Read with me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.” Isaiah 46:10

Growing up in a charismatic environment, much emphasis was placed on healing.  I had the privilege of witnessing amazing physical miracles and was surrounded by people who were not afraid of praying for one another. The go-to in my childhood was prayer, as it is still today.  My children know whenever they feel ill we first pray before we seek help. Sadly, in the midst of such prayerful community, very little emphasis was ever placed on emotional wellbeing. It was commonly believed and preached that as a Christian you were automatically turned into a well-functioning person by faith in Christ alone. I do, I really do believe in prayer for healing – soul, mind, and body- but I have a hard time reconciling the instant and entitled nature of the demand on His hand. He loves you, and in the secret chambers of your being, He longs to know you intimately. Healing comes from faith, yes, but it also comes from trust. More often than not, the emotional turmoil we experience is caused by a sense of hurt due to unfulfilled demands and unanswered prayers. Imagine telling someone suffering from insecurity and chaotic thought patterns “you only need to have more faith in God,” but essentially their suffering comes from a perceived uncharitable act from God’s actual doing. Do you see the problem with stock phrases such as have more faith, just believe, have you prayed about it. Think for a moment that maybe, just maybe, this person does have faith, the expression of which differs from yours. The issue is not only one of identity, a lack of perceiving God’s love and the value on their lives, but also equating that value with answered prayers and Him fulfilling our wills. We feel better when things go our way. Suffering has never equated a lack of faith in God. Jesus suffered; He was tortured, tempted, hounded, ridiculed, He wept! Jesus got angry. Jesus had arguments. He isolated Himself. These are all actions that today would be labelled faithless, chaotic, fleshly, and my favourite of all unChristlike.

More often than not I have found that people throw phrases at me like “just have more faith” when they themselves have no answer for suffering, but our personal convictions dictate we need to help and correct for the sake of love. Yet, all it does is make me feel unloved, unheard and unseen. All the beautifully thought out inspirational quotes and phrases you sling at people carry such truth and worth, so also does the person. It is important when dealing with people suffering from hardships mentally and emotionally that we represent God well. This might mean you don’t have a verbal answer at the ready. Maybe cry? It could mean you get to say nothing as you hold their hand and listen. Flip a table? Maybe you get to do the hard work of journeying with that person for months without ever speaking your mind. Resist to the point of sweating blood? We have to represent His heart, and that requires us to ask Him what He is feeling and saying about the person and situation. Understand, He is still the answer. He, in Himself is enough to eradicate all forms of suffering and abuse, trauma and hurt, pain and neglect. But we need to give Him, His Heart, not our stock phrases and opinions. We need to be OK with not always having a verbal retort. The essence of this approach is to cultivate relationship, build community, and enlarge His Kingdom by loving the people in it.

It has been quite the journey- discovering parts of His heart for myself; realizing He cares about my mind. My body, my soul, and my Spirit – He emphasizes all of it. He cares about my thought patterns. He is there, in the waiting, while we don’t know. He is there, with open arms. Seeking Him, finding Him while alone in my room, not solely uninspired by Sunday morning pulpit theology, has brought freedom and empowerment to live. (NO, I have nothing against Sunday morning church services.)   Even though He is involved and invested in our lives, interested in the details of our being and doing, He sees beyond where we’ve been and where we are, witnessing our future – our hope, our future.  He cares for our wellbeing, all of it. He loves your mind. He loves your personality. I want to remind us, He is not a narcissist. He is not in the business of uniformity, scheming to have you sound and look like a perfect version of a Christian. He actually loves YOU. The whole of you, all of you, yes even the chaotic parts. Sometimes I think He giggles at our incessant need for order and straight lines. Have a look outside. Look at what He created. In nature, order and organic life takes on a little different shape. Curves (yay! for the ladies), bumps, knobs, spikes, swerving lines, insignificant borders, depth, chaos, wild, even wilderness is common. Although He doesn’t breed it, He thrives in chaos, because He can. He is capable of handling hard times; He is capable of coping with difficult personalities.

If there are people in your life that you feel will benefit from a ‘klap,’ don’t. Consider the possibility of allowing others to live, even chaotically, because chaos can be found in His design. Allow His method of loving others to guide you in your approach to people who don’t look and sound like you. Hold a hand, give a hug, love.