Friday, 19 December 2014


I have so many problemsYou may think you have problems, but the more I get to know some people, the more I realise how deeply wounded some people are with problems that are beyond them. I have problems, but after spending time with some people whose problems are so deep, so complex, so painful, my own problems pale by comparison. 
Even though I have my own problems, I deal with others' problems. The Apostle Paul told the Corinthians, "[God] who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too." ( 2Cor. 1:4-5) In other words, in the midst of our own problems (which was jail and possible execution) God's enabling comfort has meant that we can comfort others. In God's economy, you always give away what you want.

He has problemsGod has given me a small measure of grace to be able to help people with their problems. It is this same grace that has kept me from being overwhelmed by these problems. And it is only by God's grace that my heart has been enlarged sufficiently so that I care about the people whose problems I try to play a small role in helping. In fact, I know that God has called me to help people with problems. This call effects the way I pray (note Philippians 2:14). I continually ask God to help me to help others. And the more people present me with their sacred spaces by openning more of their hearts to me, the more I become dependent on God for His grace and wisdom to try and help. 
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:16
Masking PainSometimes a person's problem is so painful and complex they don't even know where to begin. But sometimes it is even worse than this. This happens when not only does a person feel the constant reminder of their problem, but they are uncertain as to what it actually is. For those who have seen our Bouncing Back DVD, you'll know that we tell the stories of seven people. One of them, appeared to have their life in perfect order. They had what most thought of as a good home with loving parents, a great education, friends, and even a loving church community in which they could worship God. But, things were not as they appeared to be. It was not a good home. Their home was anything but a safe place. Instead of being protected by their parents, they were abused by them in the worse fashion. So painful were the daily scars inflicted into them that they now live without any memory of their life before the age of 11. The sexual abuse they endured caused them to go numb in several ways. Nearly forty years later and despite a loving marriage and the blessing of children, the numbness is still there. They can never get back what the sexual, physical, emotional, and spiritual abuse robbed them of. And like so many innocent victims of such abuse, they ache and don't fully understand why.
For I wrote to you out of much affliction and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you pain but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you.
Second Corinthians 2:4
I have problemsWhat possible help is available to someone experiencing such intolerable invisible pain? Firstly, a revelation from God of His love and acceptance of them. This limitless love is grounded in God's limitless knowledge of them and everything they've gone through. It was the prayer of the Apostle Paul for the Ephesians who had largely been caught up in cultic worship of the idol-goddess, Artemis, that he asked the Lord that the eyes of their understanding might be opened (Eph. 1:18). It is the understanding of God's pure limitless love that gives a person healing-hope. And based on the great Apostle's prayer for the Ephesians, this kind of understanding can only after prayerful seeking of it. Anyone who scoffs at the power of the love of God to transform the broken into wholeness - is confessing their own lack of inexperience of God's love. 
and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:19
Secondarily, inner healing grace from God comes from a demonstration of His love, acceptance, and understanding through His people (1Peter 4:10). This kind of grace most powerfully comes from those who have gone through similar experiences and then experiences God's healing love - wherein we were comforted, we comfort others

God is loveThere are some problems that are so painful, so deep, so complex, that no pill can make the ache go away, no counsel can talk it away, no distraction can forget it, and no drink can drown it. Yet, because many of these problems are invisible, and therefore intensely frustrating, it often causes people to take drastic action - such as defacing themselves with permanent ink or razor blades so that others can begin to get a glimpse of their pain. All of this is not just a cry for help - it is a soul screeching cry for help that often gets confused for rebellion, depression, moodiness, or unfriendliness. The cause of such intense anguish and ache is often a serious violation. For a world that is drunk on the lie that sex is just fun and recreation (unlike the Biblically-informed Christian view that sex is about intimacy grounded in trust, commitment, covenant, and sacrificial love, for the purpose of unique union and fruitfulness with one other person) the fruit of their stupor is often broken and shattered little girls who are almost irrepairably damaged for multiple decades to come, and little boys who not only bear the physical scars of what inevitably happens when their bodies are subjected to unnatural acts, but also the deep sense of betrayal that causes them to perpetually angry (either in rage or depression) and distrustful of all. At the root of problems like this is the confusion over love. The predator tells his victim that this is "love". The child grows up with the distorted belief that the only way they can relate to men is by being sexual - because this is "love". But this is wrong°. Thus, when they hear the sincerely intended news that "God loves you!", we can only imagine how hollow this must sound to them! 

What they need is often what they shun. They crave love. For a season they are intoxicated enough on the lie of the world that love=sex to pursue it. But it only deepens their ache. The Apostle Paul prayed for the Ephesian believers to be able to comprehend the love of God. God's love is like no other love. It is pure, unselfish, considerate, sacrificial, extravagant, persistent, unconditional.
may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:18-19
Not many begin to comprehend God's love for them. The rare times when someone in the Bible got a glimpse of God's love for them it universally resulted in them being physically and emotionally overcome. The pain that causes problems for many people is almost instantly resolved when the betrayal, violation, deception, and abuse they received is countered by God's infinite trustworthiness, guardian protection, truthfulness and tender care. This is why divine limitless love heals.

Not everyone's problems are the result of violations. There are of course financial problems that we get ourselves into - or are placed into. There are relationship problems that confound us. There are health problems that frustrate us. There are problems that are caused by us. There are problems that we didn't invite. Here's what I've learned about problems.
1. All problems are relatively solveable. (There may not be a perfect solution, but there is a workable solution.)
2. Problems nearly always take humility to solve. (The size of the problem is proportional to the humilty required to solve it.)
3. Denial only makes the problems get worse. (True healing always requires truthfulness.)
4. God can always redeem our problems. (If you yield to God, He can make you a stronger better person because of your problem.)
5. Even in the midst of our problems, we can always help others with their problems. (Don't let your problems define who you are!)
What's your problem? We've all got problems (if you haven't got problems then you've got a problem)! God provides His love, His grace, and His comfort, so we can face our problems. He has ordained that His love, His grace, and His comfort be imparted to you through the Body of believers in Christ (1Peter 4:10). The Apostle Paul, writing to the highly problematic Corinthians, left them with this reminder, and I follow suit-
¶ The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the comfort of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Second Corinthians 13:14
Ps. Andrew

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