The Tragedy of Suicide

The tragedy of suicide, taking one’s own life, occurs throughout the world. It is not limited to any age, gender, religion, or ethnic group, although the suicide rate is higher in some countries. The World Health Organization estimates that approximately one million people die from suicide each year, or one death every 40 seconds. It is predicted that by 2020 the death rate will increase to one every 20 seconds. There are indications that for each adult who died by suicide there may have been more than 20 others who attempted suicide. In 2019, the countries with the top 5 rates of suicide are Lithuania, Russia, Guyana, South Korea and Belarus. Nearly 30% of all suicides worldwide occur in India and China. Youth suicide is increasing at the greatest rate and young people are now the group at highest risk in a third of all countries.

The incidence of suicide is at an epidemic level in the United States. According to one news report in November 2018, the U.S. suicide rate is at a 50-year high! The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, AFSP, reports that suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. More people die—on average 129 per day—as a result of suicide than car accidents in the U.S. That is over 47,085 deaths due to suicide in the U.S. per year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the U.S. reports that suicide is the #2 cause of death for people between the ages of 10 and 34. In addition, there were approximately 1,400,000 Americans who attempted suicide in 2017. Women attempt suicide 1.4 times more often than men, but men die as the result of suicide 3.5 times more often than women. Physicians have been reported to have a higher rate of suicide—twice as high—than any other profession.

Veterans in the U.S. have been taking their own lives at the rate of at least 20 per day—1.5 times higher than the general population. Active-duty, U.S. military suicides were at a record high in 2018 with a total of 321, including Marines, sailors, airmen and soldiers.  That was the highest number of suicides among active-duty personnel in at least 6 years.

All for Jesus Ministries is based in New Mexico in the U.S. According to this New Mexico website:

https://nmhealth.org/publication/view/help/1832/,

New Mexico’s rate of suicide has consistently been more than 50% higher than the U.S. rate. Sadly, New Mexico had the fourth highest suicide rate in the U.S. in 2016. One suicide every 19 hours—more than one per day—occurs in New Mexico. Approximately 491 people died by suicide in New Mexico in 2017. That is more than deaths resulting from breast cancer or people driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The above statistics do not take into account that, due to shame or disgrace, suicide is generally underreported.  Attempting suicide, or actually committing suicide, is usually the result of unbearable emotional, mental, spiritual or physical pain and trauma. Trauma includes the death of a loved one, divorce, any type of abuse, rape, being subjected to war or terrorism, a homicidal attempt on one’s life, serious accidents and natural disasters. The debilitating symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can lead to suicide.

For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life.

2 Corinthians 1:8 (NKJV)

Paul wrote about despairing even of life in 2 Corinthians 1:8. According to 2 Corinthians 11:23-28, Paul had gone through unimaginable trials, including beatings with rods, whippings with thirty-nine lashes five times, perils everywhere he went, surviving a ship wreck, sleeplessness, hunger and thirst,  being stoned, and being thrown into prison. He endured those things without losing hope, yet in the province of Asia, something burdened him beyond measure and above strength, causing him and his companions to despair of life itself. However, they did not commit suicide, but trusted in God to deliver them. Paul said that the prayers of others brought them through their season of hopelessness.

A broken heart is often the starting point for suicidal thoughts. The person who attempts or commits suicide has lost hope that the pain will stop any other way. The enemy of our souls, the devil, adds to that hopelessness by agreeing with the person that suicide is the answer. A demonic spirit of suicide may be attached to the pain, and the combination can be deadly. When someone commits suicide, they escape the pain and trauma, but their loved ones and friends are left with devastating pain and trauma as a result and their hearts are broken into hundreds of pieces.

Suicide is a tragedy that can often be prevented. How? First and foremost, the person needs to sincerely ask Jesus Christ to come into their life and be their Lord and Savior. That does not automatically mean that all the pain and suicidal thoughts will instantly disappear, although that can happen. In fact, people who are followers of Jesus Christ are not exempt from the devastation or the finality of the act of suicide, but they have the opportunity to receive healing and freedom from emotional and spiritual pain. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). Healing and freedom are possible through Jesus Christ!

Feeling alone and isolating oneself from others only increases the emotional pain. Before the pain gets to the point where someone gives up and attempts to take his or her own life, they need to talk to someone. Talking about the pain and trauma can be very comforting and it can release some of the pressure, but that is a choice each person must make for themselves. They should also seek help from a qualified Christian counselor or minister. Not all Christian counselors or ministers have the understanding of the enormous spiritual dynamics involved in the hopelessness that leads to suicide. However, there is help available for those who are despairing of life itself.

Life is a precious gift from our Most High God and He wants us to live out our destinies as His children and followers of His Son, Jesus.  Satan wants to steal our life purposes, to kill us, and to destroy God’s plans for our lives.  However, Jesus came so that we could have abundant life as He said in John 10:10.

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

John 10:10 (NKJV)

Since we are prayer ministers, not counselors or mental health professionals, we always recommend that anyone with severe emotional symptoms seek out the help of medical doctors and Christian counselors in their local area and country.

In the event of an emergency situation for someone who is contemplating suicide in the U.S., please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255, or contact the Crisis text line by texting “TALK” to 741741.

We do not suggest that we know and understand all of the aspects of mental illness, especially the effects of mind-altering drugs and prescription medications. However, we have observed that emotional pain is often accompanied by spiritual considerations that need to be addressed in the spiritual realm through prayer. Biblical inner healing prayer may help someone who has experienced suicidal thoughts, depending on the individual’s specific circumstances. When Jesus releases past pain and trauma through prayer, it also often results in the removal of suicidal tendencies. Praise the Lord!

Jesus came “to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning,
the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.”

Isaiah 61:3 (NKJV)

Jesus wants us to live in His joy!
Kathy Shelton

 

The Pain

Emotional pain.
Physical pain.
Mental pain.
Spiritual pain.

The pain is so real. The pain is so intense. The emotional, physical, mental and spiritual pain from traumatic events can cause people to do many things to try to escape, numb, or cope with the pain they are feeling. It can cause someone to turn to drugs, alcohol, sexual promiscuity, cutting, denial, anger, and other self-destructive behaviors. The pain can lead to addictions to drugs, alcohol or other ungodly coping mechanisms. However, the Lord is the only One who can bring true, lasting freedom and healing from the pain.

He heals the brokenhearted
And binds up their wounds.

Psalm 147:3 (NKJV)

Trauma includes betrayal, emotional abuse, mental abuse, verbal abuse, physical abuse, spiritual abuse, sexual abuse, ritual abuse, rape, the death of a loved one, divorce, accidents and natural disasters. The levels of emotional pain that we can experience from trauma vary greatly. As traumatic situations become more severe, and if they are ongoing, the emotional pain can, and often does, cause physical illness.

Secondary trauma is trauma that we heard about or saw that happened to someone else, but did not directly involve us. Secondary trauma can have a significant impact on our hearts and spirits even though we did not experience the traumatic event first-hand. Ministers, counselors, mental health professionals, police officers, firefighters, and people in many other professions that deal with the public can carry extreme, and sometimes debilitating, amounts of primary and secondary pain and trauma.

Trauma is energy. It comes at us like a blow to a bone. That bone can receive a hair-line fracture, a splintering, a complete break or several breaks depending on the force behind the blow. Emotional and spiritual trauma have similar effects on our hearts, minds and spirits. The effects from traumatic events that do not receive healing will steadily distract our focus and drain our energy away from reaching our God-given destinies.  The pain from trauma will fester and eventually erupt like a volcano if it is not released and the damage is not healed.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a serious result of extreme traumatic events. It is not just limited to veterans of war, although there are a high percentage of veterans suffering with horrific PTSD symptoms. Many more people are living with the debilitating symptoms of PTSD than anyone realizes. PTSD is a real illness. It can develop after living through or seeing a life-threatening, traumatic event. PTSD makes a person feel stressed and afraid after the danger is over. PTSD can cause problems like flashbacks, or feeling like the event is happening again, trouble sleeping or nightmares, feeling alone, and panic attacks. PTSD starts at different times for different people. Signs of PTSD may start soon after a frightening event and then continue. Other people develop new or more severe signs months or even years later.  PTSD can lead to all of the ungodly coping behaviors mentioned above and that last, most self-destructive action of suicide.

Current traumatic situations can, and often do, bring the emotional pain of similar past traumatic experiences to the surface. We were meant to love God with whole, not broken, hearts. We cannot do that when the pain and trauma are constantly bombarding our hearts and spirits.

Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”

Matthew 22:37 (NKJV)

The pain can also cause us to wear a mask around others. We don’t want others to see how deeply we are hurting. Many people just don’t know how to cope. They may try to get help, but it may be unsuccessful, or even cause more damage. So, they may eventually turn to wearing a mask, not letting anyone know how severely brokenhearted they are—not letting anyone know the level of pain that they are carrying. However, the more that we wear that mask, the more the mask becomes part of who we are! The following poem by Helen Joseph, The Mask, addresses this very well.

Always a mask

Held in the slim hand,

Whitely,

Always she had a mask

Before her face–

Smiling and sprightly,

The Mask.

 

Truly the wrist

Holding it lightly

Fitted the task:

Sometimes however

Was there a shiver,

Fingertip quiver,

Ever so slightly–

Holding the mask?

 

For years and years and

Years I wondered

But dared not ask.

 

And then–

I blundered,

I looked behind,

Behind the mask

To find

Nothing–She had no face.

She had become

Merely a hand

Holding a mask

With grace.

I have quoted the above poem during Healing the Brokenhearted Ministry seminars and workshops for many years. There has always been a very strong reaction to the poem from those in attendance. Many people can relate to wearing a mask. It is not socially acceptable to wear our pain on our sleeves—to let it be known to others. Unfortunately—very unfortunately—in the Christian Church, in the Body of Christ, there is so much emotional and spiritual pain being carried by believers, and they are afraid to be real with anyone. They have been hurt too much. They may have been spiritually abused and deeply wounded by other Christians. They don’t want to take a chance that it will happen again and understandably so.

When we go to a church service and look around, we will normally see rows and rows of people wearing their masks. If we ask them how they are doing, they will answer, “I’m doing fine. I’m doing good. I am blessed.” Yes, Christians are blessed because Jesus came, died, and rose again so that we can spend eternity with Him and the Father in Heaven. However, life on this earth is difficult to say the least. It is not a bed of roses even for, and sometimes especially for, Christians. We have all experienced emotional pain and trauma.

The answer, however, is not to walk around wearing a mask! The answer is not to worry about what others will think. Our Most High God is the only One we need to please. Wearing masks does not please Him. If we please Him, then we will be pleasing those people He wants us to please. We cannot do that while wearing a mask!

Instead of continuing to wear a mask that will draw us deeper and deeper into isolation from our Most High God and other people, we need to find someone with whom we can share our deepest pain. We need to allow that mask to come off. We need to be careful, because as many of us have discovered, not everyone is safe. However, we can ask a trustworthy, Christian friend or family member if they know a safe believer who can help us receive freedom in Biblical ways. We must reach out and not isolate ourselves in order to receive the inner healing we need.

The Lord is near to the heartbroken
And He saves those who are crushed in spirit (contrite in heart, truly sorry for their sin).

Psalm 34:18 (AMP)

Healing for our pain requires that we take the first step and sincerely ask Jesus to be our Lord and Savior. We must obey God’s Word and repent for our sins. Jesus’ sacrifice was a huge price paid for our freedom and healing, and we need to honor it by being honest with our Most High God and genuine in our confession of faith.

Jesus Christ can release and heal our pain and trauma! 

Jesus said:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;”

Luke 4:18 (NKJV)

JESUS is always safe! We need to talk to Him. We must pray and listen for His response. He will lead us and guide us on the healing path that we need to follow for the specific pain and trauma that we have experienced.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)

 

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.

Revelation 21:4

May the Lord Jesus bless you as you seek His healing and freedom from pain and trauma. I pray that your heart will be open to receiving that healing and freedom and that nothing will stop you from pursuing it. I bless you as you determine to stop wearing a mask long enough to get the help you need so that one day you will not have to wear that mask ever again. May Jesus Christ strengthen your heart and give you courage. May you see the goodness of the Lord as you remove your mask!
Kathy Shelton

 

JUSTICE… What is it?

Many seek the ruler’s favor, But justice for man comes from the Lord.  Proverbs 29:26 (NKJV)

Countless followers of Jesus Christ, especially those with broken hearts, long for the day when they will see justice for the wrongs done to them by others. It can cause endless torment to our minds, hearts and spirits when there is seemingly no justice for evil acts committed against us. However, the reality is that we may never see justice accomplished here on this earth for many reasons. 

Definitions of justice include fairness or reasonableness, especially in the way people are treated or decisions are made. Justice is also defined as the legal system, or the act of applying or upholding the law. There is no justice achieved in the world’s court systems in an overwhelming number of cases. However, every judge on this earth will have to answer to the Most High God for every unjust ruling they have imposed in court.

 Therefore the law is powerless, And justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; Therefore perverse judgment proceeds.  Habakkuk 1:4 (NKJV)

Innocent people are wrongly convicted and go to prison. People who are guilty without a shadow of a doubt are released and serve no time for their crimes due to loop holes in the law. If a guilty person is convicted, sentences are often very minimal. Most of the time, criminals do not compensate their victims for the horrible pain and trauma they inflicted. To make matters worse, criminals usually find some way of blaming the victims for what happened. Criminals have no conscience and perjure themselves—lie  in court—and they will say and do anything to avoid justice.

A disreputable witness scorns justice, And the mouth of the wicked devours iniquity.  Proverbs 19:28 (NKJV)

There are so many repeat offenders in the world who just move on from one victim to the next. People who have 2, 3, or over a dozen driving while intoxicated (DWI) convictions are still free and driving after drinking. How many serial killers and serial rapists have we heard about on the news? Rape is an extremely traumatic crime that often goes unpunished due to a lack of evidence, a “he said, she said” attitude by the legal system, or outright blaming the victim. The emotional, mental and spiritual pain and trauma resulting from rape can lead to victims taking their own lives. Where is the justice in that?

For I proclaim the name of the Lord: Ascribe greatness to our God. He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He.  Deuteronomy 32:3-4 (NKJV)

Our Most High God is a God of truth, without injustice, righteous and upright! His justice will prevail in the end—if not on this earth, after we pass from this life into eternity. God knows the truth, the whole truth. No one can lie to Almighty God. He will punish evil doers. Our God will execute justice for their victims!

The Lord executes righteousness And justice for all who are oppressed.  Psalm 103:6 (NKJV)

He does not preserve the life of the wicked, But gives justice to the oppressed.  Job 36:6 (NKJV)

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all.  For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.  Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 (NKJV)

Make no mistake—there will be consequences for evil works and sins—if we do not sincerely repent and change our behavior, which is the evidence of a real, personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Our hearts must be renewed and sorrow for our sins must be godly and genuine. Our All-knowing God knows the difference.

It is a joy for the just to do justice, But destruction will come to the workers of iniquity.  Proverbs 21:15 (NKJV)

Deuteronomy 28 says that obedience to the Lord results in blessings and disobedience brings curses on us. The Bible includes numerous examples of justice and punishment that people experienced due to their disobedience and sin. Here are just a few:

• Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden of Eden. (Genesis 3:1-24)

• Pharaoh’s son died because Pharaoh would not let God’s people leave. (Exodus 12:29)

• Moses did not get to go into the promised land. (Numbers 20:7-12)

• David and Bathsheba’s son died. (2 Samuel 12:13-19)

• Ananias and Sapphira died after lying. (Acts 5:1-10)

• Lot’s wife was turned into a pillar of salt. (Genesis 19:17, 26)

 

There are also many examples in the Bible of God’s justice that blessed people for their obedience to him. They include:

• Joseph received a huge honor and promotion after enduring an unjust prison sentence. (Genesis 41:37-46)

• Peter was supernaturally released from prison. (Acts 12:5-11)

• David was victorious over Goliath. (1 Samuel 17)

• Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego were unharmed in the fiery furnace. (Daniel 3:19-28)

• Daniel was not hurt in the lion’s den. (Daniel 6:10-22)

• Paul and Silas were set free from prison. (Acts 16:25-40)

 

While waiting and hoping for God’s justice to be carried out on our behalf, we should do the following:

» Trust God! Peace comes when we trust God and His Word.

» Read the Bible out loud daily.

» Praise and worship God on a daily basis.

» Thank God that justice will come in His way and timing.

» Focus on drawing closer to the Lord.

» Ask Jesus to heal the emotional and spiritual pain and trauma inside us.

» Pursue help to receive healing and freedom from a trained, follower of Jesus if needed.

 

There will be eternal consequences and God’s justice for sin and rebellion to God. Unbelievers will go to Hell. Liars will go to Hell. The devil and evil angels will end up in Hell. There are no loop holes in God’s laws! Some professing Christians choose to believe that the blood of Jesus Christ covers all their future sins and that there is no need for them to repent and change their attitudes and behaviors. They are wrong. Paul repeatedly confronted sinning “believers.” Jesus paid the price for our sins, but we must genuinely accept Him as our personal Lord and Savior, not just say a prayer and continue to practice known sin. The Lord Jesus said:

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’  Matthew 7:21-23 (NKJV)

When we pass from this life into eternity, we will all be judged by our Most High God. The Bible is clear about God’s justice and judgment.

Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.  2 Corinthians 5:9-11 (NKJV)

But the Lord shall endure forever; He has prepared His throne for judgment.  He shall judge the world in righteousness, And He shall administer judgment for the peoples in uprightness.  Psalm 9:7-8 (NKJV)

The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.  Revelation 20:10-12 (NKJV)

How much greater punishment do you think he will deserve who has rejected and trampled under foot the Son of God, and has considered unclean and common the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and has insulted the Spirit of grace [who imparts the unmerited favor and blessing of God]? For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine [retribution and the deliverance of justice rest with Me], I will repay [the wrongdoer].” And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” It is a fearful and terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God [incurring His judgment and wrath].  Hebrews 10:29-31 (AMP)

Justice is our Most High God’s righteous judgment and punishment for evil actions done to us, or by us, that have not been confessed and forgiven through the blood of Jesus Christ, and where no genuine repentance has been produced by godly sorrow. God’s justice and judgment will be executed in His perfect timing.

 

Kathy Shelton

Seasons of Emotional and Spiritual Healing

Jesus Christ can lead us through seasons of healing from past emotional and spiritual pain and trauma if we will let Him. However, the Lord never forces anyone to do anything. Our Most High God created us with free wills. It is our choice to enter the inner healing process, or to remain in wounded and broken conditions. Jesus was born, died and rose from the dead to set the captives free and to heal the brokenhearted (Isaiah 61:1), but we must choose to receive His freedom and inner healing.

The first step to receiving inner healing is to sincerely ask Jesus to be the Lord and Savior of our lives! Only genuine relationships with Jesus Christ, Father God and the Holy Spirit can provide the emotional and spiritual healing that we need. Our obedience to the Lord and His commandments and instructions is the evidence that we are His children. Obeying God is crucial in the healing process.

 
 
The Lord rarely, if ever, releases all past pain and trauma at one time. The emotional and spiritual healing He provides usually occur during different seasons of our lives. Seasons of healing can last days, weeks, months, or even years.  Just as in the natural realm, there are longer seasons, shorter seasons and more stormy seasons. The important thing is that we enter the inner healing season trusting the Lord to lead us through it. We must have the courage to enter or re-enter the healing process whenever He directs us to do so.
   
 
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6
 
Sometimes the opportunity to enter a season of healing presents itself spontaneously without us doing anything to initiate it. Emotional pain from the past can be, and often is, triggered and comes up as the result of current painful or traumatic situations. When that happens, we need to trust that the Lord knows the perfect time for healing of an area of emotional pain and trauma and follow His guidance to pursue freedom. We should pray as Jeremiah prayed in Jeremiah 17:14, “Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for You are my praise.” However, we also need to realize that the healing of emotional pain and trauma can be a painful process, especially if we have experienced serious emotional trauma over a long period of time.
 
We must enter seasons of healing with this realization that we may experience pain during the process. Just as healing from physical surgery, illnesses, or accidents normally involves pain, healing from emotional and spiritual pain and trauma is a journey that includes good days and some very painful ones. Don’t expect the healing journey to be a piece of cake. However, Jesus promised to be with us always and we can endure the pain of the healing process with Him right by our sides. His incomparable love and peace give us the strength we need to receive inner healing from pain and trauma.
 
If we fell into a cactus plant, and needles were lodged in our bodies, there most certainly would be pain involved in their removal. We are blessed as followers of Jesus that He can apply supernatural anesthesia during the healing process and minimize the pain of the process as He releases the suppressed emotional and spiritual pain and trauma, and heals our hearts and spirits. The healing balm of the Holy Spirit’s presence is the best medicine available for the challenging and ongoing, inner healing process.
 
We must give ourselves time to recover during and between seasons of healing. Our hearts and spirits cannot endure non-stop emotional and spiritual surgery any more than our physical bodies could survive numerous physical surgeries without resting and recovery time between surgeries. Rest is another important aspect of the inner healing process.
 
Also, it is more difficult to receive inner healing from past pain and trauma if we are experiencing current stress and trauma. That hinders the healing process just as an underlying illness can hinder healing and recovery from physical surgery. Therefore, we must do whatever we can to reduce or eliminate ongoing stress and trauma to receive the most effective, godly inner healing possible.
 
The end result of going through seasons of inner healing is worth whatever the journey may require. We must be diligent and wise in seeking help from trained, Christian counselors or prayer ministers. Healing for emotional and spiritual pain and trauma usually requires more than prayer from a family member or friend. We must also always give God praise and thanks for the freedom and healing He provides every step of the way. Thankfulness increases joy and they are both essential in the healing process.
 
 
 
 
I will praise You, O Lord,
with my whole heart;
I will tell of all Your marvelous works.
Psalm 9:1

 

 
 
Another very important aspect of completing the journey through seasons of healing is waiting with hope. When we see a rose bud that has not yet opened, we wait with hope that it will someday become a beautiful flower. Waiting on the Lord and His perfect timing for the seasons of healing in our lives to be accomplished brings freedom in and of itself. It brings freedom from fear and hopelessness.
 
 
 
I would have lost heart,
unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness
of the Lord
In the land of the living.
Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!
Psalm 27:13-14
 
 
 
My prayer for you is that you will face emotional and spiritual pain and trauma as the Lord leads you into your seasons of healing, and that Jesus will release that pain and trauma so that you can blossom into all He has planned for your life.

 

 
 
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
 
 
 
 
 
Kathy Shelton
 
 
All quoted Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version (NKJV) of the Bible.

 

Joy to the World… Surviving Holidays and Celebrations

Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Nehemiah 8:10 (NKJV)

What a blessing it is to get together with family and friends during Easter, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Years, birthdays and other times of celebration.  However, these days and seasons—which should be joyful and a blessing—can be extremely lonely and emotionally painful times for many people. As a result and very sadly, the rate of suicide increases during the holidays. That tragedy can be prevented.

When emotional pain or trauma from the past is triggered during the holidays, it can be extremely difficult for those who are unknowingly carrying that pain.  They may not realize that their reaction to Aunt Suzie or Uncle Harry is really partially the result of past pain that has been buried and is now coming to the surface.  Reactions to what should be happy situations can appear to be inappropriate and even unreasonable to the traumatized person and others, because they do not understand that suppressed pain and trauma are being triggered.

An example of emotional pain from the past being triggered after over six decades was described to me by one of my ministry recipients several years ago.  This woman, Betty (not her real name), had been married for over 50 years when she asked her husband to go to the store to buy a jar of pickles for her.  Betty told him the type and brand of pickles that she wanted, but when he returned home, he had a jar of generic pickles that was not even the type that she had requested.

This woman, who was in her seventies, said that she went into a rage!  However, Betty also had some knowledge about inner emotional wounds and quickly realized that her reaction had very little to do with the pickles.  So, she asked the Lord what was going on with her, and He revealed the root of her emotional outburst.  When Betty was a child, her family was very poor and her mother only bought things that were the least expensive.  If her mother came home with anything that was not the cheapest item, this woman’s father went into a rage.  The pain and trauma that surfaced when Betty’s husband came home with the generic brand of pickles had been stuffed for over 60 years!

The end of the story is that Betty received the healing and freedom that she needed from this past emotional pain and trauma through Jesus Christ.  Praise the Lord!  You can also receive the same healing and freedom if you will pursue it with a qualified, trained Christian minister.  Healing the Brokenhearted Ministry is one type of inner healing ministry meant to help people receive freedom and healing from emotional and spiritual pain and trauma.

Until inner healing is received, there are several things we can do to minimize experiencing emotional pain during the holidays.  If we know that certain people, or specific situations have caused us emotional pain in the past, we must do whatever we can to limit our contact with them, or completely avoid being exposed to them, if at all possible.   We must set healthy, godly boundaries to protect our hearts and spirits.  A good example of this is avoiding watching seasonal programs on television, listening to particular holiday music, and going to parties or events that are sure to bring the past emotional pain to the surface.  It is much easier to avoid being triggered than to deal with the emotional pain once it has come to the surface.

Also, focusing on the main reason for the celebration is a must in order to avoid emotional pain and trauma from ruining holidays.  For example, remembering that Christmas is about the birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior—and not about the gifts, parties and social events—will help immensely.  We cannot get offended and hurt as easily if we keep the main thing, the main thing.  Jesus’ birth allowed for His death and resurrection which provided all people the opportunity to receive forgiveness for their sins and healing for their broken hearts.  Taking our focus off Aunt Suzie or Uncle Harry will help prevent the pain and trauma they trigger from coming up in our hearts and spirits.  Everyone with broken hearts must focus, focus, focus on the Healer and not on the people and situations that caused our hearts to be broken.  Creating new, joyful memories helps heal our broken hearts as well. 

If you dread the holidays because emotional pain from the past is usually triggered, please know that you are not alone.  This is very common.  However, there is help.  Jesus can release that past pain and trauma!  As Nehemiah 8:10 says, “The joy of the Lord is your strength.”  His joy is not dependent on our circumstances or any past emotional pain we have suffered.  His joy is endless and without comparison.  If we are on a downward spiral into the opposite of His joy, we must draw near to our heavenly Father and pray for His joy to overshadow the past pain. 

It takes determination and laser-like focus on our part to be joyful during the holidays. Returning to a place of peace once emotional pain and trauma have produced depression, great sadness, despair or hopelessness in our hearts and spirits is not easy.  However, it is possible through the love and healing power of a genuine, personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  There is never a better time to ask Jesus to be our personal Lord and Savior than the present moment.  He wants to heal our broken hearts, but He will never force anyone into a relationship with Him.  We must willingly choose to accept that gift, which will make it possible for emotional and spiritual healing to take place.  Once Jesus becomes the true focus of our lives, we can ask Him to release the pain that has surfaced and replace it with His peace and joy.

God loves us very much and wants us to be set free from past pain and trauma.  My prayer for you is that you will allow the Lord to direct your steps to receive the inner healing you need.  May God bless you with His peace and joy every holiday season!

Kathy Shelton

The Joy of the Lord IS Your Strength!

Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Nehemiah 8:10 (NKJV)

Joy means happiness, pleasure, bliss, and ecstasy to the world. Since most followers of Jesus Christ have come from a worldly background,  it is easy to confuse the joy of the Lord with those emotions. However, the joy that comes from knowing the Lord and following Him is far beyond fleeting feelings of happiness. It is a sense of peace and contentment in knowing that one day we will be in heaven with our Most High God and the Lord Jesus forever.

If the enemy, Satan, can steal our joy, he has won half the battle. The devil loves to lead believers into a state of anxiety, fear, or worry. That is one of the ways he gets our focus off the joy of the Lord. If our hearts are broken, we are more likely to succumb to his tactics. One reason it is so important for us to cling to the joy of the Lord in spite of our situations is that it gives us strength against the enemy.

The joy of the Lord is our strength and remembering Almighty God’s marvelous works will help us to receive His joy and to sing to the Lord. Traumatic experiences weaken our hearts and spirits and the only true and lasting remedy is healing through Jesus Christ. The most incredible thing that the One True God has done for all of us is that He sent Jesus to this earth in order for us to be offered forgiveness for our sins and healing for our broken hearts. We must thank God for that and talk about it, because it is very healing to talk of all His wondrous works and it fills us with His joy!

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

Philippians 4:4 (NKJV)

The fact that Jesus died a horrific death is nothing to rejoice about if He had not also risen from the dead. The disciples and His family were overcome with emotional pain before they realized that His promise to be resurrected was to be taken literally. Once they saw Jesus alive again, they rejoiced!

Since we have the blessing of knowing that Jesus’ death was not the end of the story, we should enthusiastically REJOICE! The more often we remember and meditate on the fact that Father God gave His Son, Jesus, to die for us and that Jesus rose from the dead, the more we will be able to rejoice. The Father and the Son love us deeply and eternally. No person can come close to that magnitude of love for us.

Our broken hearts are no excuse not to rejoice in the Lord. However, the devil uses the emotional and spiritual pain in our hearts and spirits to bring discouragement and despair into our minds, hearts and spirits. That is why we must obey God’s Word faithfully and rejoice in the Lord. As we rejoice in God and all He has done for us, we are filled with His joy. That strengthens and heals us in ways that are unseen, but more real and lasting than the world’s solutions for pain and trauma. The joy of the Lord is our strength and it helps heal our broken hearts.

Serve the Lord with gladness and delight;
Come before His presence with joyful singing.

Psalm 100:2 (AMP)

Serving the Lord can look very different, depending on our culture, our environment, our maturity level, and the stage or season of our life. Everyone, including mothers, fathers, students, teachers, doctors, business owners, employees, farmers, shepherds, missionaries, and ministers, can serve the Lord in their daily lives. For example, children can serve the Lord by being respectful and obedient to their parents.

As we do whatever the Lord has given us the opportunity to do in this life, we should do it with gladness and delight. However, a broken heart can dampen our ability to feel glad. Joyful singing may seem impossible at times. We may even become numb to feelings of gladness and joy as a result of the pain and trauma that we have experienced. Anything that inhibits our capacity for joy and gladness must be addressed and resolved. The pain and trauma that caused our hearts to be broken can steal our joy and strength.

Jesus Christ can release emotional pain and trauma from our hearts and spirits. He alone can heal the brokenhearted in a lasting way. We cannot serve the Lord in freedom until we have received healing for painful and traumatic situations that have caused the numbing of our emotions. The Lord wants us to joyfully sing to Him. We must ask Him to heal our hearts and spirits from whatever may be preventing us from doing so. A personal relationship with Jesus is the key to the restoration of joy in our hearts, minds and spirits. That joy gives us the ability to serve the Lord with gladness and delight.

When our hearts are broken, we must stand up against what the devil has done in our lives by embracing the joy of the Lord. If we allow the pain we have experienced to determine our outlooks on life, the enemy will be victorious and we will be miserable. However, as we rejoice in what Jesus did for us, we will be blessed and our hearts and spirits will be strengthened. The joy of the Lord is our strength!

Kathy Shelton

 

Listen to the Lord!

 

Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?”

Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”

(John 18:37)

According to the Word of God, if we are genuine followers of Jesus Christ and He is our Lord and Savior, we are supposed to hear the voice of Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of Lords! However, we must listen to hear His voice. Listening is sometimes difficult due to all the noise that interferes with His voice. It is like the difficulty of tuning a radio when we are trying to find a specific signal for a station, but all we hear is static due to the interference from other signals. Our lives and minds are bombarded with other signals from everything we are exposed to in this world, including our own thoughts and the voice of the enemy, Satan.

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.

(John 10:27)

To focus on listening to the Lord, we must learn to tune out everything that is not from our Most High God, Jesus Christ, or the Holy Spirit. That means turning off all devices that distract us and hinder us from being able to hear God’s still small voice (1 Kings 19:12). To practice listening to the Lord, it is crucial that we turn off the television, phone, tablet, radio, computer and all other electronic devices. We also have to take time away from friends and family to be alone with our Most High God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit on a regular basis in order to develop the ability to clearly hear the Lord. The more we become familiar with His voice, the easier it will be to hear Him and discern His voice in the midst of the static around us.

When we are having a particularly hard time hearing the voice of the Lord, we need to pray to tune in better. We can command all voices that are not from God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit to be silent in Jesus’ name! This is such a simple thing to do. Based on our authority as sincere followers of Jesus Christ, it will result in the quieting of our minds, hearts and spirits from the ungodly noise and static. We cannot have peace unless we practice listening carefully to the Lord’s voice and follow His directions!

However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.  He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.”

(John 16:13-14)

The Holy Spirit will lead us and guide us in our daily lives to make godly choices and decisions if we listen to Him. What we do will glorify our Most High God if we are obedient to follow the truth that the Holy Spirit reveals to us. That truth will always line up with God’s Word and ultimately result in good in our lives. The Lord will never tell us to do anything to cause us harm. However, we may not understand how a seemingly painful sequence of events will lead to good when they are happening to us. That is why we must know—that we know—that we know—that we heard the voice of the Lord directing us in our decisions. As long as we have that confidence that we are in God’s will, the outcome will always result in good for us in the end (Romans 8:28).

Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.

(Isaiah 53:4-5)

Hearing and listening carefully to the Lord is also essential for us to receive freedom from pain and trauma and healing for our broken hearts. The Lord knows us better than anyone, including ourselves. He knows what we need to do to receive the release of emotional and spiritual pain that is suppressed within our hearts and spirits. Because of His amazing love for us, God sent His Son, Jesus, to help us receive freedom and healing. Jesus carried our grief and sorrows on the cross. The Holy Spirit came to comfort us in our grief and sorrows. Our Most High God has provided the answers for the healing of terrible emotional and spiritual pain. Our job is to listen to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit and obey the guidance they give us. As we do that we will receive peace and our hearts will be healed!  Jesus said:

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

(John 14:27)

 

Kathy Shelton

 

All Scripture verses are quoted from the New King James Version (NKJV) of the Bible.

You are Loved!

 

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.

(1 John 3:1)

As followers of Jesus Christ, we are children of God. What an amazing truth to meditate on and embrace with our hearts, minds and spirits. We are sons and daughters of the Most High God! We have an inheritance as such that is out of this world. Our Most High God has promised us a glorious eternity with Him that we can only imagine if we have genuinely accepted His Son as our Lord and Savior. That is His incredible love  for us!

However, when our hearts are broken as a result of abuse, the death of a loved one, divorce, accidents, natural disasters, or any other form of trauma, we may begin to believe that our future will be determined by those extremely painful and traumatic experiences. We may feel like it is who we are, and our outlook can be skewed, because we have accepted the negative labels—word curses—that accompanied the trauma.  Those labels may include victim, abandoned, rejected, or unloved. They can help keep us in bondage and prevent us from receiving freedom from the emotional and spiritual pain.

The trauma is not who we are—it is what happened to us! If Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, we are sons and daughters of the Most High God. That is our true identity. We are loved by the Creator of the Universe, the Great Physician, the Lord of Hosts. We are precious in His sight and He wants to heal our broken hearts. We must embrace that truth. God loves us with an incomparable, everlasting love!

The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love;  Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.”

(Jeremiah 31:3)

The following is a short list of who we are according to the Word of God, the Bible, if we have sincerely accepted God’s Son, Jesus, as our Lord and Savior.  The Scripture references are in parentheses.

We are children of God. (Romans 8:16)

Our sins are forgiven through the blood of Jesus. (Colossians 1:13-14)

We have been saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8)

We are new creations in Christ Jesus. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

We are partakers of His Divine Nature. (2 Peter 1:4)

We are delivered from the powers of darkness through the blood of Jesus Christ. (Colossians 1:13)

God’s children are led by the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit. (Romans 8:14)

We are getting all our needs met by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)

We humble ourselves and we cast all our cares on God. (1 Peter 5:6-7)

We are strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. (Ephesians 6:10)

We do all things through Christ Who strengthens us. (Philippians 4:13)

We are heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ if indeed we suffer with Him. (Romans 8:17)

We can receive the blessings of Abraham, the promise of the Spirit through faith. (Galatians 3:13-14)

We have been given eternal life in God’s Son, Jesus Christ. (1 John 5:11-12)

In Christ, we are blessed with every spiritual blessing. (Ephesians 1:3)

We are healed by Jesus’ stripes. (1 Peter 2:24)

We are more than conquerors through God and Jesus Christ Who love us. (Romans 8:37)

We are overcomers by the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, and the word of our testimonies. (Revelation 12:11)

We can have victory over evil spirits. (1 John 4:4)

      We do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.       (2 Corinthians 4:18)

We walk by faith and not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)

We are being transformed by the renewing of our minds. (Romans 12:1-2)

We are God’s fellow workers. (1 Corinthians 3:9)

We are the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

We are to be imitators of God. (Ephesians 5:1)

We are to be the light of the world. (Matthew 5:14)

The above verses clearly state who we are as children of the Most High God! We must never let the devil convince us otherwise. The negative labels that people and the kingdom of darkness have inflicted on our hearts, minds and spirits are lies. God’s Word shines the truth of who we are and what we are called to live as God’s children and genuine followers of Jesus Christ. Not only does our heavenly Father, His Son and the Holy Spirit love us, but we love them in return and show our love by trusting God and obeying His Word.

We love Him because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19)

 

Kathy Shelton

 

All Scripture verses are quoted from the New King James Version (NKJV) of the Bible.

A Whip of Cords!

 When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables.  (John 2:15)

WOW! Jesus was very angry when He saw how those people had turned the temple, His Father’s house, into a place where business was being conducted. That was a perfect example of godly, righteous anger displayed as a result of people’s sinful actions. The temple was meant to be a house of prayer, not a “den of thieves,” which Jesus called what the money changers and sellers had made it.

Jesus was furious when he used that whip of cords to drive those people who were defiling the temple off the premises. He was not being timid, shy, or politically correct. He was extremely angry and had a very good reason to react the way He did and kick them out. We should never feel guilty for having righteous anger. There are times when godly, righteous anger is not only appropriate, but also necessary to deal with ungodly situations! 

And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other.  (Mark 3:5)

Jesus was in the synagogue when He looked at the supposedly godly men with anger. Jesus was angry! Many followers of His have been told by others—both Christians and non-Christians—that being angry is not a godly response to any situation. However, there are many examples in the Bible where the Most High God and His Son, Jesus Christ, were angry due to evil, unrighteous behavior.

We have to understand the difference between righteous, godly anger and anger that is a product of our mind, will, emotions, or a demonic spirit. Righteous anger is a response to sinful actions, or injustice, and Jesus experienced it when He walked on this earth. The pain and trauma that is caused by unrighteous circumstances break our hearts and usually result in righteous anger in our hearts and spirits as well.

However, we must be careful not to allow our hearts to become hardened. Jesus was grieved by the hardness of their hearts. We should always try to please the Lord and not grieve our heavenly Father, Jesus or the Holy Spirit. We must do our best to prevent our hearts from becoming hardened, but if that has already happened, we can ask the Lord to forgive us and soften our hearts. He wants to heal our broken hearts and to release the unspeakable emotional and spiritual pain we carry. We must take the first step by surrendering to His ways and perfect will for our lives.

Be angry, but don’t sin — don’t let the sun go down before you have dealt with the cause of your anger;  (Ephesians 4:26)

Be angry? Does God’s Word really say that it is okay to be angry? Yes! However, the Lord qualified that statement by adding the phrase “but don’t sin.” Righteous anger—godly anger—is not sin, but can turn into sin if we let it. We must recognize the difference.

It is absolutely normal to become angry when someone or something has caused us pain and trauma. In fact, anger is often attached to emotional and spiritual pain in our hearts. However, ungodly anger can grow into bitterness, which can then lead to other destructive emotions if it is not released from our hearts and spirits. It can also cause physical illness. We must be very careful how far we allow the emotion of anger to progress, because we are the ones who will ultimately suffer damage to our hearts, bodies and spirits. If anger has developed into sin, we must ask God to forgive us in Jesus’ name.

Our hearts can even become hardened concerning God if we are not cautious regarding anger. Healing for our broken hearts is more difficult as a result.  People with hardened hearts turn away from God—the One who can release the pain and heal them. Asking Jesus to release the pain and anger from our hearts and spirits and asking the Holy Spirit to apply His healing balm are part of the inner healing process. Hardened, broken hearts can be healed by the Lord!

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  (Ezekiel 36:26)

The good news is that our Most High God has promised to give us new hearts and new spirits! He promised to give us soft, pliable hearts in place of the hard hearts that result from the pain and trauma in our lives. God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to heal the brokenhearted. Deep pain from traumatic events can be released and hearts can be healed. The miraculous process of inner healing is possible through the incomparable love and freedom offered by Jesus Christ.

Traumatic situations include abandonment, betrayal, emotional abuse, mental abuse, verbal abuse, physical abuse, spiritual abuse, sexual abuse, molestation and rape. Those emotionally and spiritually devastating acts against us can make us feel unclean, filthy and angry.  Bitterness, anger, hatred, and other destructive emotions can be attached to the pain and trauma. Those destructive emotions may even be the root of us trying to take matters into our own hands to repay the offending individuals for what they did that wounded our hearts and spirits. When ungodly anger leads to retaliation, it is not healthy for us in any way. Retaliation does not heal or release the pain and trauma that we carry.

Allowing Jesus to remove the emotional and spiritual pain in our hearts and spirits is the only way to receive true freedom. Biblical, healing and cleansing prayer can release the pain and trauma—healing our hearts and spirits—which normally also releases the attached destructive emotions. Only the Lord Jesus can truly cleanse us from the effects of abuse, pain and trauma. As Jesus cleanses us from the defilement of trauma, and releases the emotional and spiritual pain from our hearts and spirits, we can truly experience newness and peace. Our hearts of flesh can be restored!

God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day.   (Psalm 7:11)

We must trust that the Most High God will judge those responsible for causing us unspeakable pain and trauma. His Word says that He is angry with the wicked every day. He is the Most High, Just Judge and He will bring about the appropriate consequences and punishment to those who do not genuinely repent for their sins. Repentance must include heart-felt, godly sorrow for evil actions or words—and a change in behavior—or it is not true repentance at all. It is essential that we place the offenders in the hands of the Most High God and let Him determine the timing for justice to be done. Then, we will know peace in the midst of pain and trauma, and the healing of our broken hearts—and the release of attached anger—will be more easily achieved.

Kathy Shelton

 

All Scripture verses are quoted from the New King James Version (NKJV) of the Bible.

WAITING in the Midst of Pain and Trauma

WAITING?!? Most of us, especially those with broken hearts, have a very difficult time waiting for anything. We have become a society of instant everything. We want it now, whatever it may be. However, the Most High God often tells us to wait on His perfect timing for answers to our prayers. We may never understand why the Lord requires us to wait for so many things, but we must trust that He knows what is best for our lives and what will cause us more harm if we receive answers to our prayers too soon. Trusting the Lord makes it easier to wait on Him.

I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.

 Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!

(Psalm 27:13-14)

Many people lose heart because they do not believe that they will ever see their situations improve. The pain and trauma they carry can become unbearable and may even lead to suicidal thoughts. The enemy can bring discouragement our way through numerous methods. One of those is when he whispers the lie to us, “God does not care about you. He would not have allowed this terrible thing to happen if He did.” If we listen to the devil and his lies, our faith will be weakened, our hearts can become more troubled, and deep depression can set in.  

What does the goodness of the Lord mean? Some people are under the impression that it means their lives will be pain-free and problem-free. However, the Lord never promised that our lives would be easy. The goodness of the Lord is not based on our circumstances. The Lord is always good! His goodness can be seen all around us, but we must look for it through eyes of faith. Looking through eyes of despair and depression hinders us from seeing the goodness of the Lord. 

Our prayers to see God’s goodness in certain situations may be delayed for various reasons, but we need to continue to have faith that He is working on our behalf. Psalm 27:14 says, “Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!” We must allow the Lord to strengthen our broken hearts by standing firm in our faith.

But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.

(Romans 8:25)

Saying that waiting is difficult is an understatement. How many of us eagerly wait with perseverance? The Lord may require us to wait for answers to our prayers for emotional, physical or spiritual healing for days, months, years, or even decades. However, God’s plans for us are always good, and in the midst of our times of waiting, He will strengthen us and draw us into deeper relationships with Him, Jesus and the Holy Spirit if we allow Him to do so. Our heart attitudes must be that—regardless of our circumstances, pain, trauma, or our lack of understanding why—we will trust our heavenly Father completely. He is the Most High God, the Lord of Hosts, and the Creator of the Universe. We must remember that He is never surprised by our situations and suffering, and that He loves us with an everlasting love!

The Lord did not immediately deliver numerous people written about in the Bible. Many of them had to wait for years and decades before they saw the answers to their prayers. Noah, Abraham, Joseph, the Apostles and many others had to wait on the Lord before they saw God’s promises fulfilled.  However, while they were waiting, they served the Lord! In obedience to the Most High God, while Noah was waiting for God’s deliverance from the immense evil on the earth, Noah built an ark even though there had not been any rain. Joseph went through horrible circumstances, but he kept his eyes on the big picture—the Lord’s will for his life during each season regardless of the pain and trauma he endured. Paul did the same. We must also keep our eyes on the big picture. Having to wait is not unusual, nor is it punishment for anything we have done. It is just a fact of life.

As we are suffering unspeakable trauma, we often pray for Almighty God to intervene and relieve the emotional and spiritual pain that has cut us to the core of our beings. We may ask the Lord why we have not received answers to our prayers and the prayers of others, and why the suffering has continued in spite of them. Wanting immediate answers to our prayers is a dangerous attitude, because the devil can take advantage of that and lead us to doubt and be discouraged when answers are delayed.

Spiritual warfare can also be a reason that we have to wait for answers to our prayers. According to Daniel 10:12-13, the answers to Daniel’s prayers were hindered and delayed for 21 days!  There was a very real battle taking place in the spiritual realm over Daniel’s prayers and the answers to them. Our Most High God heard those prayers as soon as Daniel prayed them, but the prince of the kingdom of Persia battled against the answers, delaying them from being delivered.

Spiritual warfare is more real than anything we can see in the natural realm. We must understand that our broken hearts are often the result of attacks from the kingdom of darkness, either directly or through other people. Continuing to pray and ask Almighty God for help is crucial as we fight against demonic and evil entities. The blood that Jesus Christ shed on the cross is more powerful than anything the devil, or his helpers, can do to us. As we remember to stay focused and wait on the Lord, we will see the answers to our prayers and healing for our broken hearts!

But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.

(Isaiah 40:31)

 

Kathy Shelton

 

All Scripture verses are quoted from the New King James Version (NKJV) of the Bible.