We suffer from the things we refuse to hand over to God!” -Anonymous
What a powerful statement. It was shared in a recovery meeting where we check-in (all men) and share our hurts, habits, and hang-ups each week. Which means we talk about the stuff you wouldn’t normally talk about on Sunday. Guy stuff, man stuff. The women have their group too.
Yes, men have feelings!
I think the above-mentioned quote is true, at least it’s true for me.
As a pastor and chaplain, I’ve walked alongside many people who needed my pastoral assistance working through feelings of grief, loss, and regret. Many have shared with me that death has a way of letting you know who your true friends and family are.
Bereavement is like a torrential downpour of unanticipated feelings and emotions that utterly overwhelm the senses. The experience of it defies logic. The tragedy of it is the aftermath of broken relationships, disputed estate issues, and the question of who gets the money. As difficult as grief is, these unforeseen dynamics only complicate the bereavement process.
When my friend shared this profound statement, “We suffer from the things we refuse to hand over to God'' it hit me hard. It’s so simple but so profound.
I am reminded of the fact that some of the sufferings we experience aren’t necessarily something God caused or allowed in our life. It’s what we caused or allowed as the result of poor boundaries, or codependent relationships. Grief and loss make everything deeply concealed or denied emotion rise to the surface, which influences how we speak and behave around others.
It seems to me that God allows in his wisdom, the events we think he should’ve prevented by his power. What that means to to you is between you and God.
The above-quoted statement was a humble reminder to invite God into my circumstances, so he can clean up the mess I’ve created. Or, he will give me the tools I need to clean up the mess I’ve created with his help.
Whatever kind of suffering you’re presently experiencing, remember that God is with you, that he is for you, and not against you. He is trustworthy and cares for you. Don’t hesitate to see your pastor for Christian counseling, or a therapist for more intense, and specialized therapy.
Some people believe God causes their suffering, and trust that God in his wisdom wants them to learn something from the experience. Others believe that God is cruel and dictatorial and want nothing to do with him.
Jude (Judah) reminds me of God’s wisdom:
Keep being compassionate to those who still have doubts, and snatch others out of the fire to save them. Be merciful over and over to them, but always couple your mercy with the fear of God. Be extremely careful to keep yourselves free from the pollutions of the flesh. Now, to the one with enough power to prevent you from stumbling into sin and bring you faultless before his glorious presence to stand before him with ecstatic delight, to the only God our Savior, through our Lord Jesus Christ, be endless glory and majesty, great power and authority—from before he created time, now, and throughout all the ages of eternity. Amen!” Jude (Judah) 1:22-25 TPT
If you’ve been burned by the fire of grief, judgment, or betrayal, follow the prayerful advice given in the above-quoted scripture. Don’t allow yourself or your faith to be polluted by shame, judgment, or the malicious accusations of others. Don’t worry about what they think. After all, if they weren’t there for you in the best of times, why allow them a voice in your life during the worst of times.
There is no greater freedom than being free from the opinions of others, but most importantly, the opinions you have of yourself. God’s opinion of you is all that matters in the eternal scheme of his ever-unfolding grace.
Be free and stay free my beloved friends. Remember, the grace we receive is always proportionate to the grace we give! So be kind, Christ-like, but remember your boundaries.
By His Grace Alone,
Pastor Jeremy Evans
*Please forgive my brevity, I am blogging from my iPhone.