I love when healing comes suddenly, quickly and completely. God does that, but not nearly as often as many seem to think. This false expectation may be the result of too many altar calls where people come forward for prayer in hope that that alone will fix the probelm. Many go away feeling better, but when they wake up the next morning with the same brokenness they end up condemning themselves for not believing enough or going back home and “losing their healing”.
This theme kept coming up in many of the conversations I had on my last trip. I met so many people disappointed, confused, and frustrated that they can’t seem to find the freedom in God they so desperately seek. As I listened, however, It seemed so many of them were caught up in the expectation of immediacy and missing the progress God was making in their heart and mind. Any evidence of the ongoing struggle seemed to sidetrack them, assuming God was not at work. Instead of growing in hope, they give in to despair because their healing wasn’t immediate and it caused them to wonder if God was neglecting them or if they were preventing it somehow.
As I’ve watched many people come to greater freedom and emotional healthy over the years, I am more convinced than ever that for most people healing is a process. That’s because God is not just taking a problem away, he’s transforming how we think and live from the inside. Most pain comes from within us, not the circumstance we blame it on. Those circumstances may have started it, but it lives on in us because of our unworthy thoughts about God our ourselves. Healing comes by transforming our false thoughts about him and ourselves, or freeing us from the false security we get from some of our coping mechanisms. And that takes time.
So rather than get discouraged when it isn’t completed yet, we can continue to embrace him in the transforming process that will not only bring us freedom, but a transformed way to live as well.
What I look for in this process is not immediacy, but growing freedom. So however your brokenness is exposed, either by anxiety, distress, fear, hurt, bad memories, hurtful feelings or anything else, just keep leaning into God’s reality. As you do you’ll find the pain…
- will grow less intense,
- then will last a shorter duration,
- and finally we will find longer gaps between those cycles of pain.
Converesely, you will find times of joy growing in the same way. Moments of joy and freedom…
- will come more often,
- then they will last longer,
- and finally they will grow more real.
That’s what the renewing of the mind actually looks like. I’ve been through this process with a number of people and it is always a joy to watch. If they are only focused on it ending, they will never see it and grow more and more discouraged. If they can see the process, which is where cheerleading friends and spouses come in, then they will be encouraged by the process until times of pain become increasingly distant and eventually impotent.
How we help is by being less obsessed with our own healing, by learning to enjoy him each day and seeing what he has for us rather than trying to get him to do what we want. Then we will be able to trust him to complete it in the best possible way and be able to cooperate with him.