We all have pain, hurts, mistakes, and regrets. We have been hurt, and we have inflicted hurt on others. We have pain, and we have caused pain. And It doesn’t matter if the offense is intentional or accidental, it still hurts and we want, we need, relief.
Whether seeking relief from mild discomfort or debilitating pain, headache or migraine, a hurtful word spoken or a horrible deed, we can only find real, lasting relief in one way…it’s not necessarily the shortest way, and it’s often not the easy way…but it is the only way if we want true, lasting, and meaningful relief!
When life hurts emotionally, physically, or spiritually, when we are distressed, upset, or in pain, our first, most natural reaction is to find the quickest, simplest way to bring relief…to fix it. Sadly though, unless we truly fix it, we empower it. If not dealt with properly, our issues will grow bigger, stronger, and possibly out of control. Anyone relate? Anyone been there? Anyone there now? Think mountain out of a mole hill! A tiny cut if left unclean and allowed to fester can grow into a raging, life-threatening infection–and this is true emotionally, physically and spiritually.
We must find real relief of the problem, not just temporary relief of the symptoms.
There are many ways to find quick-fix relief. Most of us have tried at least one, possibly tried most, and probably have tried them all in one way or another. But these are temporary solutions and rarely if ever will bring the actual comfort and relief we need–but that usually doesn’t stop us from trying!
Searching for Relief~ (spoiler alert… these don’t work, but we do them anyway. Keep reading–there’s a better way and real relief is coming!)
We Try and Cover It
Embarrassment, guilt, shame, fear…any negative result from any poor choice will lead to discomfort and we will seek relief from the consequences by trying and covering up. Whether we try and hide it or disguise it, the problem is still there, waiting to get bigger. We are simply “putting lipstick on a pig.” The “pig” might look better for a moment, but the lipstick–the covering–will smear, it will come off, and the “pig” is just the same. No, actually, the “pig” is now dirtier, smeared with the very thing that tried to conceal it. Covering–hiding–only lasts a short time, and, when uncovered, will always be worse!
We Try and Run From It
“I can’t think about that today. I’ll think about that tomorrow. For tomorrow is another day.” (Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind). Putting off for later what we need to deal with now only leads to more to deal with! Trying to ignore the situation drains our strength and feeds the problem. We end up weaker with a stronger adversary. We know in our hearts this is bad, very very bad. But that doesn’t stop us from trying, from trying to get as far away as possible and ignore it. “Out of sight, out of mind?” We may not be thinking about it,but we can be sure it will return. Given time to grow, to fester, when it returns–and it will–it will always be worse!
We Try and Fill It
When we have pain inside, we want it to stop. We want comfort. We want relief. And we will often turn to something to ease our pain, numb it, disguise it. The pain is still there, but we–for a time–can be unaware of it. But, just like covering it up, it is simply festering under the surface, growing in the background. There are countless medications and activities to numb or distract us from the pain. Many can become addictions–alcohol, drugs, food, the list is endless. We simply want the pain to stop, the ache to go away. But, we inevitably just create a new, often worse problem–and it will always be worse!
Finding Relief…Real Relief
Seem too simple? It is simple, but difficult also. The path to relief begins with recognizing our need for Jesus. And the first step toward Him (and His relief) is complete surrender–this is not easy! We can become so busy, so overwhelmed with the problem, we miss the One source of relief. He already knows the problem, and He is the only One with the power to fix it!
He doesn’t cover the problem…He Covers Us!
Jesus has overcome every pain, problem, and sin of this world–there is nothing, nothing, we can do, think, or say that changes this!
When we choose to believe Him, take Him at His Word, then there is nothing that can hurt us! As children of God, we have the covering of the blood of Jesus, the blood that washes us clean and makes us holy. We still sin, but God doesn’t see our sin, our ugliness.
Covered by Jesus, we are seen as Jesus. Will we make mistakes and let our flesh peek out? Of course! But the covering can never be removed, can never be torn, can never be damaged. Jesus is perfect and He replaces our dirty garments with a garment of praise. He takes our “ashes”, our blackened, charred sinful lives, and He makes them beautiful. He protects, redeems and restores. In Jesus, we find real relief!
Jesus Strengthens Us to Run to Him…to Soar!
Jesus, the Son of God, did not run away. He didn’t hide. He faced challenges and struggles head-on and taught His disciples to do the same. He teaches us to do the same and He strengthens us to fight.
He has given us impenetrable defensive armor that protects us from our enemy, and He has armed us with the Sword of the Spirit. We are not powerless and we are not weak. In Christ, we are empowered, equipped and protected. Our hope is renewed and we can soar on wings like eagles. But when we try to live, and fight, in our own strength, with broken, weak weapons of this world, we will lose hope, lose faith, lose the battle.
Jesus has already won the war, but we can lose many battles if we fight alone, without Him. In Jesus, only Jesus, we find victory–we find relief!
Jesus Fills Us…Completely!
Jesus is not a temporary fill that takes the place of something else. No, He removes the bad and replaces it with something beautiful. He creates beauty from pain. He makes a brand new creation–of hope, joy, and peace. He offers grace and forgiveness the old is completely gone! Our sin, our imperfections, our ugliness, they are gone! Replaced by Jesus’ perfect, holy life. Never again do we need to re-live or hide from our past. He has redeemed it, washed it clean, and created something glorious with the pieces. There is no shame, guilt or condemnation because it is gone!