Head pounds? Take more Tylenol™

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It is a miserable headache. My body feels like I have been beaten. Do I like the pain? Of course not. But, it is a signal to me that a tiny virus has taken up residence with all those not so wonderful symptoms that go with the common head cold.  If pay attention, rest, and drink fluids, I will recover more quickly. If I ignore the pain I will prolong the misery.

Pain can be a gift to us when we recognize it as a signal that something is wrong, that corrective action is necessary. Touch a hot surface and instantly you hand pulls away as nerves flash a pain signal to your brain that causes you to react. Without the pain, your hand would be severely damaged, wouldn’t it?  Not all pain is physical.

We can know spiritual sickness, too. When our soul aches for meaning, when we cannot find peace of mind, when prayer becomes an afterthought, what does it mean? That is when we need discernment, perhaps even a wise counselor to help us. An aching heart can be caused by guilt, the conviction of the Holy Spirit asking us to turn around.  Waking up with a sense of futility signals a time to renew our pursuit of God’s plans. When we are substituting momentary delight for eternal purpose, wasting precious days, God will call us to look higher.  And, yes, an aching soul may be signaling some place of unforgiveness, some unresolved conflict from long ago, some place where our heart is resisting God, the Spirit!

Our medicine cabinets are full of chemicals that mask our pain. I can take some Tylenol and a nasal decongestant and fool my body into thinking I am better, but all I have really done is hide the symptoms.  Pain relievers are not healing, they just temporarily turn off the pain signal. That’s not all bad if we take steps to deal with the issue that causes us pain at the same time. Tragically there are things that we can turn to that mask the pain in our hearts. We can stir up angry rage, which hides our pain. We can run to gourmet delights and find some temporary relief.  We can go and buy new clothes and numb our ache, for a while.

Jesus says, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29, NLT) Don’t be too quick to dismiss that prescription! We need to practice soul health.  That includes regularly getting together with others to worship the Lord.  In all the demands of our busy 2019 lives, we must faithfully find ourselves in quiet times of reflective prayer.  We can, we should, turn over our cares and concerns to the One who knows all our tomorrows. The Spirit of God will lead us to love, to forgive, and will call us to repentance.  This will give us the kind of spiritual health that allows us to clearly know the difference between the junk and the treasure in life.

As with most healing, the pain of our soul is seldom relieved in an instant. Rather, God heals us from the inside out as we learn to live in ways that are spiritually healthy. Here’s a word from the Word. Read it thoughtfully, prayerfully today. There’s a lot of soul food in it!

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.


And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”
-1 Peter 5:6-10, NIV

_______

Living Hope
(A song to turn our hearts to His healing promise)

How great the chasm that lay between us
How high the mountain I could not climb
In desperation I turned to heaven
And spoke Your name into the night
Then through the darkness Your loving-kindness
Tore through the shadows of my soul
The work is finished the end is written
Jesus Christ my living hope

Who could imagine so great a mercy
What heart could fathom such boundless grace
The God of ages stepped down from glory
To wear my sin and bear my shame
The cross has spoken I am forgiven
The King of kings calls me His own
Beautiful Savior I’m Yours forever
Jesus Christ my living hope

Hallelujah praise the One who set me free
Hallelujah death has lost its grip on me
You have broken every chain
There’s salvation in Your name
Jesus Christ my living hope

Then came the morning that sealed the promise
Your buried body began to breathe
Out of the silence the Roaring Lion
Declared the grave has no claim on me

Jesus Yours is the victory
Jesus Christ my living hope
Oh God You are my living hope

Brian Johnson | Phil Wickham © 2017 Phil Wickham Music (Fair Trade Music Publishing [c/o Essential Music Publishing LLC])

Simply Global Songs (Fair Trade Music Publishing [c/o Essential Music Publishing LLC])

Sing My Songs (Fair Trade Music Publishing [c/o Essential Music Publishing LLC])

Bethel Music Publishing

CCLI License # 810055

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