There comes a point in a child’s life where we realize that our parents can’t heal all of our hurts. When we’re younger, we rush to them with every boo-boo, every ache and pain, trusting that they can make it all better. Somewhere along the way, we realize the limits of our parents’ power. I suppose that this generally happens in matters of the heart. Although parents can clean and bandage cuts, they can’t put the pieces of a broken heart back together. Loving parents will try – they will encourage us with words of affirmation and attempt to give us hope for better days – but that doesn’t mean that they are always successful. Because we realize this, at some point we may even avoid their attempts. As our hearts are hurt, instead of running towards them, we keep to ourselves – knowing that their words will prove to be ineffective.
Unfortunately, many of us apply these same limits to our relationship with God. While we may eagerly share with Him our celebrations and praises, we may be reluctant to run to Him during our times of pain. Not because we don’t want to tell Him about them, but because we don’t want to hear what He has to say. Instead of diving deep into His Word, we avoid it. Instead of searching out godly wisdom, we ignore it. So deep is our pain that we think nothing can heal it. Yet, if there is anyone that we can trust to bring respite, it’s the One Who created us, the Prince of Peace.
The church in Thessalonica is a great example of this. Paul writes to them in I Thessalonians 1:6-7 that they, ” received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit” with the result that they “became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.”
Did you catch that? They received the word of God in affliction. Despite persecution, they continued to grow in their understanding of God and the Truth. So much so that they became examples to other early churches. Their response to the Truth of God’s Word in the midst of difficult situations was a replica that other churches could follow.
I wonder if the same could be said of us? When we’re battered and broken do we look to the loveliness of Scripture or do we shy away from it? Do we turn to seek God’s perspective on the situation, looking for how He would like us to respond, or do we nurse our wounds, unwilling to seek His care and assistance? Are we receiving the Word during our time of affliction and in so doing, responding in a way that is an example, not only to other believers, but a watching world?
The day that we realize that our mom and dad can’t make everything better, is a hard day. With our Heavenly Father, there will never be such a realization, because even if He doesn’t change the circumstances, He can equip us and guide us to navigate them in a manner that is pleasing to Him. And that’s the best outcome for a situation that we can hope for or imagine.