By Joyell Nevins – CFFM Blogger
Splash! My friend and I had been sitting and casually conversing at the beach, water lapping at our toes, when BAM! Quite unexpectedly, a giant wave drenched us.
When the wave receded, I was left soaked and covered with sand. Even after the jarring event was over, I still had to deal with all of those little remnants of sand sticking to my body!
Me after the giant wave (can you see all the sand on my shirt?!). Photo by Carolyne Ouya.
Life can be like that sometimes. We are just going through our regular days, when BAM! A loved one dies. A car accident happens. Someone betrays us.
Unexpected trauma is often a product of living in a fallen world. These events can hit us like a giant wave, drenching us in anger or sorrow, and pulling our focus to deal with the mess.
Credit: CC0 Public Domain
And then, we do deal with the immediate mess. We hold a beautiful funeral and handle earthly possessions. The car is fixed. We no longer associate with the person who hurt us.
But, just like those little pieces of sand that stuck to me long after the wave had receded, these traumas can leave remnants on our heart and soul, too. And even though the remnants seem small, over time if not handled, they can cause permanent damage.
“Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no ‘root of bitterness’ springs up and causes trouble, and by [that root] many become defiled.” Hebrews 12:14-15 NASB
That word ‘defiled’ comes from the Greek word miaino, and it means “to stain by polluting effects.” If we only take care of the big mess, but ignore or brush aside the effect it made on our heart or mind, we are only receiving part of our healing. We are left with a stain on our soul.
But, our God is a God of whole healing: body, soul (mind and emotions), and spirit.
“Now may the God of peace Himself make you completely holy, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23 REV
Acknowledge the Effects
So, how do we clean the stain? How do we remove the remnants?
First, we have to admit that we were affected. It is absolutely NOT a sign of weakness to say that we are hurt or devastated by a situation. The Psalms give a strong example of an amazing man of God, King David, pouring his heart out to the Lord, often in grief and frustration.
“My heart is in anguish within me, and the terrors of death have fallen upon me. Fear and trembling come upon me, and horror has overwhelmed me.” Psalms 55:4-5 NASB (just one example!)
In this situation, David was not hurt by an outsider; he was betrayed by someone close to him. That giant wave didn’t come from a circumstance; it came from someone he worshipped with and trusted.
“For it is not an enemy who taunts me, then I could endure it; nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me, then I could hide myself from him. But it is you, a man my equal, my companion and my confidant; we who had sweet fellowship together, walked in the house of God among the commotion.” Psalms 55:12-14 NASB
David doesn’t try to hide anything from the Lord. His prayers are honest and raw. Yet, never in Scripture do we see God reprimand David for acknowledging his pain. Rather, He hears and offers comfort and rescue.
“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears and rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalms 34:18 NASB
Hundreds of years later, God through Peter still encourages His people to admit there is something wrong – to humble themselves and cast their cares on Him.
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care [anxiety] upon Him, for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7 NKJV
Praise the Lord, God does not expect us to have it all together all the time! He does expect us to come to Him, to share our anxiety and anguish.
The Father’s Love
Why does God command us to cast our cares on Him? Because He cares for us!
His love for us is so big, and His shoulders are so broad, He can handle any emotion or concern we bring to Him.
Sometimes, that’s all it takes. God does a work in our heart, and healing and forgiveness come.
The Power of Community
Sometimes, it’s more of a process. There’s many reasons that God designed families and continually speaks in the Word of a spiritual community – and one of them is so we don’t have to walk through a healing journey alone. It’s okay to seek help!
While God does not require us to proclaim our sadness, hurt, or secrets to everyone in our life, it can be helpful to seek wise counsel or to speak with that friend closer than a brother.
There is no shame with the Lord, and when you have people in your life that emulate the Father’s heart and His son’s actions, there is no shame with them either. Professional Biblically-based counseling can also be beneficial in identifying and removing or cleaning those remnants.
“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise.” Proverbs 12:15 NKJV
Our Kingdom Arsenal
Some situations require not just a change in thought, but a complete removal of dark spiritual influence.
In John 10:10, Jesus promises us that he came so that we can have life and it more abundantly! However, he’s not the only spiritual side in this battle.
Jesus also declared that there is a thief, an enemy, who comes to steal, kill, and destroy us. He moves about as a roaring lion, Peter describes, seeking whom he may destroy. And the enemy doesn’t work alone – he has a spiritual army that does his bidding.
BUT we are not powerless against that enemy or his army – we have an entire Kingdom arsenal backing us!
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds…” 2 Corinthians 10:3-4 NKJV
So, don’t let the sand of the enemy or the remnants of past trauma steal from your current joy. We have to deal with the past, but it does not have to define our future.
We have to do the work and go through the process, but we CAN be free in Christ – no matter what wave may come.
To continue the journey of soul health and spirit/mind/body connection, read believer C.J. Addison’s A Balanced Life: The Interweaving of Spirit, Soul, & Body.