Every so often, we endure situations that break us but that do not kill us. They are so painful that we wonder if we shall ever make it ‘out of here’ this time. These situations usually remind me of an ‘illness’ and the rest that must follow during and after it.
“Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”
“for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no-one will fall by following their example of disobedience”.
Entering the rest of GOD is something that is hard for most of us. Sometimes, we ‘work’ so hard that resting is simply not an option! The ‘rest’ that I am talking about is what happens when you choose to ‘get away from ‘it’ all’ until you 'heal'! You get away from the anger, the pain, the bitterness, and all those painful emotions that result from being hurt. These emotions are what I sometimes refer to as brokenness – you get undone. Each one of us has a breaking point. However, as we grow in our walk with Christ, the breaking points become fewer. I am yet to find out if we will ever grow so much that we stop breaking.
Nonetheless, sometimes we refuse to break – we resist it. It is unfortunate that this resistance is tantamount to hardening one’s heart. We should be pliable to brokenness so that we can enjoy the healing power of GOD as we choose to rest in Him.
Sometimes, we suffer from particular sicknesses and take the necessary medication prescribed to us. Doctors then advise us to ‘take it slow’ and that we must not ‘get up too soon’. However, some of us do not know how to rest – in fact, as soon as we can stand up and support ourselves, we up and GO! Sometimes, we get away with it but at other times, we do not because it catches up with us and we succumb to the same illness again!
“Bitterly she weeps at night, tears are upon her cheeks. Among all her lovers there is none to comfort her. All her friends have betrayed her; they have become her enemies. After affliction and harsh labour, Judah has gone into exile. She dwells among the nations; she finds no resting place. All who pursue her have overtaken her in the midst of her distress.
Brokenness is a place of tears, betrayal by friends, affliction, lack of comfort and exile. It is a place that you cannot call your own – it is not your ‘resting place’. Brokenness is actually a place of distress where your enemies have pursued you and overtaken you! It is a place in which you admit seeming ‘defeat’ and choose to return to the GOD of all peace. This place is one in which you feel the nails been dug into your flesh – your ‘flesh’ feels the pain!
Now, I relate this to our spiritual and emotional lives as well. Sometimes, things happen to us that derail us for a while but because we think that we need to pretend that everything is just fine, we get up too soon! I have found this not to be good at all. If we ‘get up’ too soon we stand the risk of not ‘recovering fully’ from that ‘illness’ or falling sick again after a very short time!
Of course, it is not easy for someone as ‘busy’ as you and I are to rest but GOD Himself tells us to enter His rest! It is no wonder, therefore, that He rested on the seventh day and that He tells us to do so as well! We must rest from our ‘work’, and be still and know that He is indeed GOD! Of course, there are so many things that we should be doing and that are linked to the area we operate in from which the brokenness accrued, but rest we must. This rest enables us to allow the healing process to go on without a hitch.
The ‘emotional and spiritual illnesses’ are my main concern today. In life, we meet people who break us by their words, actions, or even inactivity even as we too do our own ‘breaking’. If we are on the receiving end, nevertheless, those who break us move on without a care in the world. It is true that they may not know that they hurt us but even if they do, they will continue doing so for as long as they have access to us.
Subsequently, it is imperative for us to allow ourselves to hurt or grieve but also to ‘heal’ – we must enter HIS REST. Unfortunately, as Christians, we ‘program’ ourselves into believing that it is not right for us to hurt or to take some time off to ‘deal with this’ and that is why most of us break under the strain. We must allow ourselves to hurt so that we can grow past it and so that we can take some much deserved time off to heal. We are not superwoman, batman, or any of those cartoon characters – we are human and human beings hurt and hurt one another.
“...for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong”.
What breaks us most is denying, to ourselves as well as to others, that ‘that really hurt me’. Some Christians believe that admitting that we are hurt is a sign of weakness and, YES, it is. However, how then would GOD’S power be made manifest in us if we were not weak enough to receive it? For this reason, I will often look back and think to myself that, ‘I would never have made it through that if it had not been for GOD’.
You must realize that you cannot enter His rest for as long as you pretend that you are macho and that everyone else is the weak one...You can only enter His rest when you admit, to yourself, that ‘this is hard...it is so painful that I need to go away for a while...I need to heal’. However as long as you pretend that you are okay, yet you are not, GOD’S rest will be far from you. Therefore, today, I encourage you to feel the pain, hurt as much as you will and allow yourself to rest and grow past it.
“I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. He
has no hold on me.”
By the grace of GOD, I have learned to be silent when in this place. I do not allow myself to say anything at all – I sit in one place with my finger on my lips as an act of silence so that I can hear GOD more but also so that I can grow faster. I have also learned that the enemy has nothing on me provided I am silent. In fact, I will often allow myself to stay away from certain people or certain places so that I do not say what I should not say but more so so that I can heal better. It is my belief that the people who hurt us or break us are those that we should not allow near us during our rest. We need to feel the peace of the LORD again before we can allow them in. We must also be willing to forgive them and bless them because this is what GOD wants us to do but also because it is balm to our very own hearts. I have never been able to explain it but when I forgive my enemies and bless them, peace replaces the anxiety in my spirit.
In this resting place, I have also come to acknowledge something. The source of my pain may never change his or her stripes but if I am to continue dealing with the likes of him or her, I must be the one to change. I must be able to stand him or her. In other words, I must mature beyond the person who consistently causes me pain. This place is truly a place of growth for me even as it is my healing place. It enables me to see the areas in which I need to grow and then ask the Spirit of GOD to help me grow. You must realize that each ‘sickness’ makes me aware of the things I may or may not have done that ‘opened that door’. On this ‘sick bed’, I will also determine not to continue doing those things that caused this situation. I must not get out of ‘this’ the same way. I have to get out as a better person – that is the plunder that I, as the VICTOR, walks away with!
You must realize that just as choosing to rest is not easy and is a process, so is healing and growth. They do not happen overnight. However, I can determine how fast I heal by being still and silent but also being careful to do only that which GOD commands me to do. Sometimes, I do not feel fully recovered to return to the ‘arena’ or to do the things that GOD commands me to do but I must obey the Master. You see, part of my recovery has a lot to do with obedience even when I do not want to. I MUST never leave the resting place the same way I entered it. I must forgive and bless my enemies even as I must obey my Master.
I will also often remember and apply what I have come to know as the ‘measles example’ that the older generation has been gracious enough to share with me. Well, they say that even if measles is a very deadly disease and that some children do not survive it, it is better that a child suffers from it and recovers from it. You see, they say, that once someone has suffered from measles, he or she will never suffer from it again. I do not know what the Doctors call that. Anyway, I will often take every ‘ailment’ as a measles example. Once you have had it, you will not have it again provided you receive the right treatment for it and recover from it. Whatever, it is that breaks me accords me the right to heal from it and to decide that ‘I will never feel like this again’... ‘I will not return to this place’. This too, is part of my plunder as I return to my normal way of life.
The time comes, in my ‘resting place’, when I feel around me inside and realize that I HEALED and that it is time for me to return to the place where it all began. I will not rush into the arena, though, but will take ‘baby steps’ until I am sure of my bearings and stability. This time, as I step forward, I purpose to do things differently as I do them the way I have been taught to do them in the ‘resting place’.
May you, too, allow yourself to feel the brokenness but also to enter His rest. May you be still and silent as you rest from your works and get healed by the Master. May you obey His instructions as you rest and when it is time to return to the ‘arena’, may the grace of GOD go ahead of you.
Finally, I want you to realize that even though brokenness feels like defeat to you, GOD may see it differently. You may feel like you have been defeated but only because your flesh feels the pain.
Dear GOD, I admit that I am sometimes too proud to admit that I am hurting and that I am weak. Please forgive me. Give me the grace to allow myself to feel the pain and the hurt so that I can enter your rest. I pray that today I do not harden my heart but that I make it pliable to you. Help me to be still and silent as I learn to rest in you. Teach me to forgive and bless my enemies because that is what you require of me. Father, I also ask you to give me the grace to obey you and follow your instructions to the letter even though I may not want to.
Heavenly Father, may I also acknowledge that what I may see as defeat in the natural may actually be victory in your eyes. May I always see situations as you see them and may I follow you wholeheartedly as Caleb did. In JESUS’ name, I have prayed, amen.