If you knew this article could help you start healing, overcome doubt, and build up your faith, would you try it? Don’t just trust me on this one. Try it for yourself.
As a kid, I collected coins. Not just a few shiny nickels and dimes, but something I could trade for an upgrade to my rusty 1980s ride to work. Coin collecting was my passion. At age six, my priorities were: coins, catching lizards, and cheese quesadillas. So one morning, I asked my mom if we could go to the coin shop. To my delight, she agreed.
Pause that story. Try this with me. You’ll be glad you did. Think back to your childhood. What were you most excited about? Riding your bike? Attention from Dad? Cuddles from Mom? Birthday celebrations? Are you a fellow lizard-catching coin collector? Maybe you set up Transformers vs. G.I. Joe battles or Barbie conversations. Think of a few of your favorite kid things and keep them in your mind.
Okay, back to my story. Mom had agreed to a trip to the coin shop. Then, my brothers had to be picked up from school. (I’m the youngest of seven.) Dinner had to be made, bills paid, you know this list. By the time my mom had a moment, my tear-filled eyes found a clock, and I knew the coin shop had shut its doors.
My mom did nothing wrong. She gave her all to be the best wife, mother, and woman she could be. And believe me, she’s actually really incredible at all that. Yet, for some reason unfathomable to my six-year-old mind, this was the biggest disappointment my little heart had ever felt. Psychology tells us these childhood stories often grow up into adult-sized pain. That’s because pain can send messages to our hearts with the potential to change the way we see life and God forever.
Remember your childhood favorites? Now take a second to recall the moment one of them became the setting for one of your painful stories. Can’t think of one? It’s the one you’re trying to ignore right now. A missed birthday? The wrong gift? Or, maybe it happened when you were a teen or even an adult. Were you stood up? Or, abused by someone you trusted? Was there an untimely death? Now go there. Go back to that story and stay until you hear the message it sent you.
What message did you hear in your story? Maybe it’s on this list: you’re not enough, you’re on your own in this world, no one comes through for you (including God), you’re unwanted, you deserve pain. Here’s the message from my story: “Grow up, Jason. You’re going to have to protect your heart from ever feeling this way again.” In my case, my mom wasn’t sending that message, but my heart still heard it. Now, who would want me believing something like this? Can you imagine the implications this message could have on faith, relationships, careers, and life in general? Have you lived believing a message from your pain? You know what the Gospel is? It’s God’s new message for you, for the world. Here’s the Gospel from your heavenly Father, and your Savior, Jesus.
“Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 MSG
Take a breath. Read it again if you need to. Now, soak up these words straight from Jesus.
“A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” John 10:10 MSG
A New Message of Healing
He was there in all of your moments of pain, joy, and in between. He’s not just there, He’s here with you now. He’ll never leave you, yet He went ahead of you to make a way for you. A way named Jesus. Are you listening to a message from the thief who wants to steal, kill, and destroy? Or, will you believe Jesus’ words of real life?
Go back to your story of pain. When you’re ready, close your eyes and invite Jesus to become a character in your story. Tell your enemy, the thief, “I’m not listening to you anymore.” Ask Jesus to show you what He wants to say or do in your story. Now, let the story play out in your mind with Jesus in it. What new message is Jesus telling you through your story? Test it against Scripture, and hide it in your heart forever.
Here’s my new message: “Trust me with your heart, Jason. No matter what happens, I’m with you.” Yup, now that sounds like Jesus, not the thief. This lizard-catching coin collector has grown into an adult-sized kid who’s ditching doubt for a childlike faith in a God who can be trusted. And, according to Jesus, I guess that’s worth more than a trip to the coin shop.
… Jesus called over a child, whom he stood in the middle of the room, and said, “I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in.” Matthew 18:2-3 MSG