Chronic pain

Crossroads

Over this past week, I have had a few days of severe pain and I am finding it increasingly difficult to manage my role as mommy of two.  With some encouragement from friends and family I started looking into doctors around the country that would know more about treating my postherpetic neuralgia.  I remember I was cooking dinner last Monday night filled with hope when my pain doctor called me with some test results.  Everything came back good which was a relief but what followed was far from relief.  He said that there is no magic cure and there is nothing that really can be done to treat this.  When I asked him about a specialist somewhere in the country he said that there was no one that he knew that could do anything for me.  After I hung up the phone I finished cooking dinner but I was numb and filled with defeat.  Prov 13:12 became fulfilled that night in my kitchen: “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.”

The next morning, I had time to myself and as I sat in a coffee shop, I couldn’t really read Scripture so I pulled out my Gracestoration notebook and immediately turned to a lesson I had heard at least 4 years ago.  This lesson or “card” as we say in Gracestoration is called the Re-De Road.

12_RE-DE_road

This card provides us with a visual picture of the frequent battle that goes on in our hearts and minds on a daily basis.  There are two different roads to follow: the RE-Road or the DE-Road.  The God of Hope wants to lead us on the RE-Road where we can be regenerated, redeemed, renewed, revived, restored.  He is our place of refuge (Psalm 142:5).  In stark contrast our enemy, the Devil wants to lead us on the DE-Road where we will be depressed, defeated, destroyed, devoured, and ultimately led to despair.

Jeremiah 6:16: “This is what the LORD says: ‘Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.'”

The person in the picture on the far left is standing at the crossroads as described in Jeremiah 6:16. We often don’t consciously choose to follow the DE-Road but one of the enemy’s ways of swaying us to go down the DE-Road is through doubt.  Certain circumstances, people, or places cause us to doubt the truth of God’s word.  We find ourselves like the man in the picture who is shaking his fist at God.  We become focused on our earthly circumstances and we start to blame God for causing the difficult circumstance in the first place.  Gracestoration refers to this process as the downdraft of doubt.  Once doubt creeps in, our praise and thanksgiving cease and we end up going away from what we know to be true about God and His word.  Before we know it we are far down on the DE-Road.

Luckily when we find ourselves on this road, all we need to do is pivot and turn our eyes to the Lord.  As we are looking to Him, He is looking down on us.

2 Chronicles 16:9 “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the earth that He might show Himself strong in behalf of those whose heart is completely His.”

In 2 Chronicles 20, King Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah was just informed that there was a vast army approaching to attack the kingdom of Judah.

2 Chronicles 20:3  states: “Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the LORD,…”

In the midst of the knowledge of this vast army approaching, the king resolves to inquire of the LORD.  He is determined that before he does anything else, He will seek the Lord and ask for His infinite wisdom.  His prayer is recorded in verse 6-12 of Chapter 20.

2 Chronicles 20:12 “‘O our God, will you not judge them?  For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us.  We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.'”

This verse is shown on the card next to the man who is kneeling and looking up to the Lord.  Next to him you see three words: powerless, helpless, and clueless.  King Jehoshaphat admitted that he was powerless, helpless, and clueless but His eyes were fixed on the Lord.

When I looked at this card that day in the coffee shop, I was convicted but yet also relieved.  I was convicted that I too had started down the DE-Road thanks to the downdraft of doubt, but I was relieved that the only thing I needed to do to was to look to the LORD and admit that I was powerless, helpless, and clueless.   I think sometimes American Christians focus so much on what we need to be doing instead of focusing on whom we should be leaning into and depending on.

In writing this post, I realized that I ultimately approached this whole situation in the wrong order.  I don’t believe it was wrong of me to look into finding a specialist but I do think that the first thing I should have done was resolve to inquire of the LORD.  I was putting my hope into finding a new doctor, as opposed to placing my hope in Christ.

1 Peter 1:3-4 “Praise be to the God and Father of our LORD Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade-kept in heaven for you,…”

On the card, under the cross and tomb, it reads that hopelessness went out with the resurrection.  I think we daily forget about the hope that we have in Christ and we often live hopeless, forgetting the promises of God.  In church on Easter Sunday, the pastor talked about the difference in believing vs. trusting.  I think we often believe that Christ died for our sins and was resurrected three days later but don’t often trust Him to be our living hope, regardless of the circumstances around us.

1 Peter 1:5″…who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.”

I don’t know about you, but I don’t often walk around as though I am shielded by God’s power.  I think because I don’t often live believing and trusting in this truth, I struggle with the following verse:

1 Peter 1:6 “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.”

We get so focused on getting rid of the suffering that we forget about the daily provision God has given us to endure the suffering and the ultimate hope that we have in Him regardless of our current circumstance.

If you continue to read 2 Chronicles Chapter 20, you read that after King Jehoshaphat led Judah in seeking the Lord, the Lord spoke to the whole assembly through Jahaziel saying

2 Chronicles 20:15 “‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army.  For the battle is not yours, but God’s.'”

In verse 21 it says that the King appointed people to sing praises to the Lord as they went out towards the vast army.

2 Chronicles 20:22,24 “As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. 24 When the men of Judah came to the place that overlooks the desert and looked toward the vast army, they saw only dead bodies lying on the ground; no one had escaped.”

King Jehoshaphat inquired of the LORD when faced with an overwhelming circumstance, and then believed in the LORD’s provision and sang praises to Him as they were approaching the vast army.   The LORD responded by placing him and the entire nation of Judah on the Re-Road and ultimately defeating the very enemy they were facing.

This story was so encouraging to me in the midst of my overwhelming circumstance.  It is a great reminder to me that all I need to do is pivot, look to the LORD and trust Him for the ultimate outcome of the circumstance all the while remembering that He (Christ) is our living hope.  As we daily depend on Him, I believe we too will soon reflect His grace and rest as described in Psalm 34:5 below.

Pslam 34:5 “Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.” 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “Crossroads

  1. This is EXACTLY what I was feeling last week. I was feeling trapped by my feelings. Like when I’m sad or depressed. I’m sick of my feelings getting in the way of the things I know to be true. I wish I could live victoriously in my mind more often. It would make my life a little easier I think.
    Thanks for the visual and for sharing your heart. You are reaching me across the miles! Ptl!
    Love you.

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