January 25, 2013
One day last winter I was working hard in the office when it started snowing. Martine was out shoveling the driveway because she has an obsessive belief that the snow on the driveway must be immediately removed. Otherwise all our thousands of visitors might slip and fall, or think we were inhospitable hosts. She is a hard worker and she did do a great job. But unfortunately, she seriously injured her rotator cuff.
The pain didn’t go away and started to interfere with many of her activities. Using that arm for almost anything made the situation worse. She then tried rest, but that had minimal benefit. Of course, she waited much too long before seeking real medical attention, even though she’s a nurse and I’m a doctor. The doc told her the tendons in her shoulder were swollen and inflamed. After some massage and a stimulator, she experienced a lot of relief, her shoulder became stronger, and she was able to get back to most of her activities without limitation. Putting those inflamed tendons to work while engaging in a “pleasurable activity” that she thought would help her feel better, just worsened the injury and added more pain.
We do the same thing with our psychological injuries. I think it’s safe to say that most people, actually, let me say it with more strength, ALL people, are “the walking wounded” in the spiritual sense. Of course, the wounds and injuries vary in severity. But we all carry wounds around with us, and all of them bring some degree of pain. We try to escape the pain in some good ways, but also in some not-so-good ways. That’s because we’re all addicted to comfort and peace.
Unfortunately, our pain level often goes from bad to worse through the knee jerk reactions and misguided decisions we make in our search for comfort. It’s the proverbial vicious downward cycle. We have a painful wound and want to relieve it. But in our impatience we don’t handle it well. The pain and impatience impair our assessment of effective options. Then we make a wrong decision by picking a poor option. When the consequence of that decision results in more discomfort, we become impatient, try to relieve it the wrong way, and the cycle repeats.
The special ingredient we need to stop this hurtful cycle is an injection of God’s peace. The promise of true and lasting peace is abundant throughout The Holy Bible. An antonym for peace is uproar, a highly emotional state. And while emotions are a very effective warning system, they don’t help us to make good choices. Making decisions during times of high emotion usually brings wrong choices, which only increase the inflammation and pain we experience.
Today, reflect back on some decisions that you regret … what kind of emotions pushed and prompted your decision-making? Do you think your decision-making would be different if you had access to God’s powerful Peace in the midst of that stressful situation? How and why? In order to access His peace, you have to look in the right places. Unfortunately, we usually look in the wrong places. Seek and accept the peace promised by your Lord before you make any important decisions. The difference will determine your fulfillment in this life. Where you look for lasting peace is your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father God, I am so thankful for Your power. I know, Lord, that the very same power that controls creation and raised Your Son from the dead is available to me. Infuse me, Father, with Your Holy Spirit, the Spirit that Jesus called the Great Comforter, so that I may experience peace through life’s peaceful times and especially during the storms of life. I know your peace isn’t in a bottle of alcohol, another sweet, pornography, gossip, or the other areas I turn to. Help me seek Your word, Your instruction, Your presence, Your refuge, and Your people to find peace. I pray this in the name of the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace. Psalm 29:11
do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6,7