A Quiet Heart

Of course, being quiet is the most difficult thing to put into action when your world has fallen apart. Maybe this is why we read that Nehemiah took a ride in the dark to see the damage of Jerusalem. Nehemiah arrived in Jerusalem and I imagine he was flooded with many different emotions. He had arrived safely and with no problem because of the letter from the king (Nehemiah 2:9). He had also had his first hint that not everyone was particularly thrilled that the people of Jerusalem were being cared for. In light of his journey, a time of quiet was compelling. Maybe he needed to be quiet because he could not separate himself from the damage. Maybe he realized he didn’t need (at least in the beginning) people talking to him all at once. In Nehemiah 2 he was with a few men and knew what he was supposed to do. The first few hours, days and weeks into your crisis are so significant. It is imperative that you
have the quiet times,the time to take in the damage,the time to cry when no one else sees our tears, the time to begin to have some hope and see the possibility of a life restored. It is not time that will heal your wounds. However, you need time.

You need to have time alone. You need to allow yourself to feel the weight of all that you have lost and experienced. So many times we like having busy schedules, noise, entertainment, chattering people, and any kind of distraction that will guarantee we are never left alone with our thoughts. If you are already giving into that tempting offer then you are robbing yourself of perspective and seeds of hope that can be planted during the times of loneliness and grief. Communion with El Roi, the God Who Sees (Gen.16:13), will give you strength to rebuild. Make time for the quiet reflection and the quiet realization that all is different but not all is lost. Emerge out of those quiet times with a deeper gratitude to the One who will direct your steps.

You do not have to tell everyone everything. You do not owe everyone an explanation. You do not have to give all the details of how your crisis has changed your life. Simply choose to be aware of what all has been devastated and while knowing, be quiet. After all, neither you nor I want to leave a legacy that begins with “Then it happened” and ends with “She or he never got over it.”

My prayer is to encourage you to do something with the crisis that God has allowed to enter your life. Take it all in. Stop hiding behind covered eyes. Look at the damage and call it by name. Maybe it is death, cancer, miscarriage, a stillborn child, chronic illness, addiction, divorce, or financial ruin; whatever it is, don’t run from it. Face it.

Nehemiah took a ride in the dark and realized that the descriptions “distress” and “reproach” was the only name fit for the damage he saw (Neh. 1:3, 2:17). That may have been what he called the city’s condition but it was not the people’s identity. Whatever name fits your crisis, it is a name only. The crisis does not define you! The ability to name something by calling the crisis what it truly is gives you the sense of knowing where you are. Nehemiah knew he was at the place of Distress and Reproach. He also knew he wanted to arrive at Restored and Renewed. Maybe your place is “grief and loneliness” or “sad and confused” or “shock and fear” or “tried and failed” or “hopeless and weary.” Whatever your crisis is, there’s a name that describes it perfectly.

Be encouraged and rest in Him. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZYPfYe77PA

(this is an excerpt from Joy’s book, Identity Crisis: Moving From Crisis to Credibility. you can pre-order your copy today at Amazon.com)

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Pain’s Purpose

The moment she touched the hem of his garment, Jesus knew. He could have continued on his way and never publically acknowledged this woman. The divine healing could have only been known between the two of them and then maybe a doctor would have confirmed that she had been healed. But when you are made whole through the power of the Almighty God, people know. It cannot be hidden, it cannot be kept quiet, and it cannot go unnoticed. Even though Jarius was depending on Jesus to be quick in getting to his house and healing Jarius’ daughter—and even though nothing would stop Jesus from getting to a little girl who needed him— he still had all the time in the world to stop and give his undivided attention to a woman who had been unseen, who may by this point in her life have felt forgotten and unimportant. Don’t ever think that your crisis is less important or less traumatic. It isn’t your crisis that has God’s attention. You have his attention.

A crisis changes so much. For Nehemiah it changed his priorities. He wasn’t all that concerned with what the king would think or how he would react. He only knew that he needed to go to Jerusalem and follow the Lord’s direction. (Neh. 2) He had to leave the presence of an earthly king and be present for the use of the eternal King. For this woman in Luke 8, crisis had changed her perspective. For years she had been forced to live confined. She did not have the same freedoms as others. Had she given up? After all, no physician could help her. While a crisis has a way of changing our perspective, like this woman it was the hope of healing that gave her purpose. Hope will give purpose.

I don’t know everything this woman felt that day as she made her way to Jesus. I don’t know what your day or your past days have looked like as you make your way through the rubble your crisis has left behind. I know for me there came that day when nothing else mattered but the promise of healing— the promise of being whole—and that gave me purpose to make my way to the One who could deliver on his promise. I was not concerned with what others said. I was not concerned with what others thought. I did not let anything get in my way. On that day everything I did was on purpose, to get to the One who gave me purpose and brought purpose to my pain.

This post is an excerpt from Joy’s book, Identity Crisis: Moving from Crisis to Credibility. You can pre-order your copy at Amazon.com