Maybe you're more spiritual than me, but I still struggle with things, mainly depression. I'm growing, and I'm so much farther than I used to be. The reason I share this is because I know how the enemy works. He’s constantly trash talking, and unfortunately we still often buy into the trash he tries to feed us. Think about it—if the enemy can get the hopeful to become hopeless, then the hopeless will never experience the HOPE of Jesus. I'm a sucker for self-pity and looking at my own pain from time to time. Let me say there is a time to press into your pain, but always with Jesus. (It’s also helpful to have a trusted friend or counselor to talk to.) For some people, their internal pain / depression is chemically based. We would never fault someone who had diabetes for taking insulin. Nor should look down on those who need medication for any struggle. However, depression can also have spiritual and emotional causes or factors which can complicate the chemical issues.
Pain sucks. No one likes it, and we all try to avoid it at any cost. The problem is we will never escape pain until the restoration of all things is fully manifested in Jesus. This is the HOPE we all have been given. JESUS is the HOPE of the world —even your internal world. I know what it's like to get sucked in to the trash talk of the enemy and find myself wallowing in the dump of despair. The truth is we are all wounded healers. We are growing into Christ. We all have pain and hardship, and we will all face trials, tribulations, and loss. But we all must choose who is Lord: the pain, the struggles, the sickness, or Jesus!
Sometimes I allow the pain to be more real than Jesus. But when I listen to his voice and I look to him, I see the pain in a different way. I see an opportunity to be a reflection of his hope and allow the pain not to rule but to fuel a deep place of compassion for others. A wise friend once said feelings are great servants but horrible masters. I would agree. The enemy always distorts and perverts God- given gifts so he can try to rule us. We all have feelings. Don’t ever ignore them, but never allow them to rule you. Embrace the pain and trust in Jesus. Never allow the pain to become Lord.
I hate to admit this, but I've spent the last few days wallowing and allowing the pain to rob me of His peace, joy, and grace to be a reflection of Him. I was wallowing in the pain of the last year dealing with Tyler’s sickness (BTW, he is doing amazing) and my own physical sickness and disappointment. That crafty
serpent slithered his way into a weak moment. The enemy always looks for those weak times that he might devour you in hopelessness and despair. So I bit into the rotten fruit that looked desirable but was full of self-pity.
My personal insight into this kind of war is not to spend your time fussing or telling the enemy to stop. He loves the attention. You might feel strong at first like your really kicking it to the enemy, but it's a trap.
The best way to fight is to submit to God, resist the enemy, and then he will flee. You war by submitting, resting, worshiping, and remembering who He is and who you are. You resist the enemy by submitting. The best way to submit and resist is to go and do what he has called you to be: HOPE for the hopeless. God takes the weak and foolish things of the world (the chaos you’re going through) and turns it around for your good and His glory.
So yesterday, after spending most of the day exhausted from the junk food of the enemy I had been feeding on, a friend texted me about needing prayer. My heart wanted to go pray for the person, but I let my mind be poisoned. I thought, what do I have to give? I was so tired. I just slept instead. Then when I woke up, I remembered my friend’s text, and I struggled through the feelings and inner commentary. I heard a very slight whisper in the midst of the tornadic emotions and feelings. The whisper was faint compared to the storm of emotions and thoughts. The whispering voice said, “Go be light and love. Remember who I AM and who you are in me.”
So I fought through the debris of my mind and emotions and remembered my promise to my friend. I got off my bed of self pity, pain, and despair. I got dressed and headed out the door on my way to pray for the friend. All along the way, I felt the tornadic emotion of despair, shame, and my own pain. But I just kept submitting to the whisper of hope. Hope started to be easier to hear and pay attention to, even with all the windy lies blowing through my emotions. I felt their fury all the way to the hospital until I stepped into the room to pray. It was a sweet time of praying and just talking. As I left I noticed a woman who needed help, so I ran over to assist her. She was so grateful.
I hopped into my truck, ready to go back home. I could hear the seducing entrapment of emotional pain trying it's best to slither its ways back into my thinking. Then I heard this whisper, “Go downtown.” Faith hit my heart. I didn't know what was downtown, but I knew the Holy Spirit was up to something for my good and His Glory. So I started driving toward downtown, called Jeanine, and she said, “Yes, go.” So I called my friend Scott Galbraith and asked if he wanted to go with me downtown, maybe to the ER to love on people, then go to to a pub and hang out. Scott said sure, so we met up downtown and headed over to OU ER. We spend the next two hours just loving on and praying for healing. We saw serval people's pain and fear go as we just stepped out into His commissioning.
We prayed and loved on and listened to people as they shared their lives. We saw several people touched powerfully as the Lord gave us prophetic words of
encouragement. We saw gripping pain from sickness leave. As we were praying for one guy, a lady came in screaming, “Help me! Help me! I don't want to lose my baby! I've been in a horrible accident!” Scott and I ran to her and helped her find her way through the emergency room to check in. It was crazy—no one seemed to help. I just kept praying for her, speaking peace, and letting her know Jesus was right with her. She just kept crying out and thanking me for helping. All the nurses were busy elsewhere. The young lady collapsed in my arms. Finally, a nurse got her a wheel chair, and I helped her sit down and just kept praying, asking her where the pain was, and helped her communicate to the nurse. She did her best to rest as she laid her head on my arm, saying, “I can't lose my baby. It’s the only thing I have to live for.” She had cut marks all over her arms. She was in so much pain. I finally was able to get her calmed down and checked in. Then her boyfriend came in.
As we were walking back through the ER, I walked by a lady, and the Lord gave me a word about a condition in her back, which I shared with her. She said, “That’s why I'm in the ER.” I asked if I could pray for her back, so Scott and I prayed for her. She had a leg shorter than the other from an accident, and she and her friend watched as it grew out. She was so shocked. All the pain was gone! We just shared the gospel with her and found out she was in a mission home and was trying to turn her life around. We prayed over her as the presence of the Lord came upon her. It was so sweet. She couldn't believe what just happened. She was thanking Jesus!
As we left her, we saw a woman in severe pain. We asked if we could pray for her. She nodded and whispered, clenching her teeth, saying, “I’m having back spasms.” Tears of pain and fear were just rolling down her cheeks. Scott and I just began to speak to the pain, and we watched as the pain began to go. She kept saying, “Thank you, Jesus. Thank you.” The pain had gone down so much that she was able to sit down. We prayed more and just loved on her. The pain left. Then we prayed for a sharp pain in her kidneys and watched it leave. A deep peace came all over her—so much so that she started to fall asleep. She just kept thanking Jesus. It was amazing.
We walked out, and Scott and I found a few more people to pray for. We watched the Lord come and touch people and pain leave. As we were ready to leave, I saw two women standing out front. I asked them if I could pray for them. One of the ladies said, “Please pray for me. I have terminal cancer, shingles, and herpes.” I asked if she was in pain. She looked at me and said, “My pain is off the charts.” So I began to pray, and the presence of the Lord came upon this woman. I had to hold her up several times so she wouldn't fall. She kept feeling surges of power and heat go through her body, and the pain started to go down. She told me she could feel heat and tingling go through her body, and finally all the pain left. She was so amazed, and I just told her this was the love of Jesus. I asked her where her faith was in Jesus, and she said, “Oh, I love him!” She was so grateful for the
prayer. I asked her if I could give her a kiss on the forehead. She just leaned into me and said yes. She walked back to her room with no pain.
Scott and I decided to go to a local pub and just hang out a bit. While we were there, the Holy Spirit spoke to me about a condition in a guy’s back. He was so taken back that I knew what was going on with him. His named was James. I told James to let me see his hand. I said, “Thank you, Jesus, for healing his back.” The presence of God came all over him to the point that I had to hold him. Then he fell forward on our table as Scott and I caught him. He shook his head and said, “The pain is all gone! I just had a God encounter!”
We all struggle through things, and we have the choice to stay paralyzed and defeated in that struggle or become hope for those around us who are as desperate for hope and healing as we are. Yes, it's true--you might be a wounded healer. But you are never a hopeless victim. Stepping out of your hopelessness may be the key for someone else to experience a God encounter. So go and be a voice of HOPE to the hopeless, and you'll find yourself strengthened in HIS HOPE flowing through you.