Yesterday was arguably my least favorite sermon in a while, but one of my most needed, at least for me.
From Matthew 8, we recapped the four groups of people Jesus had healed – a leprous Jew, a Gentile centurion’s servant, Peter’s mother-in-law, and the crowds.
We noticed that Jesus was asked to do so in four different ways – directly, on behalf of someone, going to them and them coming to Him.
We noticed that Jesus did so in four different ways – a forbidden touch, a distant word, a tender touch, and through other ways of which we’re not told.
Many know that Jesus healed physical things to prove He could heal our unseen wounds of sin in & on our lives. And yesterday I challenged myself and us on what we weren’t trusting Jesus to heal in our life. Many of us know it, but its worth being said, being challenged, and truly introspecting on what we need to let Jesus into that we haven’t yet.
Most importantly, I challenged us to refocus our view of our scars, that instead of being ashamed and afraid to revisit them, allow Jesus to change our perspective. After all, Jesus Himself has scars. How could Jesus use our scars to His glory if we let Him change our perspective from being ashamed to being empowered to help?
A few additional thoughts on my thoughts yesterday:
Do I believe everything I preached yesterday? Absolutely, though as I admitted I don’t do it well all the time. For those very concerned with what I’m going through let me assure you I’m fine and I appreciate your concern – I’m just on the process, the journey of doing this myself. It’s hard to deal with emotional, mental, spiritual pain, especially when you’ve been hurt over and over again.
But we must remember two things. First, we must remember that problems never are solved on the same level on which they’re created. Jesus helps us rise above the level of our problems by transforming our perspective from our own eyes to His eyes, from our own heart to His heart. Sometimes this process takes years, but it will never happen unless started.
Secondly, we must remember that a problem can never be solved without facing it. Just the other day one of my sons spilled something, and instead of trying to clean it up he ran clear across the house to tell me about it. Now he’s four, so he did the best thing he knew, but often we do this very thing as adults. When we’re hurt, too often we run to someone else to talk about it or simply run away, which is a reason why some pain never truly gets dealt with. Its easier in the short term to run and talk about it, but harder in the long term to overcome without facing it and dealing with it, particularly from a heavenly perspective.
Let me also say that by turning to Jesus and praying for your pain doesn’t mean it’ll go away magically. We still must act. By praying, allowing Jesus in and taking Him with us allows Him to transform us as we need from the inside out while we also must sometimes work from the outside in.
Do not, do not, DO NOT be afraid to seek professional help in the form of counselors, psychologists, medical doctors, ministers, or other forms of mental health professionals when dealing with our pain & scars. You’re not broken or any less faithful if your physiology has taken you into depression from an event and you benefit from medication. Just as a broken arm won’t be instantly healed by prayer, nor probably heal correctly without a surgeon’s care, mental health issues beyond being able to talk it out and let time heal require help. There’s no shame in that.
Arguably you’re not taking care of your God-gifted body if you are not doing everything in your power to take care of it, mental health included. Jesus never promises to “fix” everything according to our definition, and indeed faith sometimes means we take action in faith praying for Jesus to guide us through the journey. And that is good.
I pray that as we move forward in faith we always let Jesus in every part of our lives, and therefore let Him make every part of our lives more like Him. It’s hard, but well worth the journey and yes, even the pain. I’m praying for you. Grace to you.