Preview



Victorious Healing and Growth Through God's Grace

by Blackwood, Alison




Section 1:
Life Today

Seeking Balance in a Busy World

“Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance.”
Psalm 32:7

After an exhausting day accompanied by rush hour as we return home, we often experience fatigue and need to mentally refocus before facing another day.

Some people may feel that they are navigating through traffic as they respond to the demands placed on them by their colleagues, supervisors, and subordinates, who “honk” at those around them to move faster or to move out of the way.

With the many and sometimes conflicting deadlines and demands, unwelcome stress invites itself into our lives. Sometimes it seems that unless we shout, no one hears us or is aware that they might be stepping on our toes in their own quest to survive. But if everyone is shouting and crying for aid, who can hear us and who can help? The answer is found in Isaiah 65:24. God says, “Before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.”

Let us always remember that our individual circumstances are part of a bigger picture, and that God sees the full and complete picture.

But sometimes it is difficult to understand that God is listening. These feelings reveal the need for our belief and trust in our Creator to develop. In Mark 9:24 we read of a man who cried out to God to help his child. He said, “Lord, I believe; help … mine unbelief.” The man acknowledged his weaknesses, but he did not use his limitations as an excuse or a reason not to exercise the faith he already had. We must believe that God will hear us and will help us in our weak areas. If we accept God’s hope, our lives will reflect this hope. The extent to which we believe and trust God is important because we live according to what we believe.

Since we represent our beliefs in our actions, we may display a myriad of behaviors in the areas where we doubt and struggle. This can send conflicting signals to those around us and even to ourselves. Because our lives are made up of relationships with other people, it is easy for these relationships to be strained because of contradictory signals. All of this is added to the fast pace of life, where more time is spent on meeting deadlines and less time is spent on thinking about the impact of our actions on others.

As we go about our daily routine, let us be aware of how we treat the people with whom we interact. Sometimes there is such a big priority on achieving and moving ahead in life that our relationships with others can be negatively affected. Amidst our challenges and day-to-day routines, God wants us to come to Him and experience the comfort He alone provides. Though this may be difficult to do at times, we must aim to be like the man who asked God to help his unbelief. We need to ask God to help us in our areas of doubt. Let us always remember that our individual circumstances are part of a bigger picture, and that God sees the full and complete picture.

God knows and understands our struggles and pains, and He will offer us the refuge we need as we live each day. All we need to do is simply believe and trust that He is there for us.

Facing the Challenges of Life

“The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.”
Psalm 34:7

While holding her baby and walking next to her three-year-old daughter, a mother was confronted by a dog, which proceeded to jump all around her and her children. Clinging to her mother, the three-year-old girl was trying in her own way to get out of the reach of the dog, but the dog was bigger than the child.

The shouts from the woman did not distract the dog, but people living in the houses nearby heard the cries and came to their rescue. It is interesting to note that the woman and her two children were helpless until other people got involved in their situation and drove the dog away.

Unlike the man who came to Jesus knowing his problem (Mark 9:24), the woman was not aware that there was danger until the dog confronted her. She had no time to prepare or mentally brace herself for the danger. Sometimes experiences in life can leave us disoriented for a while. Sometimes it seems that we find ourselves trying to go in different directions at the same time. We try to spin at the pace created by a busy life, and it can sometimes cause us to faint or even to forget in which direction we should go.

Like the woman and her children, we can also be caught off guard by the dangers that confront us each day. We should not wait to go to Jesus when we feel a specific need, for we need God to walk with us at all times throughout the day. We need to ask Jesus to give us His wisdom and knowledge to deal with difficult situations, but we should not wait until the last moment to ask for guidance.

We are not equipped to face the problems alone when they arise. We need God’s protection, even if things appear to be calm. We may not feel threatened by an angry dog, but we will face many unexpected challenges. If we strive to keep God’s Word in our hearts, the Holy Spirit can bring to our remembrance Bible verses like “The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace” (Exod. 14:14), which will remind us not to depend on our own wisdom in these circumstances.

We need to be prudent in our daily associations. First Peter 5:8 tells us to “be sober, be vigilant.” Living in this world with the threat of our “adversary the devil, as a roaring lion … seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8), it should be realized that we need to seek God’s guidance for everything, even when decisions seem insignificant.

Though there are some situations we can’t avoid, we can take comfort in the fact that help is always available to us. God “encamps” around those who fear Him, and He will deliver us from all our challenges if we daily walk with Him.

Difficulties That Could Arise
in Our Relationships

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

Our knowledge and understanding of situations can impact the ways in which we deal with circumstances. Imagine seeing a cherished vase fall from the hands of someone we know. If we were aware that the person, while trying to save the vase from falling, lost their balance and their hand jolted resulting in the vase falling to the ground, we would possibly be sympathetic towards the person. We may, however, have opposite feelings if we felt the person willingly broke the vase or if the person tried to excuse what they did or downplay our hurt.

If we have traveled a road several times, it is realistic for us to expect to find the road accessible. But imagine while traveling the familiar road, we reach an impassable part of the road, and there were no warning signs. Similarly, this unexpected blockage can occur in relationships.

We expect our friends to be trustworthy, our family members to be dependable, and our colleagues to be team-oriented. These expectations are justifiable, but when we are hurt, we may struggle with the trust we placed in these people. When the relationship reaches a roadblock with or without warning, the dependable may become undependable.

Reading the Bible gives us a correct understanding of the sin problem and helps us to focus on seeking God’s solutions.

If we realize that the “blockage” is not deliberate and that our friend needs our patience during a difficult time in his or her life, we are likely to be more sympathetic. But if we realize that the person willfully did something to hurt us (such as breaking the vase), it can cause sadness and deep disappointment.

Having relationships with each other is a fundamental part of our human existence. And during such fundamental interactions, we can, at times, experience pain and hurt. It is always easy when things are going well in our relationships, but it is the conflicts that we may wish to avoid. However, these same conflicts can provide an opportunity for growth, as parties genuinely seek to address any existing misunderstandings.

If we have invested much effort in the relationship, the process to recovery may seem more difficult. We may question the things we once believed, and we may wrestle with accepting the unwelcome changes.

We all need rest, and we all need assurance. When we face disappointments in relationships, we may feel mentally burdened. But there is hope. Jesus provides comfort for the hurting.

When we look at things on the surface, it is easy to get angry and frustrated, but reading the Bible gives us a correct understanding of the sin problem and helps us to focus on seeking God’s solutions. We shift our focus from anger—which can deplete our strength and ability to cope—to seeking the path of restoration. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit is with us to ease this transition.

The delicate balance of still being able to nurture healthy relationships yet adjust expectations and not be overcome by human weaknesses is a process of growth. After being hurt, it is worth the effort to learn to smile again.

God provides avenues for us to heal and move on and connect with others, be it through trained Christian counselors, with family, with friends, or through church and community activities. These interactions can help us to continue along the path of life. Our restoration will involve determining if we can rebuild the damaged road (relationship), or if we need to readjust our focus and reverse from the impassable road and change direction.

We do not have to do something wrong to feel emotional pain, but emotional pain is a reminder of the ills of sin. With God’s help, we can decide not to hurt people the way we may have been hurt.

We also should be sensitive to the needs of others, since unknowingly we too may have hurt others causing us to need to receive forgiveness from a cherished friend. Though we may have experienced disappointments, let us seek to rise above our own hurts and be positive influences to others. With the help of God, let us always endeavor to contribute to the healing in ourselves and in others.





End of preview.

Here is the Table of Contents of the complete book:


Cover
Copyright
Acknowledgement
Introduction
Section 1: Life Today
Seeking Balance in a Busy World
Facing the Challenges of Life
Difficulties That Could Arise in Our Relationships

Section 2: Learning From Biblical Experiences
Inspiration in Difficulty
The Importance of Faith
God’s Creative Power
Obedience to God
Receiving God’s Commendation
Believing What God Says
Listening to God
Abraham’s Example
Sarah and Abraham’s Faith
The Need for Healing

Section 3: God’s Gift and Humanity’s Condition
Paid in Full
From Guilt to Forgiveness
Different Responses to Accusations
Workplace Interactions

Section 4: God’s Involvement in Our Lives
Jesus Makes Things Right
Staying Connected to the Vine

Section 5: Our Growth
Beauty for Ashes
Love
Joy
Peace
Longsuffering
Gentleness
Goodness
Faith
Meekness
Temperance

Section 6: Restored and Whole in Christ
God Revives and Keeps Us
God’s Fulfillment of His Promises