Worldly thinking has us resenting the fact and nature of a breakdown, but this is where faith in Jesus is the answer to that conundrum. As Christ was resurrected, so may our hopes be resurrected through the power of God’s Spirit through faith. And this is not just lip service.
If there’s a time when life runs awfully — and there are times when it has and does! — there’s also a time (coming) when life’s path is level; clearer, simpler, easier. Never immediately, but always inevitable.
If we’re impacted by despair, hope is not too far away.
If there’s a time to breakdown, there’s also a time to heal.
And if there’s time for conflict and division, there’s a time for peace and unity.
If there are times when we lack motivation — and there certainly have been and are! — there are also opportunities ahead to reclaim our purpose; to have it not only revived and rekindled, but reformed and renewed.
There have been times when we’ve been separated by loss or conflict or situations beyond our control. There are seasons, also, for new and burgeoning relationships and opportunities, when love is replenished and the loneliness in our hearts finds a deeper resolve. Never to reject those feelings that are awkward and awful; these give context to feelings of abundance and meaning.
There is something incredibly redemptive in the hope reclaimed by faith, that, from the other side, we see looking back with introspection.
Having recovered, we see not only that we did it, and how we did it; faith gives us eyes for how we’ve also been enriched for the experience. Recovery is the truth of redemption in a living soul and blessed are those who experience this grace.
We’re never glad to have been there in the thick of the fog, but we’re always glad to see (again) with fresh vision. Having been in the thick of the fog, we see just how dark life can get; which educates us and expands the borders of our perspective, deepens our capacity for empathy, and widens our ability and willingness to offer care.
What is required to heal? How do we bring that time forward, if we can?
By remembering. Through words in Scripture. Through revelation. Through friends and mentors and loved ones. Through an image. Through the path of one thing to another, as we’re led by God’s Spirit.
Whenever we’ve been on the sad or mad end of things for long enough, there’s just a moment forward of that location where something new comes in.
The topography of one soul’s experience is like this: deserts give way to oases.
If there’s a time to heal, there’s a time for perspective, especially as we return to the truth that we best accept this life and its foibles the best we can. There’s an instant and sustainable portion of peace in that. As we remain there, in the locale of soul stillness.
And from peace, from rest, from the glory of a reset perspective, we have the wherewithal to advocate and do more of God’s good work… with hope and joy abounding, the work ahead is easier and even more doable.
I’m always encouraged by the words of the apostle Paul from 2 Corinthians 12:10, “When I am weak, then I am strong.”
Paul reminds us in Philippians 1:30 that he himself was often imperilled. Even as he ministered to the churches in their weakness, he led them with integrity in his own weakness. He wasn’t afraid to be vulnerable. He didn’t see it as a disqualifier for ministry, and indeed, Paul shows us, as Jesus also did, it’s a prerequisite.
Paul shows us the way to redeem our breakdowns.
When we’re vulnerable, we follow the way of Jesus.
Henri Nouwen (1932 – 1996) reminded me recently that ‘vulnera’ (Latin) means ‘wound’. It takes courage to live wounded. It’s only as we live wounded that we bear the power to heal.
When we’re vulnerable, we practice wounded healing.
Paul shows us how to live the vulnerability of Jesus — who came into this world and died vulnerable and was very often vulnerable before the religious elite. To follow Jesus is to follow his way of vulnerable living. It ought to be no surprise, then, when God heals us and others because of our and their weakness.
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