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If you're anything like me you have keepsakes stored in a box. You know the whereabouts of the box. You know its contents are valuable. But true sentiment lies dormant until once again you hold near what is dear. The same is true for familiar Bible verses. We know where they are. We know they are meaningful. But until we "take them out of the box" we forget their sovereignty.
Today lets hold a keepsake up to the light and appreciate anew the brilliance of its promise and power.
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; he has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison doors to those who are bound (Isaiah 61: 1 NKJV).
I see four facets of a priceless jewel:
- Salvation- God sent His only Son to give us something we do not have to strive for--eternal life through the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. (Good news!)
- Healing- In addition to eternal life, Christ desires to heal our broken hearts. (Hope and healing.)
- Confession- Under no condemnation we are free to confess our sins (and our sinful reactions to betrayal and abuse.) Here, survivors willingly embrace a journey where liberty is received over the emotions and destructive patterns that hold them captive. (Liberty.)
- Reconciliation: We are pardoned for sins committed against God, neighbor, and self. Christ opens the prison doors of "those who are bound." In time, we are empowered to forgive as Jesus commands--from the heart. (Forgiveness.)
As surely as Jesus insists that forgiveness come from the heart, He is intent on healing that same heart when it's too broken to forgive. Do you know what this means? It means that what happened to you matters a great deal to Him. But if you refuse to acknowledge the pain--and how you cope with it, you'll miss the beauty of this priceless truth. And the truth is, if Jesus appeared today He wouldn't be standing in a corner, tapping his foot, waiting for you to hurry up and forgive. Can't forgive TODAY? Relax.
Just two days ago, I found myself weary and angry at God. When I mentioned this to two sister-friends a look of concern came over their faces as if to say, "You shouldn't be mad at God." Without hesitation, I replied, "It's okay to be mad at God. He's big, and He can take it." This comment gave way to gentle smiles.
I don't have "three points and a poem" for you today. I'm not at all compelled to tell you how you should or shouldn't feel. To write in such a way that it overshadows what God wants you to see in yourself as it relates to Isaiah 61:1 is not my M.O.
I write how I see it. Four facets of a priceless jewel to illustrate how the brilliance of each pierces through personal weariness and quiets my source of anger: lack of control. Always, always, lack of control.
What do YOU see?
You are not alone,
Published on Sunday, August 4, 2019 @ 8:13 AM CDT
"When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said, 'Do you really want to be made well'" (John 5:6)?
In 1997 I wanted to be made well. I'd made several poor life choices, and the consequences had gained frightening momentum. Dizzy from the merry-go-round of dysfunction, I wanted off. But I was afraid. I was afraid because I was in love. Never mind that "Mr. Right" was drug addicted, and I was fiercely codependent. (Someone once said the horns in his head fit the holes in mine.) Fair enough.
Godly love moves mountains. Our "love" was a destructive vortex of unhealed wounds mixed with terrific fun. There were times I half expected to find my car in a tree after we'd spent the day together. We were SO in love. Other times this thing we called love buckled my knees and left me sifting through the rubble in search of my heart.
He'd manage to put a little clean time together; bond with my children, only to disappear on another drug run. Meanwhile, I cried day and night. Wildly anxious over his whereabouts, I robbed my children of an emotionally stable environment. I longed to jump off the merry-go-round, but I feared jumping without him. So, round and round we went.
Did I really want to heal? I believed I did. My pain was real. My tears authentic. I wanted to be a better mother to my two sons. But truth is, I didn't want to take the necessary steps for lasting change without a guarantee that the relationship would survive. He wasn't willing to give up drugs. I wasn't willing to surrender the relationship to God. Hmm . . . did I really want to be made well?
I believe Jesus asked the crippled man if he wanted to heal, not to challenge the desire itself, but rather his resolve to do something different. Something that required a change in the signature rhythms of how he survived from one day to the next. And past that, the outcome.
The man was not merely isolated by the pool of water. He saw others as stronger than himself--a relational dynamic he'd participated in for years. Oftentimes we hesitate to be made well because there's no promise that the people we love will love us back if we heal. It only takes one person to change the dynamic of a relationship. Change is frightening because it calls us to die to our attachment to a desired outcome.
We've all heard the expression "water seeks its own level." Healthy people are not attractive to unhealthy people. And so fear sets in. We fear our drug-addicted loved one will choose to remain addicted and end the relationship. Often times, this leads to our own regression. Yep, we sabotage the progress we've made for fear of being alone.
This closing statement is for you to ponder in the loving presence of God. If you can identify with it, more will be revealed. What you do with what God reveals is up to you.
P.S. You can do it!! God does not ask us to stop loving a person who is drug-addicted. He asks us to love others as we love ourselves.
You are not alone,
Published on Tuesday, July 23, 2019 @ 10:27 AM CDT