I have come across several writings this week and they all had much to say on the subject of struggles, pain and healing. A huge amount of focus was given to struggles and pain, while unfortunately, not enough emphasis was given to the subject of healing. There also seems to be a common theme among popular christian speakers and artists that place an emphasis on struggles as a christian. (Please understand I am not talking about christians being persecuted for their faith)
Each time I hear this message in a song or hear it spoken or written, it seems to give me an uneasy feeling. Why is this? Why do I feel an urge to scream when this message is taught?
After being brought out of slavery, the Israelites were grumbling because they could not find any water to drink. Moses cried out to God and He provided sweet water from a piece of wood that was thrown in with the bitter water. Then, God told them:
“If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.”
Then, the Israelites were brought to Elim, where there were 12 springs and 70 palm trees. Remember, they were in the desert! God provided what they needed at that time and more. He kept them from being thirsty and also provided a cool place to camp. How can we ever doubt God’s desire to provide everything that we need, mind, body and spirit, after reading this incredible story?
I have had my own share of challenges lately, so I am not writing this as someone who doesn’t understand what it means to be in pain or to suffer. I have felt it! But what I am to focus on? The pain, the suffering? I can’t.
Jesus told the parable about the shepherd and his flock:
“I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” John 10:1-5
Then Jesus said to them:
“I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thiefs and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate, all who enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:7-10
This passage reminds me to cling to Him, not the pain, not the struggle, but to Him. It is only through Him that I will have the life that has been provided and have that life to it’s fullest. When we cling to the struggles and then speak only those things that pertain to the struggle, are we not placing ourselves in a position of making it difficult to turn away from it and in the end, be healed? If we have created an identity with the struggle, will we even want to be healed?
My choice- To cling to God, no matter what occurs. I would much rather live a life believing for the miraculous touch of the hand of God, than believe it is His will for me to live a life of pain and suffering.
The thief steals. Jesus Christ came so that I might live!