By Nancy Virden (c)2020
Paul strained against something he figuratively called “a thorn in the flesh.” The persistence of Paul’s “thorn” would become a powerful teaching on the grace of God through hard times.
Can my own thorn also be a blessing? Can yours?
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.
This Bible passage is about refocusing. God is not promising an upscale resort with springs surrounded by palm trees and hired personnel who wait on our every wish. No, the scene remains a scorching, waterless place with no options in sight. Sound familiar?
It is there that God is doing his new thing. In the wilderness. In the middle of fear and depression. His springs are there; do we perceive them? Or are we focused on the sand? The streams in the wasteland are flowing; will we drink from them and praise God as the simple beasts do? Or are we smarter than that, more realistic and educated? Where will we place our eyes?
History must be remembered if we are to learn from it and grow. To forget is to become a walking target. However, we are to leave its burden behind and go forward on the strength of waters offered by the Heavenly Father. Our spirit’s refreshing comes from the source of life himself, even while we remain in the desert of disappointment.
Healthy thinking and the Bible are not about denying the negative aspects of life. Acknowledging our challenges and tough emotions that accompany them leads to questions. “Do I want to stay stuck? Or do I want to see my struggle bless my family, friends, or world?
It is then, not always easily but ever possible, we can refocus. Turning to Jesus the Christ and relying on the unending love of God for us who believe, we will begin to see fresh water springing up around our situation and in our hearts. Pollyanna does not live in this reality. She is too busy diving into the mirage of that fancy resort. Every time, she will hit sand.
Our vision is not mirage. God’s promises are reality. The water is present. “See, I am doing a new thing…Do you not perceive it?” *
Today’s Helpful Word
2 Corinthians 1:3-5
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.
Always the Fight Ministries (ATFM) has been displaying compassion for those fighting mental illness, addiction, or abuse since 2012. Nancy is the founder and voice of ATFM and openly shares her emotional resurrection from despair.
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NOTE: I am not a doctor or a mental health professional, and speak only from personal experiences and observations. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.
If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.
If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. In the EU call 112. (For other international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!