It happens again: Another “coincidence.” God’s timing.
Sunday morning. An echo from the pulpit gives me exactly what I need…
In early morning solitude, I read Philippians. The whole thing. Again.
I read it because I need it. Stuck with nothing but the book of Job for weeks, in my January Bible reading schedule… too much negative! I need balance! — and some sunnier perspective on the little revisits the past has paid me this week, dressed in midwinter blues.
Somewhere I’d heard the claim that just reading through Philippians for 100 consecutive days would alone memorize it. So I’d been giving it a (skeptical) try, now rereading this joy book for about the fifth time.
But this time, I slow in chapter four, to linger amid verses 4-9. I’d hang around longer in the passage, but I must shower, get ready for church…
Later, at church: The pastor opens his Bible, directs our attention to…
He’s talking about scars from the past, and peace of mind.
I even have a mug to remind me of it.
And in my earlier reading, back home, I also was noting each item in verse 8’s mind-focus list and its position in it.
But before church, I got no further. No time for studying verse 9’s instructions, and promise.
Now the pastor homes right in on it, then backtracks over verse 8, part by part!
He pinpoints three factors involved in overcoming emotional scars:
1- Attitude: Which side of a painful circumstance do I choose to focus on, hang out with, positive or negative?
How about choosing what’s…
noble (or excellent, or commendable),
of any virtue,
2- Time: The word “practice” in verse 9 ESV indicates the ongoing building of the “memory muscle” of right thinking. I’d like instant results, but only over time can I develop and strengthen it, by years of building, and practicing.
3- The size of our God, as I see Him. How big is He in relation to my difficulty?
The bottom line I take home, swallow down, and digest:
We get hurt. Bad hurt. And scarred. And the scarred places may even render us crippled. And things or faces from the past can breeze into view like bad weather and suddenly bring back the pain to that damaged place. But…
“Scars are reminders of the past, not our tour guides to the future.” Like a scar the pastor’s son bears, left by a chain saw accident, they warn us to be careful (with chain saws, or whatever inflicted the pain), but not to decide never to pick up a chain saw, or ___(fill in the blank)______ again.
Exactly what I need.
I have something to put in that blank. Maybe more than one something.
How about you? What would you write in that blank?
And have you ever experienced a spoken or written message that meshed remarkably with your own secret situation or Bible pondering? How was “the God of peace” in this coincidence?
More about scars tomorrow.
Meanwhile, thanking God today, for
~Sermons that echo and expand what God was already saying to me in His word
~Wise perspective on life events, and circumstances, and people
~Timely phone call from the one and only friend with whom I could communicate well on a particular scarring event, because she got scarred the same way at the same time. (Yet another “God-incidence.”)
~The great big mightiness of God that has carried me amazingly through searing circumstances, Whom I can trust to take me though any my future holds.
~The scars. Their warning, and reminder of God’s comfort and strength.
~The “bad” events that left them, how they broadened my education, strengthened my faith, increased truth, grace, closeness to God in my life.
~Time and quiet to contemplate and process.
What an amazing God we serve!