Last year I came across an interesting fact when I read results of a study looking at the level of discomfort people perceive when blood was taken. This study compared people who looked away from the procedure with those who watched the needle go in. And, guess what? Those looking at what was happening reported experiencing less pain or discomfort than those who were looking away.
Of course, we can all appreciate wanting to look away when blood is drawn. In this case, looking away is a completely innocent and understandable thing to do. But it led me to think about a deeper issue - our desire and inclination to look away from painful or difficult things in our lives, rather than facing them.
In helping others, I have found that many people would like it if Jesus were to heal their pain, or make difficult aspects of life go away, but without having the accompanying willingness to face the reality of the issue themselves. Again, I think we can all sympathise with this struggle as nobody particularly likes having to face trouble or painful realities.
But, unfortunately, that’s not how things work. The Lord wants to help us, but not by enabling us to deny reality. He wants to look at the reality of the painful struggle together with us, and help us in it. We must be bold and brave, and face the pain. It is at this point where we might find ourselves resisting the ways of God. We might feel genuinely terrified or have a fear that God will not to be able to help us in our need. We might have a slightly unwilling and stubborn heart that wants healing on our own terms. But, in all of these things, God wants to help us.
We must learn to trust God enough to be willing to face the pain or difficulty together with Him. We must learn to accept and embrace every part of the reality of our lives, even when it hurts. As a ministry team, we sometimes encourage people by saying: “God is not in the denial, but He is in the reality, even if that reality is painful. When you face difficult things, you will find Him close at hand to help”. And, if we are completely honest, sometimes we have to encourage ourselves in the same way.
When we refuse to face reality, then the enemy comes in and makes problems look much bigger and scarier than they really are. He will say: “You can never handle this problem, and God cannot help you either”. But, guess what? The enemy is telling lies. Our Bible text for today tells us that, together with God, we can do all things.
Prayer: Father in heaven, please help me to trust You, and be willing to be brave, and face the difficult things in my life together with You. I acknowledge that You don’t just make real things disappear, but You help me, heal me and enable me to overcome. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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