It’s been a rough night. I laid down in bed, tossed and turned to realize that I needed to just get up. It’s one of those nights where my mind won’t shut off, and so I needed to take my thoughts captive and put them to better use so here I am already working on Part 2 of 14 in our “Healing The Wounded Spirit” series.
As I said several times in the last message writing from my heart is the easy part, but writing from a place of true vulnerability isn’t so easy. It’s taken a bit of discipline and trust and faith in God to put myself out there, and admit that I have struggles like anyone else. That shouldn’t be the shock cause I don’t care who you are we’re all going through some sort of internal battle…at least I kinda think that way. I could be wrong, but with the amount of suicides being committed today I think part of the reason for that is not being willing to take off the “I’m fine” mask…and be honest enough to say “you know what, I’m really not fine.”
Anyways, I hope I haven’t scared too many of you off, but I believe that we’re going somewhere with this series. It may wind up being one of those series that wind up being in a book about how God healed my wounded spirit, saved my marriage, and helped me to become the man who He’s always had destined for me to be. But for now, we’ll just put this on my blog, and see what happens.
So, let’s get out of the introduction part of the message, pray, and see what God has to say to us in Part 2 of this series, Amen!?!
Father God, I step back tonight and ask You to step in through the supernatural power of the Holy Ghost. I ask You to again help me to write with boldness, clarity, transparency, and that You would prepare ears to hear and hearts that would be receptive and respond to what You want to do and speak to us through this message. Thank You, as always for the ability You have given me to write, and I pray in Jesus name that You would receive the glory, honor, and praise and that the name of Jesus would be exalted. In Jesus name I pray, Amen and Amen!
Healing For The Wounded Spirit (Part 2)
Being that it’s already 2am I’m not sure how far into this message I’m going to get, but the fact that my mind won’t shut off and I couldn’t really get comfortable let’s me know that I need to do something to take control of my thoughts and what better way to do that then to get into the Word of God and write them down.
How many of you know that when you’re in the midst of internal battles your self-talk, your thoughts, and what you allow the devil to speak to you are all battling for supremacy? As my pastor has been preaching lately…that’s why it’s necessary to take all the thoughts that aren’t what God thinks of us captive, but the reality is when you’re battling the inner turmoil some times that can be easier said than done.
You see, when you take thoughts captive you have to replace them with something, and if that something isn’t from the Word of God it’s likely going to come from a couple of sources. Of course, we all know that the voice that’s loudest in our minds is the one that we’re most likely to listen to…which is why we cannot afford to have a thought about ourselves that God doesn’t have about us. That’s another quote from my pastor.
Oh, come on, don’t be so super spiritual here. Why does Pastor B need a pastor? Because it’s biblical for us to all have godly counsel, it’s also biblical that we should have elders in the faith to submit ourselves under, and it’s also wise to have someone further along in their walk with God than you are to…well…call you out on your crap or be able to speak truth into your life or some times be a listening ear when you feel like you’re about to lose it.
Holy smokes…for being 2am I guess I’ve got a lot to say. LOL. I totally forgot to add that you can follow along with this devotional on You Version by clicking on this link right here: Depression: A Devotional For The Wounded Spirit that means that every thing you see in the quotes is coming from the devotional, but everything that isn’t in quotes is coming from me.
So…let’s see what direction we’re going with this message…
In the midst of depression there are days where your only comfort seems to be your tears or maybe even just a song you put on repeat. While everything around us seems dark, we all want to know the same question:
“Where are you, God?”
Isn’t it interesting that most people don’t ask this question until something tragic (like 9/11) happens or until we find ourselves in the depths of despair, right!?! Come on, let’s not act like we don’t forget God some times when things are going awesome. Okay maybe it’s just me that can more often than I’d like to admit take God for granted, and kind of put Him on the back-burner when life’s going pretty well.
You know what that is, right!?! Yep its pride. You know what they say about having a haughty or prideful spirit, right!?! Yep, a fall is coming, and the reason I’m putting this into my story is because I would by lying to y’all if I said that I didn’t find myself having a bit of a prideful spirit right before my car broke down, and I lost my job…and then as y’all know from the last message everything kind of snowballed to hell from there.
I’m sorry if that language is too graphic for you, but I’m not a sugar coater…and it is 2am so I don’t have the filter at 2am I would at 2pm. The point is we all know that nothing good comes from allowing pride to filter into your walk with God because as we also know from the Bible that God hates pride because that’s what got into Lucifer’s heart. So, that’s where we get the great fall part coming from having a prideful (or haughty) spirit.
The problem with pride is that sometimes it can be subtle. I was just thinking about that while I was writing here that I never intended to get into pride, and I really didn’t realize that I actually was getting into pride before the breaking down of the automobile. In hindsight, I can now look at the moments preceding that to realize that I did indeed allow pride into my heart and attitude.
I believe this is where I’m going to stop for the night because I’m finally feeling tired, and I believe I’m going to need a fresh mind to be able to work at talking about the question…
“Where are you, God”
So, it’s taken me a few days to get back to this message, and the funny thing is another devotional I am working through asks this same question: “Where are you, God?”. I’m of the understanding that this is often a relevant question, but the reality is when we’re asking this question the person that moved wasn’t God…it was us…or more to the specific point…me.
You see, friends, (and I’m going to bring this home and be personal with it) whenever I am feeling distant from God the reality is the reason I’m feeling distant from Him is because I’m the one that went off on my own. God is still where I left Him. I mean think about it from the perspective of the Prodigal Son. The son was the one that took his inheritance and left…but the Father remained. In fact, as we all know, the Father was watching for a glimpse of the son’s return home, and once the son returned we all know what happened. The Father ran to His son, clothed him, kissed him, and through a party because the lost son had come home.
Can I tell you that I believe that we can have more than one Prodigal Son moments with the Father? I know this because I’ve had a few of them myself. I realize, once again that perhaps I am speaking from my own experience (I don’t believe I am), but I have taken my inheritance (my salvation and all that comes with it) gone off on my own only to find myself in the muck and mire of the pit…and here we are back to that deep, dark place I call “The Pit”.
I have to take a moment to stop and thank the lady that’s been counseling my wife and I for giving me a name for this place I find myself in which is often where I find myself when I withdraw from the world (and when I’m not careful) and from God. “The Pit” comes from a counseling session that my wife and I attended, and it’s wonderful to finally have a word to use to describe when I detach myself from God and the world around me. I am a master at isolating myself, and when I do you can bet that I’ve crawled down into my pit and pulled the ladder down so no one can get into it with me…except for Jesus.
Remember the Psalms…no matter where I go, no matter where I flee…God is always there!?! First of all, He is always with us because He dwells on the inside of us in the person of the Holy Ghost. Secondly, as we all know God is Omnipresent…which means He can be everywhere all at once. God isn’t limited by time, space, or matter therefore He can be with every single one of us at the same time, and the amazing thing about it is He can do it while making us feel like we have His undivided attention.
The thing that I know about The Pit is the only One that is willing to actually get down into The Pit with me is God. Then again, if I’m being honest the real truth is that there are many times that the only One I allow to actually get down into The Pit with me is God. However, I’ve been know to get myself into The Pit a time or two, and pull up the ladder that allows me to let people into The Pit with me. There’s still a hole where people can interact with me through, but that hole is known as the surface…and I need to give people permission to get into The Pit with me. The Pit…that’s where the protected real me resides.
Anyways, I remember telling our counselor that The Pit is a place of safety for me, and that’s because of the fact that I’m too good at isolating and withdrawing myself from people. There are times that not only do I withdraw myself from people, but I withdraw from God as well.
A word that I used in the last message called disappointment. If I get to a place where I feel that not only is the rest of the world disappointed in me, but God is too then The Pit becomes a place of refuge for me. When I say it’s a place of refuge I really mean it’s more of a hideout because when I go into The Pit as a place of refuge it’s because I’ve pushed everyone as far away from me as possible.
Of course, Satan is never too far behind when I find myself in The Pit alone with my thoughts, and I don’t even have a ladder to invite God to be in The Pit with me. Then again, God doesn’t actually need a ladder.
This must be something of importance because this is the second time I am bringing this up. This could be just for me, but I feel like there are others who may need to know that no matter how alone you feel or how far away you push the rest of the world you cannot push God away. Yes…it’s true that you can try, it’s true that you can be distant, but the reality is that wherever you go God is there because His Spirit resides on the inside of you.
Now…check out what I’m writing for the second time…Let me stop again to say that the Psalmist that wrote that no matter where he went He couldn’t hide anywhere from God. I’ll take that intimacy a little bit further because there are many times that the only One that was willing to be in The Pit with me was God. The reason He was the only One willing to be in there with me is because I was willing to allow Him to be the only One there…and He was already there because He resides on the inside of me. The thing I guess I’m getting at here is I chose to draw near to Him, to seek Him, to acknowledge that He was there…and He responded by drawing near to me.
No matter what. If you test God to see whether or not He keeps His Word…you’ll find as I often has the answer is a definite yes. God honors His Word. God honors His promises. Which goes back to the fact that if you’ll take the initial step of drawing near to God (no matter where you’re at) He will draw near to you. It’s a promise that’s in His Word, and any time you want to test it…test Him on it…and I guarantee you that He’ll prove Himself faithful to keep His Word.
So…what’s the answer to this “64 million dollar question” of “where are you, God?”…is a faithful and true “I AM right here.”
He’s right there. He’s willing to meet you right there where you are at whether it’s an altar call at church or The Pit that you’ve created to protect yourself from the world…His answer is always the same. “I’m right here, son.”
The Scriptures are quick to remind us that just because there’s no rescue in sight doesn’t mean God is indifferent. They also emphasize that even when we can’t feel or see him moving, he sees our pain and hears us. In the midst of depression, hurt, and struggle, the only thing that feels real is our emotion. Because our feelings are so overwhelming, they can often block our ability to feel God even though he’s close by
I promise you that I didn’t read ahead for this answer. I know the answer to the question because God has given me the answer over and over again. There have been many times when I swore I was in The Pit all alone, but God said to me: “No, son, I AM here.”. In fact, He’s the only One that’s embraced me when I’ve been in The Pit…and He’s also never judged me for being there.
God really will meet you right where you are. He really will. He doesn’t need you to be in church in order to meet you where you are. All God needs to meet you where you are is the invitation to do so. He’ll meet you in your car, while you’re out for a walk, or in your deepest, darkest place that you won’t allow anyone else into…but Him.
You see, it’s not where you allow God in that’s important to God. It’s THAT you allow Him to come in that’s important to Him. Now religion will tell you that in order for God to hear you that you gotta clean up your life, clean up your act, but I know for a fact that God will come to you in the middle of your mess if you will allow Him to come into your mess with you.
God isn’t deaf, friends. I get tired of people saying that God can’t hear us over our sin. If that was the case then none of us are saved because we all cried out to God for salvation while we were yet sinners. I don’t know anyone that cried out to God from anywhere else than the depths of despair. I don’t know anyone that cried out from God because they had life too good. So, I don’t buy this religious saying that “God can’t hear us over our sin” because all of our sin was judged when Jesus was on the Cross. So, the reality is even non-believers voices aren’t inaudible to God because of their sin because all of their sin was paid for by the Blood of Jesus also.
Listen, God knows about every tear we cry. God hurts whenever we hurt. He knows, He sees, He hears, and He is aware of everything we’re going through. There isn’t anything that any of us have done that God is shock or surprised that we have done. There’s never been a moment when God saw what I was doing and He said: “That’s it. I am done with Bryan. He’s just never going to get it, he’s never going to clean up his act, and I just can’t bear with Bryan any longer.”
You aren’t any different from me. God doesn’t respect me any more than He does you. He doesn’t love me any more than He loves you. In fact, what He’s done and is doing in, with, and through me…He not only can…but He wants to do it in…with…and through you as well.
The last thing I’ll say about this point is that there is truth that I can get so overwhelmed by my feelings and emotions that it blocks my ability to feel God, but just because my ability to feel Him may be blocked or hindered…that doesn’t mean He’s not there. I’m being sincere when I say that I’ve asked God where He was, and His answer was a sincere “I AM right here.”
Because He’s not the one that moved…I am. Yet…the moment I cry out to Him, the moment I ask Him where He is…He’s always said the same answer: “Right here, son. I am right here.”
And He wants you to know that every time you’ve asked that question His answer is the same to you. “I AM right here.”
King David was a man who understood depression and suffering, but remembered that the Lord was near to him in the midst of his greatest failures and moments of desperation and hurt. He reminds us that God hasn’t forsaken us. In fact, the Scripture only tells the story of one man whom God forsook: Jesus.
While Jesus was on the cross, He cried out “Why have you forsaken me?” (A messianic echo of David’s Psalm in chapter 22). This is the last time God ever walked away from a child, and that was his only begotten son. The reason why? So that he would never have to walk away from us because of our sin. While we may feel forsaken, Jesus is the one who truly was.
The one thing we can all take comfort in is knowing that God will never leave us or forsake us. God will never walk away from us. I want to encourage you today in that if you are feeling distant from God…just call out to Him. Ask Him where He is. I betcha He’ll be right there be your side just like He is every time I ask Him.
Father God, I come to You asking that You would draw near to all of us who are brokenhearted and feeling distant from You today. Lord, Your Word says that if we will draw near to us that You WILL draw near to us. Your Word also says that You will never leave us nor forsake us, and so I ask that You would make that Word real to us today. I ask again, Lord God, that You would bind up the wounds of the broken-hearted and those who are wounded deep in their spirit. I ask that Your love would be the salve that they need to heal their wounds. In Jesus name, Amen.
As I wrap up this message I like that the last thing in this devotional message is actually asking us to do something. So, I’m going to include it, and then wrap up this message.
Each day, look for something that shows God being gentle with you or offering encouragement (ie. A friend reached out, you got a good grade, a sunrise or song). Just focus on anything that’s a break and see if he is indeed close by.
Instead of focusing on the hurt and the pain…let’s focus on the things and ways around us that God uses to let us know He’s there? Maybe it’s an unexpected hug and “I love you” from your child or spouse. Maybe it’s the quiet of the night as your listening to the chirping of the crickets. Maybe it’s a song that comes on the radio that touches your heart. There are signs all around us that are what I like to call little “love notes” from God. So, I would like to encourage and challenge you to look for these little subtle things that God uses to let us know He’s there and He loves us, Amen!?!
In the midst of writing this message I’ve been working on going through this “The Journey to the Inner Chamber” book, I actually had to write-up some homework about some of the wounds that have become the foundation some of the wrong beliefs I have about myself (and how they’re affecting my marriage and relationship with God), and I’m also getting into this year-long Influencers study based off of The Journey book.
I’ve also got quite a few devotionals that I’m trying to read through on my own, and so I am going to do my best to stay on a decent pace when it comes to writing these messages. There are 14 of them, and we’re only 2 messages in. So, I’ll try to pick up the pace. I’m going to endeavor to have this series wrapped up before we start getting into Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Thank you again for joining me for “Healing For The Wounded Spirit” Part 2. I hope you’ll join me for Part 3. It’s truly a pleasure to be able to get back to doing what God’s called and anointed me to do, and I hope y’all are enjoying these messages so far.
Blessings & Grace ~ Pastor B