My An Arkie's Faith column from the January 17, 2018, issue of The Mena Star.
For the past week, my Mom has been in the inpatient rehabilitation unit of the local hospital. After spending a week in the intensive care unit, she was transferred to the rehabilitation unit where she has been given physical therapy and occupational therapy.
Rehabilitation is the process of restoring a person's ability to live and work as normally as possible after an illness. It helps the patient achieve maximum possible physical fitness and regain the ability to be independent. It offers assistance with skills needed in everyday activities. My Mom is looking forward to regaining her strength so that she can return home.
Rehabilitation is not only for the person who has suffered a serious illness. It can also be treatments designed to facilitate the process of recovery from an injury to as normal a condition as possible. Every patient in an injury rehab program has to follow a recovery plan so that they will gain strength and avoid re-injury.
Spiritually we have all been injured and are in need of rehabilitation. Every one of us at some time has been spiritually wounded. How have you been injured? Do you have relationships with other Christians that have been damaged? Have you placed your trust in a church system or a leader instead of God? Have you lost your faith in God? Because spiritual matters are complex, it can be hard to find the problem. Any of these things can injure our faith and leave us in need of healing.
When we have a physical injury, we can see the need for healing and rehabilitation. But the negative spiritual effects of painful physical events often aren’t as obvious to us. Has betrayal, rejection, loss, or abuse left you wondering where God is?
In Hebrews 12:12-14 (NASB) There is a passage that sounds a lot like rehabilitation. “Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed. Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.”
In a society that is obsessed with instant gratification, rehabilitation seems hard. Many of us are not willing to put in the time and effort needed. Spiritually, we want things to improve immediately. I don’t know anyone who likes to wait. Waiting can test our faith. When we have been injured, and need rehabilitation, we are often impatient and discouraged. When our rehabilitation doesn’t happen quickly, we begin to wonder if God cares.
Rehabilitation simply means working back to health. As painful as injuries are, they are only a stage. There is a future. Whatever the enemy has tried to take away from you, God wants to restore it. God wants to make it better than before. Every day we have choices to make. We can be tempted to get hurt, wounded, or depressed. We can complain and remain in the same awful condition. Or we can give our cares to God and begin our rehabilitation. “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:7 (NLT)
It isn’t unusual for people to be discouraged in times of trouble and tribulation. In the Bible, there are many examples of godly men and women who were spiritually injured and were discouraged. King David wrote many of the Psalms during the dark times in his life. The Psalms of David can encourage us when we are depressed, tired and discouraged. Even though David had experienced some dark times and had been injured by others, he wrote these beautiful words in Psalms 23:1-3 (NKJV) “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”
When other people injure you, don’t be discouraged or depressed. Don’t allow what people say to control your emotions. You control your destiny. God has promised to restore you. He is painfully aware of your suffering. When you cry, He is aware. Psalms 56:8 (NLT) tells us, “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” And In Psalms 34:15, 17-19 (NASB) we read, “The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry. The righteous cry and the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”
Gentle Reader, if you have been injured and need rehabilitation, Jesus says, “come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 (NKJV) No matter what others have done to you, no matter what spiritual wounds have been inflicted on you, Jesus says, “I will restore you to health, and I will heal you of your wounds.” Jeremiah 30:17 (NASB)
Wednesday, January 17, 2018
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