I recall their little faces when I promised playground time once we had finished all of our necessary classroom activities. It was what they looked forward to after a hard day of rigorous brain work. Running. Swings. Monkey bars. The opportunity to be outside, have fun, and just be kids. I knew how much they looked forward to it and it gave me such pleasure to see their excitement as they packed up early and lined up to hit the yard. In fact, I understood their desire to go on the playground so much that I made sure to periodically work it into our schedule so that they could enjoy it.
There’s an interesting detail that I left out of this typical scenario. I often announced playground time as a way to help my kids stay on track. If they knew in advance what I had planned for them, it often motivated them to keep their eyes on the prize while attacking their classwork and other responsibilities in a more focused way. There was always at least one student who continued to ask about going outside. Upon the asking, I would remind him or her of what I had already promised. Sometimes, that reminder would be in a look that said, “Seriously, kid? I already told you.” Sometimes, other classmates would chime in trying to understand why this kid was asking. Sometimes, I would give a playful answer for amusement or to redirect him or her. Sometimes, I would say to myself, “Self, these kids never listen.”
At the outset, this student may come off as annoying or one who possibly wasn’t paying close attention to my initial promise. But, at a much closer glance, one might surmise that, perhaps, this student decided to track with me to ensure that I didn’t forget my promise or renege on my promise in any way. This kid wanted to make sure that he or she did not miss out on any part of the promise, so he or she aligned his or her desire with mine and persisted in making sure that he or she got to live out the reality of that promise. This kid was just making sure that he or she received exactly what I said I would do for him or her.
Wait right there.
In Matthew 15:21-28, Jesus encountered a woman who was not even of the Israelite nation. She approached Him, called Him Lord and Son of David (the Messiah), and simply asked Him to have mercy on her by healing her daughter who was possessed by a demon. At first, He didn’t answer her. Then, his disciples suggested that He send her away because she was pestering them. However, Jesus told them, in so many words, that he was only sent to the lost sheep of Israel. She responded by continuing to ask for help. He came back at her by saying that it wasn’t fair to give her (not of the house of Israel) things which belonged to those of Israel. She responded to this by telling Him that even pet dogs (who don’t belong at their master’s table) benefit from the crumbs that fall from the table.
At first glance, you might think that Jesus was being rude to this woman who had a true need, but if you choose to take a second or third, much closer glance, you may discover something different and super significant.
This approached Jesus in a way that demonstrated that she knew who He was–Lord and the Messiah. She came to Him in a bold way and asked Him to do something for her that she had possibly, previously witnessed or heard about. She believed in who He was and this fueled her position on asking. He engaged her as He did in the presence of His disciples and whoever else was there because He knew that her demonstration of faith would be a powerful example to those who witnessed it. I believe He had already decided to answer her desire to have her daughter healed, but He chose to pull back the curtains to display what raw faith in Him looks like. She stood her ground and continued to ask because she knew who she was talking to. She knew that what she wanted–needed could only come from Him and she intended to receive what only He could give. She chose to track with Jesus until He came through on her behalf. I am sure that someone’s faith was strengthened as a result.
Yep. You better go ahead and shout right here…
Listen, don’t you forget that God already has great plans in mind for you. We can’t even begin to conceptualize how awesome and detailed these plans are! He has blessings stored up for us that we are able to unlock and release with our simple faith in Him. There are some things that we just have to believe Him for. We have to choose to go the distance with Him. We have to want what He has promised badly enough that we are willing to track with Him, stay beside Him, cast aside what everybody else is saying, and be willing to continue to ask. He wants to engage us, not be our personal Santa Claus or genie, granting wishes apart from a relationship. He wants our faith in Him to draw others to Him.
And since you are in relationship with Him, you can talk to Him. You can tell Him exactly how you feel and what you are thinking. You can have that open dialogue about your life and purpose and opportunities and decisions. You don’t have to feel as if shouldering all of life is completely up to you.
It’s time for something new. Demonstrate your faith today by engaging your Heavenly Father in real, honest, frank, open conversation. Don’t be afraid to ask and keep on asking! Get all that He has in store for you! Go there with God. And when you go there, His Holy Spirit will guide you, team up with you, release you from the burden of working it all out for yourself, renew your mind, and restore your soul.
Put your name in this verse. May you experience God like never before!
“Jesus gave in. ‘Oh, woman, your faith is SOMETHING ELSE. What you want is what you get?’ Right then her daughter became well.” (MSG)
Peace, love, and only God’s best!
“Everyone hurts and goes through pain. Whatever’s first, it feels the same. Be young or poor, old age or fame. Know this for sure, everyone hurts, we all feel pain.” --Kirk Franklin
Recently, while using a brand-new, extremely sharp knife to cut onions for a dish I was preparing, I sliced the palm of my hand quite nicely. Although it was not a huge cut, it bled profusely. I thought it would never stop bleeding; however, it finally did. Over the course of a some weeks, the area changed colors, become tough, and produced new skin in place of the old severed skin. Today, a scar and a bit of discoloration still remain that remind me of that day. I must admit that now I feel some kind of way about using that knife. It wasn’t the knife’s fault. It performed its duty well, just on the wrong subject. It was an accident. It produced a wound. However, over time, the wound eventually healed.
You know where I’m going….
Did you know that your body, your fearfully and wonderfully-made body is designed to heal itself once it has been wounded? Yes! It sounds crazy, but it is true! For example, a break or tear in the skin due to an injury or an accident creates a way for infection to set in if germs are able to get inside the body through the wound. However, once the body recognizes that it has been wounded, a blood clot forms at the wound site to stop the bleeding, which eventually dries to form a scab that will protect the site from germs and infection. This protection comes as the immune system begins a process of fighting to prevent infection and repairing the site. It does this by bringing oxygen and nutrients for healing. Over time, broken blood vessels are repaired and new tissue grows as the broken area draws in and becomes smaller and smaller. Eventually, the scab will fall off, revealing new skin. A scar may remain to tell the story.
“Everyone hurts, everyone falls. We let love in, still heartbreak calls. Tell me, how much can my soul take? We make mistakes, we hurt, we need amazing grace.”
Like that amazingly sharp knife I was using, life can also be sharp. Throughout the course of life, emotional wounds like negative words cut into our psyches. Bad experiences lacerate our self-images. Unintended consequences pierce our determination. Gloomy outlooks mutilate our best intentions. Unforeseen circumstances puncture our hope, leaving us with wounds that bleed profusely. Cuts. Scrapes. Burns. Sores. Punctures. Wounds that are painful. Sometimes, it’s even difficult to stop the bleeding. Emotional wounds have a way of cutting deep into areas of our hearts and appear to cause irreparable damage.
“Everyone hurts, we all ask why. Sinner or saint, everyone tries. Life cuts so deep, feels like you’re dying. No cross, no crown, can’t give up now, please heal tonight.”
Get ready to shout because here’s the skinny on the matter: Just like a physical wound can heal, that wound in your life can heal. God knows about those cuts and scrapes. He knows about those punctures and burns. He is familiar with your wounds. The ones that happened on accident and the ones that were intentionally inflicted on us. The ones that came as a result of our own choices and the ones that came by no fault of our own. He wants us to turn to Him with our wounds because He can and will heal us.
He. Will. Heal. You.
Our physical healing processes, although effective, are not always pretty. While that wound is healing, it often looks strange, out of place, or even grotesque. Likewise, God’s healing process is not typically a walk in the park. However, when we turn our wounds over to Him, He stops the bleeding and creates a clot and a scab to protect your heart. He does this because emotional wounds impact the core of who we are. Healing means that He has to deal with what’s beneath the surface (emotions, thoughts, mindsets, personal outlooks, fears, pain, various residue as a result of the wound, etc.) while protecting it from possible outside invasion that can lead to infection and deeper damage to who you are as you heal.
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds [healing their pain and comforting their sorrow].” Psalm 147:3 AMP
And when the healing process is complete, something new emerges. New thoughts. New perspectives. New insights. New understandings. New reality. New faith. New courage. New joy. New peace. New outlook. New life!
“So we pray tonight that you don’t get weak. And please pray that I don’t forget what I believe. ‘Cause these days are hard and faith sometimes is work. Pray until He heals the hurt. I trust God will heal the hurt….”
It’s no secret that we will be hurt in this life. That is a certainty. It’s also no secret that He will heal EVERY wound that is left by ANY hurt. And sometimes a scar will remain. A scar that tells the story. The story of hurt. The story of healing. He will give you an opportunity to tell your story of how He healed your hurt.
And it will give another grateful soul the strength to continue this journey with a little bit more hope.
“Pray until He heals the hurt. I trust God will heal the hurt.”
Be blessed and be a blessing!
You can call me Jenn. Let's sit on the front porch, grab a tall glass of sweet tea, and chat about life. I communicate through writing and I so enjoy the conversations that squeeze out of my thoughts and words. I especially look forward to hearing your responses to my thoughts and words that spark other conversations, peak interest, and inspire change.