Tuesday, May 23, 2017

When Religion Hurts~

Sometimes our greatest need
and our place of coming face to face with Jesus
and receiving His all consuming healing,
will be the very place that
separates us from the crowd,
leaves us on the outside looking in,
gets us thrown right out of the synagogue.

Sometimes our deepest wound
and our place of touching heart to heart with God
and experiencing His all consuming love,
will be the very place that
people question and pass judgment,
people turn their backs,
people completely miss the touch of God.

Not everybody will celebrate a healing.
Not everybody will rejoice a life set free.
Not everybody will recognize God's unmistakable presence in a life
or the work He is doing through a life.

And sadly,
it is the religious people of the day -
those who profess
to understand God best,
to know God most -
who miss God altogether.

And sadly,
it is the religious people of the day -
those who profess
to be doing in the name of God
and ministering in the name of God,
who misrepresent God altogether.

God seldom moves the same way twice.
His miracles are as unique and individual
as each unique and individual circumstance,
as each unique and individual person.

If we look for Him
inside the box,
within our neatly defined man-made rules,
we are sure to miss Him.

A man was born blind -
not because he or his parents had sinned
like the religious people of the day piously speculated,
but so through his need,
and God's surpassing greatness to meet this need,
God would be glorified.

When Jesus,
through spit, mud,
and blind faith on the part of the blind man,
brought sight where only darkness had been,
those walking in religious darkness refused to see
The Light.

Holding on to all they had to hold on to,
they couldn't see beyond
the traditions of men and their religious rules.

And despite the fact that not one blind person
had ever been given sight before,
the man healed  -
who had come face to face with Jesus,
who had come heart to heart with God,
who now believed this must be God,
was thrown out the synagogue.

No clapping.
No celebrating.
No rejoicing.

Only Judgment.
Only "We know better than you."
Only rejection.

For the man who was blind but could now see,
this was his second blessing.
For not only did he receive the gift of sight that day,
he received
in place of religion,
the gift of Jesus, Himself,
and he fell down and worshiped Him.

Living Christianity by a set of rules,
with an unchanged, religious heart
will always lead to judging others
instead of trying to save others.

Just look at the woman caught in adultery.
It was the religious people of the day
who brought her to Jesus for judgment,
who held the stones in their hands.

Just like this woman,
just like this blind man,
I've been in their shoes.

Maybe, you have, too.

When my greatest need
and my coming face to face with Jesus
and receiving of His all consuming healing
found me
separated from the crowd,
on the outside looking in,
thrown right out of the synagogue.

When my greatest wound
and my coming heart to heart with God
and experiencing His all consuming love
found me
questioned and judged,
turned on,
and my touch of God completely missed.

When I lost my husband,
God led me to my laptop.
Raw, honest words of grief
poured freely from my heart and out through my fingertips.
But, always - always - always -
woven between each and every word
were the precious words whispered to my heart by His precious Spirit -
words affirming, reminding and giving testimony to
the healing presence,
the faithfulness,
and the all consuming love of my God.

In every word I wrote,
in every breath I took,
in every tear I cried,
He was the ALL that was
upholding me,
sustaining me,
guiding me,
blessing me,
carrying me,
refreshing me,
restoring me,
healing me.

God opened my eyes
in my time of greatest need and deepest wounding
to see His presence
and to witness His glory as never before.

Only those around me missed it.
They completely missed.

This - seven months after losing my man.

"We don't think you're handling the death of your husband right."

"Oh, what makes you think that?"

"We read your writing. You need to agree to grief counseling or you are terminated immediately."

But like this man who was once blind but could now see,
my rejection was my second blessing.
For not only did I receive the gift of knowing God as never before,
I have and continue to see God use
the very words He gave me,
the very words that poured from a heart of grief
to heal and comfort,
to mend and bind,
to encourage and lift up those
all around the world
who are brokenhearted.

The very words
that got me thrown out of ministry at the church where I worked
have become my ministry.

My greatest need and deepest wound
have been used by God
to glorify my God
in ways I could never even think or imagine.

Healing and a testimony for a blind man.
Forgiveness and a testimony for a woman caught in adultery.
Comfort and a testimony for a widow making her way through grief.

Religion minus the love of Jesus - judges, hurts, and rejects people.
Jesus minus the man-made rules of religion - heals, saves, and restores people.

Yes, I've been in their shoes.

And like this man who was once blind but could now see,
and like the woman who was caught in adultery,
I, too,
with praise and thanksgiving
pouring from my heart,
fall at His feet and worship Him.

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  1. Oh Stacy,your words so encourage and bless me each time you write,and God has given you a precious gift indeed through your grieving!
    I want to know Him the way you do,to love people the way He does-I too have been guilty of judging instead of extending the grace of God,but I so want to be different! Thank you my friend.xx

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