Tag Archives: Parenting

Can God Heal our Deepest Wounds?

By Eugene C. Scott

In the summer of 1998 we drove home to Tulsa from a bittersweet family vacation in Colorado: Sweet because Dee Dee and I had celebrated our twentieth wedding anniversary with a trip to Vancouver, BC. Bitter because our oldest daughter had recently been diagnosed with an eating disorder, a cancer of the soul, and she was getting worse. My white knuckled grip on the steering wheel exposed the ghostly condition of my soul. I was lost. For the first time as a father I had no answer. The fatherly band-aids–wise words and solutions–I had utilized to fend off so many past crises proved futile against this devastating disease. We had gone to doctors, counselors, friends, and support groups; we had prayed, memorized Scripture, and read books; we had talked, cried, pleaded, and argued; we had blamed ourselves, our culture, gymnastics, and God; we had loved, hugged, and gotten angry. Still her cancer of the soul thrived.

So, we drove east on Interstate 70, in a minivan filled with fear and heartbreak. My every breath became a prayer.

God, heal her. Please don’t let this cancer steal anymore of her. Don’t let it take her life! Tell me what to say; show me what to do.

Miles of empty eastern Colorado rolled by as we played license plate games to kill time and the dread that rode with us.

Why was God so silent?

A couple of hours east of Denver I said, “Look, kids,” and pointed to the words “Trust Jesus” spray-painted on the cement pillar of a highway overpass.

“Do you think anyone is actually convinced of God’s love by that?” I asked sarcastically. “That’s not evangelism; that’s evandalism.”

At each overpass for the next several miles the same lime-green words “Trust Jesus” appeared. What a diversion. Instead of focusing on our pain and worries, we mocked silly Christians.

As we limped into Kansas, my daughter with the wounded soul moved to the shotgun seat. Everyone else was sleeping.

“What can I do, Dad?” she asked.

I shrugged my shoulders. I had no more answers and had to admit that to her. Her eyes teared up with disappointment.

Shortly after that trip, we hit what we thought was bottom: we placed her at Remuda Ranch, a long-term treatment center for eating disorders. In the midst of that dark time, a good friend invited me to a local Promise Keepers meeting. Before Bill McCartney spoke, a local man, one of the organizers of the meeting, was asked to share his testimony. He told a heart-wrenching story about his daughter, who was addicted to drugs, and how everything he did to help her didn’t.

I shuddered. This hit too close to home. Tears pressed, unwanted, from my eyes.

He went on saying he had been at a Promise Keepers planning meeting in Denver just weeks before. During that meeting, his wife called with news his daughter was in serious trouble. He left for Tulsa immediately, east on I70. As he drove, he brainstormed, outlining every solution a father could. His every breath a prayer.

I listened trying to hide my trembling and tears.

Then in the wastes of eastern Colorado, he related, he saw, spray-painted on a concrete pillar, the lime-green words “Trust Jesus.” In a heartbeat he knew God had spoken and instantly he rolled down the window of his van and figuratively threw out all his human plans.

“Jesus, not my plans but yours,” he prayed. “Only you can heal her.”

But in a few miles, he was back planning and problem solving. Then came another pillar. “Trust Jesus,” it shouted. Again he rolled down his window and threw out his human plans. Again he prayed.

I don’t know how long he bounced on this bungee cord of faith. I only know I was broken. I was a puddle. I was unmade.

“Jesus,” I choked, “not only have I not trusted you with my daughter, I ridiculed your attempt to coax me to faith.” I was the fool, not the person evandalizing I70, to believe I was a better father than You, my heavenly Father. I was a fool to think my puny solutions could accomplish anything without Your extravagant love.”

Imagine! To prove nothing is impossible to God, He connected the dots between two hopeless fathers, two broken daughters, two Colorado trips and a crazy person with a spray can.  Right then God poured fresh love into my empty soul and showed me He loved my daughter more that I ever could. In a gentle, firm voice Jesus spoke to my heart, “If I have the power to heal your daughter, and I do, I also have the love and power to carry all of you through this until I do. Trust Me!”

In his potent prayer in Ephesians 3:14-21, Paul reminds us that the best response to those relentless, hopeless situations is to “kneel before the Father . . . to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses all knowledge.”

Only when I recognized the paucity of my problem solving, and let my aching heart drive me to Christ, did I begin to learn that the love of Christ could carry me through anything. In this case there was no instant healing, no five keys to happiness, no easy answer. But there was a deeper knowledge of naked, unadulterated Love. That Love has sustained us on a road longer than a thousand lengths of I70. While we travel, healing, in more things than eating disorders, is coming. And our knowledge of the width, length, height, and depth of Christ’s love grows.

P.S. Our daughter is now 29, happy, healthy, trusting Jesus, married, a mother of a two year-old, with a baby boy on the way. God did exactly as He promised. He did not snap magical fingers and heal her. Instead He walked this long road with us, showing His love is the deepest, widest, most powerful force in existence.

Eugene C. Scott writes the Wednesday Neighborhood Cafe blog.  If you’re reading this on Facebook and you’d like to join the conversation, click here. www.bibleconversation.com. Eugene co-pastors The Neighborhood Church in Littleton, CO.

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Well Now I’ve Done It!

While preparing for my “holiday” (thanks Eugene, for pointing out the difference between holiday and vacation), I inadvertently assigned the same Scripture passages to two different people. I guess I can blame it on an early onset of “brain sprain” or perhaps Jeff McQuilkin’s “snarky” comments from yesterday.

So here’s what I’m going to do: release the posts at different times. I’ll release Jeff’s guest post first, and then later, I’ll release the second post, written by Rev. Mike Mullin.

I think you’ll find both posts worth reading.

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OUR FAIR SHARE

For most of us, the word “no” was the first word we understood as kids.  It seemed like our parents used the word all the time.  As adults, we chuckle now at kids who are learning “no”, crying when they don’t get their way.  We chuckle because we’ve all been there.  I can remember not understanding why I couldn’t just have everything I wanted.  Can you? ;>)

I always get a kick out of Lucy van Pelt from the Peanuts cartoons, especially her materialism. She rants, “I only want what’s coming to me. I only want my fair share!”  Again, we laugh, because we see a little bit of ourselves in Lucy.  We all want our “fair share,” some of us even more. We just don’t say it as bluntly as Lucy does.

Some parenting techniques try to avoid the word “no” with kids, and certainly “no” can be overused.  But we shouldn’t—er—throw the baby out with the bathwater (pun intended). All the word “no” does is set a boundary, delineating what is ours, and what is not.  Boundaries describe our portion, our “fair share.” Boundaries are hugely important in this life, and people who don’t have them don’t get by very well.  Much of today’s reading has to do with boundaries.

As I mentioned above, Jeff McQuilkin is one of our two guest bloggers for today. He contributed to yesterday’s post. You can read his blog Losing My Religion by by clicking here.

TODAY’S READING

Numbers 33:40-35:34
Luke 5:12-28
Psalm 65:1-13
Proverbs 11:23

INSIGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS

Numbers 33:40-35:34. God goes into detail with Moses about the boundary lines of the Promised Land, the portion of land he is giving to Israel.  He instructs his people on how to apportion the land to the tribes, claim the land, give the tribe of Levi their portion (as the tribe given care of the Tabernacle, they were not apportioned a specific plot of land), cities of refuge, and so on.

Luke 5:12-28. Jesus performs more healings, including healing a leper, and the paralytic whose friends lowered him through an opening in the roof.

Psalm 65. This is a psalm of praise for the power and provision of God.

THE WORD MADE FRESH

In yesterday’s reading in Numbers, some of the tribes of Israel asked for (and received) land beyond the Jordan which was suitable for large numbers of livestock, and I asked whether they had ultimately cheated themselves by settling for less than God’s portion for them. Today’s reading speaks to me about the other side—recognizing the boundaries, and knowing what is our portion, and what is not.  Just as we can “sell ourselves short” by settling for less than God’s best for us—we can also over-reach and try to claim things God has not given to us, and this is not something God blesses.

The blessing of God lies within our appointed boundaries, not outside of them. I think this is why passages like this appear in the Scripture, although they might seem a bit tedious to read.  It was important for Israel to know exactly what was theirs, and how to properly steward what they were given.

Likewise, God lays out boundaries for us—not just with material possessions or land, but with more intangible things, like moral boundaries. We don’t like those boundaries sometimes, because none of us really likes the word “no.”  But boundaries aren’t designed to imprison us or hem us in; they delineate our portion, because that is where our blessing is. When we sin, we cross a boundary and take what hasn’t been given to us.  If we believe God is for us, we will trust that his blessing will be within what He apportions to us in this life—whatever that looks like.

One of my favorite verses of Scripture doesn’t appear in today’s reading, but definitely applies: “The boundary lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” (Psalm 16:6)  Today’s reading (along with yesterday’s) remind me not to settle for less than what God has given me, but also not to extend beyond what he has given me.  His portion for us is a delightful inheritance, and we do not need more.

CONVERSATION STARTERS

  1. What did today’s reading speak to your heart personally?
  2. In what ways do you think you tend to reach beyond what God has given you? In what ways do you cross boundaries?
  3. Why do you suppose we dislike boundaries? What do you think creates that dissatisfaction we feel when we are told “no?”
  4. In what way could these Scriptures shape your journey from this day forward?

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www.bibleconversation.com

Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church in Littleton, Colorado.

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