So often the Bible tells me the opposite of what I want to hear. When our house got trashed by renters, steam shot out of my ears. But then Derek drew me aside and we read the Bible. It said, “Rejoice!” God was in control. He had things in hand.
Or there was the time when someone made a decision that caused me a lot of pain. I stomped and cried in the private of my room. But the same thing happened again. Derek drew me aside. We prayed. A verse. Yes, it was, “Rejoice!”
Just today I was reading where Jesus healed the sick. “And people brought to him all who were ill… those suffering severe pain… and he healed them.” (Matthew 4:24)
Sometimes, those of us who are hurt can’t seem to get to Jesus by ourselves. We need others to bring us close. And then we can hear that wonderful word. “Rejoice!” God is in control. He has things in hand.
Conflict is sparks flying. It is emotions rising. It is experiencing what most of us think we would rather avoid. Yet, sometimes conflict is necessary. When we speak up for the slandered. When we defend the defenseless. When we risk our reputation to protect the innocent.
But our actions can only resolve part of the problem. The slandered might still feel worthless. The defenseless might still feel powerless. And, the innocent might still feel betrayed. These are reactions that continue to harm.
Conflict then shows us another face. It fights for the hearts that sink into despair. It fights against the lies that drag them there. Yes, conflict is sometimes called love.
Sometimes what we experience is not understood. “But I do!” people might say. “I can totally relate! It’s just like when I got a bicycle puncture. Deflating.”
Our heart sinks. We fall silent. We feel like we are sitting at the bottom of a deep well. Alone. Unheard. If only someone understood. If only we could share our heart.
Yet, something good can come out of a well. There is a light, and it is up above. It makes us lift our heads. There is a person we can talk to – God.
Jeremiah also ended up in a well. He said, “I called on your name, O Lord, from the depths of the pit. You came near and said, ‘Do not fear.’“ (from Lamentations 3: 55-57)
It hardly ever happens. Derek and I stopped. We stood in a beech wood. There was no wind, no noise, no people, just us. We watched leaves fall from the trees, one every few seconds. We heard the “plif” as each one landed.
Life is like that. We can’t hear anything until we stop. Today I heard an agitated voice. I listened to the silence behind their words, and I heard the “plif.” What that person actually meant was, “I feel so alone. No one listens to me. Please accept me.”
Jesus stops with us in the silence behind our words. He wants us to hear his “plif.” “I comfort all who mourn… I bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes.” (from Isaiah 61:2-3)