Turning Pain into Gain

The notion of turning your pain into gain sounds a little pollyanna-ish for some folks, and I get it. Domestic violence and abuse can drastically change the way a person views the world, and sometimes it is very hard to snap out of being pessimistic. Personally, I felt so down on myself that I made a practice of always expecting the worse so I wouldn’t be disappointed. I was in that place so long that I had to be reprogrammed mentally and emotionally. It took a while for me to start believing that good things could happen to me, and that I was as deserving of them as anyone else. The thing that I got caught up on was how in the dickens did I end up with so many bad things happening in my life in the first place. There was no way I could get on the good foot if I couldn’t make sense of why I kept ending up with the wrong person and making the same mistakes over and over again.

I’m a person that loves organization. I’m not always organized, but I love it when things are in a place that makes sense and stay that way. Part of my professional life involves assessing the pieces of the puzzle and putting them together so that a cohesive picture emerges. In my profession, I understand from the get-go that the pieces I’m working with are not perfect and that the puzzle isn’t perfect either. Almost without fail, each and every time, I’m able to organize the pieces in such a way that my work blesses me and countless others. This very simple approach to my work gave me a foundation for comprehending how God could take someone like me and make the pieces fit. With all my bumbling around and making a mess of things, He continually pulls me together so that, like my work, my life blesses me and countless others.

We are not random beings, detached from the divine order in which God created everything in the universe. There was a time in my life that I felt very random and disjointed, but this was because I didn’t know the truth of God’s purpose for my life. Proverbs 16:4(NLT) tells us that the Lord has made everything for His own purposes. When it comes to our individual lives, He tells us in Jeremiah 29:11(NLT) ““For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”” When the heft of this truth became anchored in my heart, I understood more clearly why Adam’s and Eve’s actions were so catastrophic. God had provided beautifully for them, but they no longer wanted to be under His sovereignty and declared their independence.

They made a big mistake, and the consequences were dire. This is what happens when we buck up against God’s plan, consciously or unconsciously. When we fail to yield to the One who has all power and knows best—the One who has a plan for all of us, life loses its flavor. Many of us walk around feeling lost because we say we don’t understand how God designed this thing called ‘life’ to work. Some bad stuff happened to us, so we figure we can’t trust Him because He didn’t prevent it. We use this as an excuse to abdicate faith and cling to fear. God will judge us for running from His Word and abdicating faith, because He knows that we get ‘woke’ with a quickness about the things that are important to us. If we wanted to know Him and find refuge in Him, we would.

Like the many that have endured domestic violence and abuse, I was confused, angry, bitter, and resentful. There may be aspects of what I experienced that I will never get over, but the Spirit has turned my past pain into gain, and this is something God wants to do for every person that is suffering or has suffered. The Apostle Paul said in 2Corinthians 4:17(NKJV), “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” Paul went through some pretty rough stuff and here he calls it light affliction. He lets us in on the reality that God will take our suffering and make it work so gloriously for us that the joy we experience will replace the pain.

1Corinthians 14:13 tells us that God is not the author of confusion, but of peace and order. He is life, and He has given us what He is. Heavenly Father didn’t give us such an extraordinary gift of life so it would be a vicious cycle of negativity. None of us have a perfect story, but all of us have the ability through Christ to transform and turn things around. Paul said in 2Corinthians 4:16 that we should never lose heart, because even though our outward bodies are growing older, our inward man is being renewed day by day. In other words, life gives us an opportunity to grow spiritually stronger through the Holy Spirit every day, and we should do our very best to embrace this grace we’ve been given.■

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

“Turning Pain into Gain” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2019. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

How to Help with A Domestic Violence Situation?

A wonderful lady became very emotional while sharing her concerns for her older sister. They were very close at one time, but her sister has been in an abusive relationship for years, and it has caused a rift between them. Her whole family has begged her sister to leave her marriage, and a few times it looked promising. Things were so bad that they just knew she wouldn’t let herself be in that relationship another minute. They were in a huge fight and this couple’s seven-year-old son jumped in and tried to defend his mother. Surely this was the last straw, the family thought; but it wasn’t. Even after its clear that her child is suffering, having to defend one parent against the other, her sister still will not leave this abusive marriage. In the concerned woman’s words, “We are all so devastated, and we don’t know what to do anymore. She refuses to leave him, even though it’s tearing everybody apart.”

It is true what they say; no matter how much you want a person to change, they have to want to change for themselves. We can’t make a person change, and we can’t make them want to change. God doesn’t allow human beings to get inside each other’s heads and hearts. We have enough on our plates to keep our own temples in check, and we simply can’t do this for another person. It’s very plain to see that when it comes to the wounds and pain in someone’s life, only God can heal and help them change. He knows what to do and how to do it. His ability is leaps and bounds beyond our own. So we must understand that in these instances, often prayer becomes the only, most loving and effective gift we can offer.

When we pray for someone that perhaps isn’t praying for themselves or doesn’t know how, we’re standing in the gap, asking the Lord Jesus Christ to intervene with his unlimited resources and power. Our faith is integral in this. We must not ever view prayer as a small role in situations like these; it is truly the greatest thing we can offer. It takes our responsibility to a whole other level because we are in partnership with Christ. 2Corinithians 5:20(NLT) tells us, “So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”” We can be of tremendous help through prayer and be effective in ways that go far beyond our physical and mental limitations.

How else do we help with a domestic violence and abuse situation like this, especially where children and family members are involved? It can make us feel very inadequate, overwhelmed, and anxious, but God tells us Philippians 4:6(NLT), “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” Spiritual warfare will always require believers to kick it in high gear through our faith. The first thing we must do is shift out of the natural plain and breach the walls of the supernatural, where resources are infinite and powerful.

There are so many dynamics involved with domestic violence and abuse, and sometimes what lurks beneath the surface is not apparent, and it is beyond our ability to understand it. The greatest thing we can do is be a vessel for the Lord to work through in any way HE deems fit. This means that we don’t interject our own emotional stuff into the situation, and we do our best to remain calm. We have to be attentive to the Spirit’s leading, as he tells us what to do and how to do it. Philippians 2:13(NKJV) tells us, “for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” And sometimes, His Will is that we stay on the wall in prayer, and He will take care of the rest. In any case, our faith in God and His ability is crucial.

Witnessing the impact and effect of domestic violence is a very difficult thing. There’s no doubt that we must do what we can to be supportive and compassionate, but it is very important not to make an already troubling situation worse. Those that are being affected need us to be spiritually strong and very patient. They need to know we’ll give them a safe and discreet space and place to talk openly, without judgment. If we are led by the Spirit to do so, we can help with finding legal support and other resources, but again, God is the Healer and Provider. We’re not to try and takeover or control the situation. More than anything, a person that is suffering the abuse of domestic violence needs to feel and be empowered. This begins internally first, and only God can do this work within the people who need it most, and we must partner with Him through prayer. ■

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

“How to Help with A Domestic Violence Situation?” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2019. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

A Blueprint of What to Expect

By now we’ve become used to the reality that when bad things happen in our pasts, they can impact our present and futures. When seeking emotional therapy and counsel, we are often asked about our relationships with our parents as well as traumas that might have occurred in our childhoods. One of the reasons for this is because children who endure abuse, neglect, and dysfunction within their homes begin to struggle as early as kindergarten. As they physically mature through adolescence and adulthood, they can become stunted emotionally, and cease to mature beyond the trauma they’ve experienced. Although many of us that have endured domestic violence and have been in abusive relationships may not link it to a childhood event, often challenges with recognizing or breaking negative patterns is a symptom of a traumatic childhood experience.

Spiritual growth through the Lord Jesus Christ requires us to shift out of a mind-and-heart-set of fear and into one of faith. The very nature of spiritual living is to believe in what we cannot see—to trust our spiritual sight more than our physical sight. Our flesh is a temporary house for our spirits and souls. It isn’t an eternal temple, and only allows us to dwell on earth for a season. We’re supposed to use life’s lessons to release our fears and cling to our faith. This is the only way to embrace our true identities. It is the only way that love will become anchored in the very core of our highest spiritual self in Christ. Then, we will be prepared for the next chapter of life in the Spirit after we leave this place.

A childhood trauma like domestic violence and abuse is a disruption in our emotional growth, and if unaddressed, it can prevent us from growing spiritually. Impressionable and vulnerable, children don’t have the necessary tools to discern the truth and make the right choices about what to believe. When a trauma occurs in their young lives, it profoundly impacts their emotions and responses to life. It can make fear, and not faith, the governing emotion of their existences.

1John 4:18(NLT) says, “Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.” God’s love has no fear, and in truth, it kicks fear to the curb. This gives us a clue about how we should be handling fear; we must let God’s love into our hearts, and we also have to recognize when we’re allowing fear to run the show. Because of trauma, our minds can become stuck on trying to protect ourselves from danger and fear habitually. We don’t often realize we’re doing this, and it can do a number on adult relationships and social interactions. Of course, we all want to be loved by a quality individual, but a mind-and-heart-set of fear can keep us from recognizing exactly when a quality individual is in our midst; and furthermore, we don’t have an appropriate blueprint for what we ought to expect from him or her.

The ‘Empty Container’ Syndrome
One of the habit patterns of many victims of domestic violence is choosing partners that are not equipped for healthy relationships. When we’re stunted emotionally, in some ways we don’t mature. The radar isn’t all the way up when a rachet’ individual is lurking around, trying to run a serious manipulation game on us. We can’t tell when someone is just an empty container, so we begin to invest our hopes in them. The program running in our minds computes that they might rescue us from the fear we still haven’t addressed through the love of Christ. This person doesn’t give us nearly enough to hang our hats on, but we cast our anchors anyway. Incapable of loving us in the way we deserve, the empty container accommodates our insecurities, expands them, and then moves on to the next willing vessel.

A New Blueprint
Proverbs 4:23(NKJV) warns, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” Our hearts can be magnets for people who keep us comfortable in fear, and this is why Heavenly Father tells us to stand guard—to watch what goes in our hearts and watch what comes out of them. One of the first things we must do as good ‘watchers’ is to interrupt the program of fear that is running in our hearts and minds. And we can know the extent to which this fear is imbedded by what we are willing to accept. Love doesn’t hurt us, harm us, tell us lies, play games, keep secrets, manipulate our fears, exploit our insecurities, keep us in the dark, or make us feel less than the treasure God says we are. We must reject this treatment and nip it in the bud immediately, because if crumbs is what we’ll accept, crumbs is most likely all we’ll get.

When we love ourselves enough to interrupt fear’s programming, we can change the way we think so that we wear God’s love like a second skin. In 1Corinthians 13:4-7(NLT), Heavenly Father tells us exactly what love is, how it behaves, and what we can expect from it. This passage says, “4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” Renewing our minds and hearts to God’s standard of love allows us to draw a fresh blueprint with new expectations. It gives us the wisdom to make sure that only a truly loving person can follow them.■

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

“A Blueprint of What to Expect” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2019. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Been There, Done That, Not Doing It Again!

Fear and regret are a combination that can wreak havoc on our lives, especially when domestic violence and abuse is a part of our history. A biblical teacher that taught me a great deal about God’s Word would often warn, “Don’t let doubt get stuck in your craw.” She would say this because she understood that patterns are a big part of the way every human being operates, and a pattern of fear and doubt is the biggest conduit to getting stuck in life. We start learning patterns before we learn how to talk, and we carry them into every facet of our existence. Patterns of behavior impact the way we treat ourselves, the way we interact with others, and most importantly, the way we approach our relationship with God. For the most part, regrets impact our lives after we’ve matured some, but fear is a blocker right out the gate. The insidious thing about fear is that it can be stuck in your craw and you don’t even know it.

If you’ve been around people who speak openly about the domestic violence and abuse they’ve suffered, you’ll know they often speak about its vicious negative cycle. Some will say that, like a magnet, they tended to draw individuals to themselves that were wonderful in the beginning but turned out to cause them tremendous heartache and pain. After repeating this pattern of choosing a partner who abuses, many people become insecure in their judgment and decision-making. They are fearful of making a catastrophic mistake again, so they don’t trust themselves to discern between someone who loves without harm and a person who tries to manipulate love through harm.

Proverbs 4:23(NKJV) tells us, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” To keep your heart is to watch what goes in and what comes out of it. God tells us the reason we must be watchful of our own hearts. It’s because the heart is a springboard for the issues we’ll face in life. God wouldn’t tell us to be watchful of our hearts if we lacked the ability to get it done. Neither would He tell us to watch our hearts if we didn’t NEED to get it done. We are to watch our hearts so that we can recognize negative habit patterns that work against us, and then correct them. There are more people who don’t do this than those of us who do. Many people are comfortable where they are. That ol’ sneaky, manipulative, and evil devil keeps them comfy in self-sabotaging behavior, so they’ll continue to be blind to it. God commands us to wake-up and snap out of it. We accomplish this by changing the way we think, introducing new patterns, and then eradicating the stuff that ain’t working for us. It’s recognizing the stuff that ain’t working for us that ought to become our motivation to seek a better way.

When we learn that our hearts can draw something that harms, we must have that much, and even greater faith that our hearts will draw something that fulfills our purpose and keeps us continually attuned to the Father’s love. His love is no ordinary love, and through Christ He makes us complete in it. God tells us in 1John 4:18 that there’s no fear in His love, because His perfect love will demolish our fears. We begin to see this in real-time when we no longer allow the doubt and fear of making a bad choice to occupy the driver’s seat of our lives. Jesus Christ is Lord! He’s the Head! He has earned and deserves all the driving privileges that come with this job.

The shift in our focus from self to Christ is a requirement for believers, and it is the best thing we can do for our lives. Going higher in him is often achieved from a vantage point of viewing all the mistakes we’ve made in the past. Through those mistakes, we earned the right to declare, “Been there, done that, not doing it again!” No need for regrets. Our mistakes helped to bring us to where we are today; still living and growing, with a chance to be better and stronger than we’ve ever been. Jesus Christ is why the combination of fear and regret can be kicked to the curb. When we’re trusting his love and following his example, we can have confidence that we’re no longer who we used to be, and that the magnetic force of the love of Christ will keep us on track to God’s blessings.■

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

“Been There, Done That, Not Doing It Again!” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2019. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Be Curious About the Treasure You Carry

For people that are not familiar with the term ‘spirit-being’, after hearing it, more than likely it will cause one of three reactions; fear, apathy, or curiosity. Some people fear the term ‘spirit-being’ because of the errors they’ve learned or because of a lack of knowledge about their own identity. If you’re a member of the human race, you’re a spirit-being with a soul, housed in a body. God tells us in 1Thessalonians 5:23 to keep all three parts of us; spirit, soul, and body, blameless before Him. This means we are to keep all parts in harmony with the honor and integrity for which they were created.

God’s command in 1Thessalonians 5:23 allows us to know that it is very possible to not keep all three parts of us in the harmony, honor, and integrity He expects. We can neglect our spirits, and therefore, neglect the highest part of who we are. Upon a closer and more honest look at our lives, many of us can see that there’s a heavy cost associated with this neglect.  The cost of not appropriately valuing ourselves can be summed up in one word; it is indeed, fear. Ignorance is one of the things that creates a cozy, comfortable home for fear. It is manifested in our circumstances as the result of not knowing who we are, whose we are, and why we are here on this planet.     

Fear causes us to run from the truth of who we are, and this is why the devil uses it so vehemently against us. It is his number one weapon. We know absolutely that fear does not come from our Heavenly Father, for He tells us in 1John 4:18(NLT), “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” To be perfect in love is to be complete in love. It is to own and revel in the space and place you occupy in the right now of this moment. It takes a certain confidence to do this, and therein lies the plot of evil in domestic violence and abuse.

Some are apathetic about their highest spiritual self. They’re not interested in the least, and it is usually because they are consumed with the issues of the body and soul. Pleasuring the flesh is their ‘get down’, and little else holds weight. So, if they’re clueless about their spiritual identity, imagine how they’d respond to the notion of spiritual warfare. They think by taking the posture of neutrality they will be safe. You might say that you don’t want to fight the devil, but it is very foolish and unwise to think for one second that he doesn’t want to fight you.

Jesus Christ said in John 10:10 that the devil is in the earth to do three things, to kill, steal, and destroy. Jesus also said in this verse that his very own purpose for coming to the earth is to fulfill the Will of the Father and give us a rich and satisfying life—a life that is more than abundant. It is a life we can most certainly have, for it is our right through Christ, but in order to have it, putting on God’s spiritual armor is a must! You must understand your spirit has an appetite, and only knowledge of God through Christ can feed it.

When it comes to the devil’s shenanigans, the question we should ask is why? Why does the enemy want to kill, steal, and destroy us? Well, it’s not so much your body that he’s after, it’s your soul; its what you carry that the enemy wants to destroy. For you to find out who you really are is his greatest nightmare. Keeping a person fearful and apathetic is his motive, and ignorance is one of the tools he uses to do it. This is why God tells us in Hosea 4:6 that His people are destroyed because they lack knowledge, indeed they reject knowledge about who God is.

Romans 8:29(NLT) tells us, “For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” God has placed something precious in us through Jesus Christ. As our relationship with Him deepens, this treasure beautifully unfolds. So, the very best thing you can do for your life is to become curious about the treasure you carry. It is a treasure so valuable that the enemy will seek to destroy us through an abusive person, so we’ll never discover it. It is the destiny in your soul that the devil is after, and he desires to steal the enthusiasm and inner joy of your journey. Once this has been robbed, the world, too, will be robbed of the goodness you were destined to deposit in it. Pray, be courageous, and have faith! You have a destiny in Christ, and through the Holy Spirit, God will lead you to liberty, so that your spirit, soul, and body, will be free.■

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

“Be Curious About the Treasure You Carry” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2019. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Flashing Red Lights

A few years ago, I met Amy in the courthouse lobby downtown. She had a familiar brand of nervousness and angst. It was a state of being I know quite a bit about, and it pulled my attention straight away. Growing up, my neighborhood was full of abused women, and some of their abusers did things that were more ruthless than I would dare write about here. But these women stayed. Their children were raised seeing their mothers abused, and seeing their fathers pay no price for it. Amy didn’t have any children, but she had witnessed her mother taking verbal and emotional abuse from her father for many years. Her mother rarely defended herself, became lost in many ways, and stayed in the marriage.

Amy was just out of college. She spent her last year as a senior with an obsessive boyfriend who would threaten to do her harm if she ever ended the relationship. He was local to the area where they both attended college, and she landed a really good paying job there after graduating. She tried breaking things off with him several times, and after she moved into her own apartment, she felt she’d have some peace. And it was for a while—it was peaceful, but after a few weeks, the phone calls were non-stop. There were times that he seemed unbelievably sweet and caring, and she found herself forgiving him and allowing him back into her life. For months she tried the ‘let’s be friends’ approach, but he wasn’t having it. And the final straw was when he started showing up at her job; waiting for her after work.

She didn’t want folks at her job in her business, but she had to get security involved. It was then that one of the officers advised her to file a restraining order. It had never occurred to her to take that step, and she was terrified of what might happen when she did. Abusive situations like these are tormenting, and we must know that God doesn’t want this to happen to anyone. He will give us the kind of wisdom and spiritual guidance that will lead us away from danger. He tells us in Proverbs 1:7 that respecting His counsel will build a lasting foundation of true knowledge, but He also warns in this same verse that there will be some people who despise wisdom and discipline, and they have problems because they won’t listen to Him. This is an avoidable mistake.

In His Word, God provides wisdom, and if we will allow ourselves to be guided by His wisdom, we can make good relationship decisions. Through the Lord Jesus Christ, we can love smart. The very first step to loving smart is to make prayer a continual habit pattern. God never gets tired of hearing from us. He loves it! Jesus Christ said in Luke 18:1 that we should always pray. Think about a loving couple that have been together a long time. They know each other so well that they can finish each other’s sentences. They share a communication that is deeper than words. This is because they’ve spent time with one another. They are interested in what the other has to say, so they listen to one another.

Establishing our relationship with Heavenly Father is like this in some ways. The relationship each of us has with God through Christ is a very personal thing. The more we talk to Him, the more intimate our communication and communion with Him becomes. Heavenly Father is a loving God, and He sees things that we simply can’t see or know. Psalm 121:3 says that He’ll keep our feet from falling; He will not let us slip. This is what God will do for us, but if we desire His protection, we can’t exclude Him from our decision making. He’ll warn us, but we must talk with Him often, so we can recognize those flashing red lights of danger that He provides.

It was a very turbulent ordeal for Amy to get away from her abuser, but the restraining order seems to be helping. She is still nervous at times, and constantly looking over her shoulder. We need to know that God offers us His peace and protection. During the toughest times of our lives, He is with us and willing to help. He tells us in 2Corinthians 12:9 that His grace is all we need, and His power works best in weakness. If we trust Him, Heavenly Father will always get us through abusive situations, but He also desires that we’re committed to pray and talk with Him more. When we do this, our spiritual senses will be sharpened, then we’ll be able to recognize His warnings and have the wisdom to heed them. ■

“Flashing Red Lights” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2019. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Have You Ever Tried Running up A Mountain?

The term ‘wholeness’ is one we apply to an individual that is thriving mentally, physically, emotionally, and most importantly, spiritually. The Bible is instrumental in helping us understand what happens when the spiritual part of us is out of whack. All the other parts of us go haywire too. Most people would agree that when it comes to the mental acumen for things like technology and science, humanity has advanced in many areas. One would expect that all the other aspects of our being would keep pace, but in fact they haven’t. This is particularly true regarding our emotional well-being. The times are exceedingly stressful, and although we’ve grown adept to keeping up with technological gizmos, emotionally, we seem to fall further and further behind.

In Hebrews 12:1, the Apostle Paul said that since we’re surrounded by the witness of all these wonderful folks that lived with incredible faith in God, we have no excuse. We have to get busy like they did. After all, they were not perfect. They had flaws, but they ran the race God placed before them and accomplished what He wanted them to do. We all have a race to run; all of us! Paul tells us to go ahead and strip off all that heavy negative stuff that weighs us down so we can run with endurance. Sure, we might become tired, but not easily so; we’ll keep running no matter what, with our eyes continually on the prize.

What’s happening to a lot of folks is that they’re not able to run because they don’t understand they’re in a race. And not only this, they haven’t built up endurance. Why is this such a huge problem? Well, it’s a huge problem because life happens. God designed life to be a constantly moving, everchanging, progressive, and productive dynamic. It doesn’t slow down and wait for anyone. It just keeps going, and if you’re not prepared for the ‘get down’, it will boogie right on passed you. The wonderful people that He tells us about in Hebrews 12:1 had incredible faith, and we know this because they faced incredible obstacles. You can’t have one without the other. Jesus Christ tells us in Romans 8:37 that through him, we’re more than conquerors, but you can’t be a conqueror if there’s nothing to defeat.

Given this, it is inevitable that life will present some mountains. In Mark 11:23(NLT), Jesus Christ used a mountain to teach us about faith. He said, “I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart.” Some of us are dealing with some mountains right now. Maybe you’re in an abusive relationship, and it seems there’s no way out. Perhaps your debt is mounting, and you can’t see a way to get from underneath it. From marriage problems to unrelenting sadness, many of us have what we consider to be mountain size challenges. The good news is that this is the Lord’s specialty. There’s nothing too hard for Him, and He loves to help us.

Sooner or later, we’re going to have to face the reality that the mountain is part of our race. Yep, sure is. I know, it seems insurmountable, every mountain does when you’re looking at it from the ground up. That’s why God tells us to keep our eyes on His love while we’re moving through rough terrain, so we’ll never see the problem bigger than we see Him.

This is not to minimize the difficulties we face in life, because keeping it real, have you ever tried to run up a mountain? What?!!! Try putting the treadmill on the highest maximum incline—it’s no joke, but the thing is, we up the ante on the treadmill because we know it’s going to give us a good workout. Life is given to us by the Creator to do same thing to our faith—to give it a maximum workout. With the treadmill, you can press ‘stop’ and get off. Life doesn’t work quite the same. You can’t ‘get off’ of life unless you take yourself out; and some folks are doing this. They are ending their lives because the pace of life exceeds their emotional acumen to deal with it. God has given us a better way! It’s the way that leads to wholeness.

It’s awesome that we’re making all these technological and scientific advancements, but ‘The Cloud’ ain’t got nothing on the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus Christ is where the action is! Through him, God has equipped us to not just keep pace with life, but to blaze a trail of love that others can follow. God would not give us a race that we’re incapable of running. Let’s get moving by being more committed to Him. Let’s study His Word and pray more. Give the Holy Spirit greater room in your heart. Throw out the welcome mat and ask him to come in and help you prepare. He’ll help you train. Then you’ll have the endurance to run up that mountain and run the race God has placed before you with the victory of faith. ■

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

“Have You Ever Tried Running up A Mountain?”
written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2019. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!