Apr
18

What Does It Mean to Have Your Soul Restored? (pt. 3)

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Deep thought (1) When I meditate on this topic, I have the feeling that this will be a long train running. Although my thoughts may be jumping around like popcorn popping, I hope and trust that when the popping stops, it will all fit.

One of the thoughts I have proposed in these blogs is that in the process of God restoring our souls, He uses difficult seasons of our lives and dark places like the ‘valley of the shadow of death’ and ‘the presence of our enemies’.

While I personally hate these dark places and resist them, God is not afraid of them. In fact, He is there with His rod and His staff to comfort me and guide me through them.

What happens during dark seasons that invites us into a deeper place of soul restoration?

I have found in my own life that difficulty has the potential, if I will but embrace it, to make me aware. Mindful. Conscious. Alert.

Job, a man who was declared by God Himself, to be His servant, with a heart like no one else alive on the earth at the time, blameless, upright, one who feared God and resisted evil, lived through a valley so dark that it leaves us struggling to explain God. One read through the book of Job either leads us to throw our Bible across the room or scramble to come up with a more palatable explanation of God’s ways than are evidenced in Job’s life.

Theologians seek for boxes to explain how a God of love and mercy and grace could invite Satan to ‘consider’ His servant Job – to invite Satan to test Job. It stinks, doesn’t it? Yet the mysteries of God cannot be explained easily.

Job later describes what happened to him as, “I was at ease, but He (God) has shattered me; He also has taken me by my neck, and shaken me to pieces,” (Job 16:12). Job’s lament continues with “He (God) has set me up for His target, His archers surround me. He pierces my heart and does not pity.” Our flesh and carnal mind scream out, “What kind of reward is that for living a blameless and upright life?”

Hebrews 12:27 further tells us that such a shaking process gets rid of everything that can be shaken so that only the things which cannot be shaken remain.

The process of having our lives shaken during trials, pain, and suffering can awaken us to what needs to be changed inside us. It can make us aware that there are things within our very being are dysfunctional, unwhole, wounded, or sinful. Shaking loosens up our ways of living that are not based on truth.

Suddenly our curtain of denial and illusion is withdrawn. We are naked.

We find ourselves face to face with our own truth and we have a choice. Will we have the courage to name our reality and face it or will be hide our hearts from the truth and stick our heads back into the sand so we don’t have to change?

Ruth Haley Barton says that such “Awareness always calls us to take responsibility for responding to what we are seeing – which is another reason that many of us seek to avoid awareness for as long as we can. But when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of changing, we are ripe for making a move.”

What I’ve found is that God truly is a jealous God who wants our whole hearts and He wants our hearts to be whole. He will pursue the wholeness of our hearts relentlessly. His zeal and passion for a whole-hearted love relationship with His children is not a neat process. It can, and usually does, involve valleys of where the shadows of death tempt us to run and hide and refuse to continue walking through such seasons.

God is after our true hearts. He is after our freedom. He gave all for that very thing. The time of Jesus’ suffering on the cross was dark, but there he procured for us the opportunity to experience true freedom in every realm.

So if you find yourself in a season of difficulty and darkness, quiet your heart long and often and ask the Father to reveal what He is shaking. While that curtain of denial and illusion is withdrawn, step in.

It will be disturbing and uncomfortable. It may be downright scary facing the shadow side of our own hearts, but the restoration of our souls requires that we pay attention to what is arising within us during tough days.

It is, in fact, a gift. And while the wrapping paper of pain, trials, and suffering may be ugly, the gift inside the box is more restoration of our souls.

More later…

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Comments

  1. This post reminds me to fully embrace – my ways are not God’s ways. I tend to forget that.

    Fondly,
    Glenda

  2. Song says:

    Mikki, I love all three of these posts. Your writing is beautiful and is God inspired. Thank you for hearing God’s heart and putting it on “paper.”

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