours
had dangerously depleted His bodily fluids.
I can't even imagine how thirsty He really was.

"They gave Him vinegar to drink mingled with gall:
and when He had tasted thereof, He would not drink."
Matthew 27:34

Instead of the water He so severely craved, Jesus was offered vinegar that was mingled with gall.
Most Bible scholars agree that the "gall" or "myrrh" as it is referred to in the book of Mark,
was added to the vinegar because of its narcotic qualities.
It dulled the pain, and in its process, had a stupefying effect upon the senses..

Jesus recognized this instantly.
Even in the height of the intensity of His sufferings,
Jesus made the choice to bear all....
with a clear, unclouded, un-intoxicated, entirely composed, and completely conscious mind.
So that He could pave the way...for you and me....to do the same.
He suffered every single pain that you and I will ever experience,
so He could offer us the greatest gift.


It is called grace.

"For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities;
but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."
Hebrews 4:15

Jesus did not cave.
Ever.
He never took an easy way out.
Period.

He is the Source of all comfort.
His comfort reaches the deepest, most remote pain-filled crevice.
To turn to alternate sources of relief is to seek help that is inadequate.
It can't penetrate past the surface.
It merely creates a facade.
An illusion....which, if left unchecked, leads to a delusion....and self-deception.

David struggled for years, while being maliciously pursued by King Saul...
having to hide out in caves, spending life on the run, away from home and peace and comfort.
He learned the value of allowing God to ease his anguish.

"Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.
From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee,
when my heart is overwhelmed:
 lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.Psalm 61:1-3

"I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.  
My help cometh from the Lord, which made Heaven and earth."
Psalm 121:1-2

God longs for us to turn to Him...for what we need.
For all we need.
He wants to be our Source.
He is sufficient.
He is enough.
To shut Him out, when we are hurting,
is to shut out the Healer.
To turn away from Him in search of alternate forms of relief
is to deny ourselves the very antidote to our problems.

It must grieve His heart deeply to watch us in our struggles.
To see us seeking...looking for what we need in all the wrong places.
To observe our never-ending quests for peace.

Peace is not found in a bottle, my friend.
It is not to be discovered in a pill.
There is no drug powerful enough to fill a human soul with blessed assurance.
That only comes from knowing Jesus and allowing Him to heal what is broken inside.

Know God.  Know peace.
No God.  No peace.
Author Unknown



His is a peace that passes all understanding.
Regardless of outward circumstances, it remains.
Because it is not contingent on us or what we are going through.
It originates and emanates from the throne of God, which is unchanging and unmovable.

It is God's will that we face reality....square in the face.
He created our emotions.
Only He can repair them when they become torn...
and frayed...battered....bruised....ripped to shreds.
Glossing them over with false, make-believe happiness will only perpetuate the damage.

"He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds."
Psalm 147:3

Substances can deaden; 
only God can heal...from the source outward.

The most advanced modern medical equipment still has no capability to see a broken heart.
Only God can see that deep.
Only God can truly mend and heal something that remote.
To find and indulge in oblivion is to deny God the opportunity to do what He is meant to do
and to deny ourselves what we need the most.

It may be the quickest way to eliminate discomfort,
but taking the easy way out is not always in our best interest.
It turns out to be not so easy.
Because it leads to deeper, bigger problems.

How many people have ended up substance-addicted
because they started out to just find a quick dose of relief?
In the end, they would have been better off to keep it real.

I know it hurts.
I am aware of the agony.
Let God heal.
Allow Him to wrap His arms around you....
when the waves are overwhelming,
when you can barely breathe...
as it takes everything you have to force yourself past the barrier to come up for a gasp of air.

Fall into His arms.
Experience the balm of Gilead.
Relax in His grip.
Let Him do what He so longs to do.

He wants to make you whole.
To pick up every broken, shattered piece,
and fit every crushed part of you....
all back together again.

It is a process.
His way does not happen overnight.
You will walk the lonesome valley...
every stage of grief...
every phase of healing....
but you will never walk it by yourself.
Never.
He will walk every pain-filled, anguished step...with you...alongside of you.
And in those moments you stumble and cannot walk,
He will gently lift you up....and carry you in His arms.

"The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms..."
Deuteronomy 33:27

If you find yourself at the end of your endurance,
may I encourage you to make the right choice?
God's way is real....healing....restoration....peace.
It is honest.
There is no deception.
No false hope.
He created you.
He knows you....
your history,
the reasons for your pain,
the deepness of your wounds.
Let the One Who made you make you whole.
His way is the right way....to escape your trials.
His way is truth....


and the truth will set you free.

12 comments:

  1. Hi Cheryl! Thanks for your sweet comment on my blog and for linking up again! You are so right...God is the answer and the best salve for our wounds. Right now I'm going through a painful season and I know what you mean about wanting to numb the pain, but those things are only temporary (and can cause more pain!) Running to the Lord is always the best medicine! He comforts, walks beside us, gives us peace and strength for the journey. I am so thankful for Him and His word! Did you get a chance to check out and download the prayer cards I offered on my blog? (They're free for my readers.) I decided to type up the encouraging verses and my prayers that have brought me closer to God during challenging times, hoping that others would find encouragement as they prayed.. God offers such hope...and I am clinging to Him!

    In His grip, Joan

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    1. Bless your dear heart! I am so sorry you are passing through one of those painful seasons of life. It seems we have been in one, also for the past few years. We are finding His grace to be real...and sufficient...as I am sure you are, too. I saw the prayer cards on your blog and would love to download and print them, but our printer is out of commission at the moment! Hopefully, we will be able to print again soon. Thank you for taking such time and effort to make something so valuable available to others! May the dear Lord bless you and surround you in His arms as you cling tightly to Him. Love, Cheryl

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  2. "Let the One who made you make you whole." Love this! I think this post ties into the one I wrote today which talks about overcoming by trusting in the Ultimate Overcomer, Jesus. Thank you for sharing these words. They are truth and life. Blessings!

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    1. Thank you so much, Angel! So glad and thankful you stopped by. Praise our dear Lord for being our Overcomer! Love, Cheryl

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  3. What a great post. "Had I deadened the pain, I would have killed my God-given ability to recognize I was in trouble." - what a true statement - spot on! Love the sign you had at the beginning - "Jesus knows me, this is Love" :)

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    1. Thank you SO much, Lisa. Your words blessed me so much! I am so thankful you stopped by and left encouragement behind. God be with you and keep you in His care! Love, Cheryl

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  4. This touched the inner core of my soul. I can so relate to it coz I had been through so much pain. I shared it now to Tell me a true story "Home again. From joysnotepad.blogspot.com
    Have a nice day and thanks for the God given words.

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    1. I am so glad you stopped by! I went to your site and read your entire story. God bless you for sharing your heart and being so transparent with your testimony. Surely He has brought you to this place to bless the lives of others. May He continue to use you as you seek to glorify Him. Love, Cheryl

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  5. So, so true. Thank you for posting.

    Thanks for linking with Woman to Woman's Word Filled Wednesday. God bless.

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    1. Thank you so much, Jenifer! I so appreciate your words of encouragement and the wonderful link-up. God bless you in a special way! Love, Cheryl

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  6. Thank you for your words. It was a good reminder for me that I need grace every day.

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    1. Thank you so much, Beth! So glad you stopped by and took the time to comment. Thank God for His amazing grace! Love, Cheryl

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