Thursday, October 25, 2012

All Is Right, So Why Is Life All Wrong?

You may be doing everything right, and something very wrong might happen. How’s that for a dose of encouragement today?!?! It goes against everything we want to believe about life and about God, doesn’t it? It’s not fair. In fact, by our thinking, it’s downright unacceptable. Proper behavior should result in blessings. Wicked, rebellious behavior should result in curses. That’s what it says in Deuteronomy chapter twenty-eight, so that’s what we should be able to take to the bank, right? It leads to the age-old question: Why do bad things happen to good people and vice versa? For the child of God, we can be encouraged!
Reading in Genesis this week, I slowed at the wonder of the story of Joseph. We’ve probably all heard it countless times. Made famous in Sunday school rooms around the world and throughout the ages, the adventurous saga of jealous brothers, a coat of many colors, and a slave who rises to power in a prison cell establishes a core certainty on which we must hang our faith. Our hope. Our ability to move forward when life is dragging us down and there’s no reasonable explanation to “Why me?”
Jealous of daddy’s favorite and made about his dreams, Joseph’s brothers fake his murder and sell him into slavery. Betrayed, abandoned, and now in bondage, Joseph ends up in Egypt where Potipher buys him. Life is not good. But Genesis 39:2-3 tells us, “The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made all he did prosper into his hand.” So Potipher sets Joseph over his house and all he has. Being a handsome fellow, Joseph catches the eye of Potipher’s wife, who proceeds to throw herself at him. When he acts honorably and declines her solicitations, saying it would be a “great wickedness, and sin against God” (verse nine), she puts on the drama and essentially accuses him of attempted rape.
Joseph does the right thing, is wrongly accused, and ends up in prison. Isn’t that breaking the rules for the way it should be? Once again, “the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison” (verse twenty-one). “Whatever he did, the Lord made it prosper” (verse twenty-three).
Keep in mind, Joseph has no idea why this is happening. We don’t see into the details of his heart or attitude during his many trials, but nothing in scripture indicates heated debates with the Lord about why. We don’t see any evidence of a bitter heart because life’s not fair. All we see is the Lord’s hand upon him. Given the character of God and what the word tells us about blessings for the righteous, I believe it’s safe to assume Joseph kept his heart right before God, his attitude pleasing Him, and his behavior virtuous.
While Joseph is in prison for the crime he didn’t commit, Pharaoh has a dream his magicians can’t interpret and is told about Joseph’s ability to understand and explain dreams. He summons Joseph to interpret, and Joseph clarifies, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace” (Genesis 41:16).  Joseph describes the meaning of Pharaoh’s dreams, and Pharaoh says to Joseph, “Inasmuch as God has shown you all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you. You shall be over my house, and all my people shall be ruled according to your word; only in regard to the throne will I be greater than you” (verses thirty-nine through forty).
In this powerful position, Joseph is able to store up provision during famine and eventually provide for his own family. When he later reveals himself to his bewildered brothers who unknowingly come to him for food, he assures them, “Do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life” (Genesis 45:5), “to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you who sent me here, but God” (verses seven and eight). After his father Jacob dies and his brothers panic that he will turn on them, he again assures them, “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive” (Genesis 50:20).
The thing is, Joseph did not know this BEFORE when everything wrong was happening to him. He had to trust God and continue to do the right thing, even as wrong things happened again and again. By faith, not by sight, he served God, and God gave him favor.
As in Joseph’s case, God may not right our wrongs right away, but that doesn’t mean He isn’t working all things to good, even when wrong things happen. That’s why we walk by faith not by sight.
Perhaps God is allowing, and maybe even causing, certain events that are sad or uncomfortable, trying and difficult for another person’s deliverance or because He wants someone else to know He is God. It’s easy to let God demonstrate Himself in our lives through abundant blessings, provision and deliverance! But what about when He demonstrates Himself by allowing us to go through extremely trying times? Times when we fear for our families or even our very lives? Are we willing then? Will we praise Him by faith and not allow what we see to deter our love and devotion to Him?
Lord, help us to trust You in all things as we become more wholly Yours today.
Shauna Wallace
Holy His

Thursday, October 18, 2012

It'll All Be Better in the Morning

I don’t know what it is about the night. If ever I am going to feel incurably overwhelmed, I guarantee it will be at night. Inevitably, James will notice the extra wrinkles in my brow, the concentrated effort to breathe steady, the uneasiness in my spirit. He’ll listen as I tick through all the things that seem insurmountable in that moment, and then he’ll simply say, “Get some sleep, honey. It’ll all be better in the morning.”

And it is! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve lain my head down in total defeat at night only to awaken in the morning with a fresh outlook. I have come to love James’ words of comfort and encouragement. I find myself telling my kids the same thing when late night chats expose emotions, occurrences, obstacles, and ordinary relationships and responsibilities that have them feeling they just may not make it. I can totally relate, so I tell them what James tells me, “Get some sleep. It will all be better in the morning.”

Once again my self-proclaimed simple guy has encapsulated profound truth in a simple statement, and guess what? It’s biblical! It occurred to me the other day that the Bible speaks to this specifically at least twice.

In Lamentations 3:22-24, the prophet Jeremiah comforts himself, saying, “Through the LORD's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I hope in Him!’”

We will not come to our end because His deep love, mercy, and tender affection will not come to an end. They are fresh at the break of each new day. The kind of renewable that truly sustains. And because His compassions fail not, the end of our rope is not the end of our hope!

In Psalm 30:5, David declares, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” We may pass the night distraught, deeply grieving, or crying out in desperation, but when day breaks, it’s time to be overcome with rejoicing. It’s time to break out in a shout for joy!

What if we don’t feel like it the next morning? Do it anyways! We can’t let feelings regulate our faith or our obedience. As Paul exhorts in Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” Then in verses six and seven, he instructs us, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Praise brings peace. Do you see it? And as we rejoice in Him with each new day, His provision, presence, and peace are enough for that day.

God’s provision comes every morning, just as it did for the Israelites in Exodus. They have just embarked on their wilderness journey and complain against Moses because of their hunger. “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. and the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day’” (Exodus 16:4). When the dew lifted, God’s provision was there, and the Israelites were to gather each according to their need for THAT DAY. No more, and no less. And that’s just what God gives us for our days, too.

Notice, God sent the manna, but the Israelites had to gather it before it could satisfy their hunger. He gave them the ingredient. They had to make it into food. As He provides for our every day, we have to do our part in applying His provision to our responsibilities. Here are some of the things I do when anxiety overwhelms me:

1.       I pray, telling God every little thing that’s churning in my mind and heart. We are told to cast our cares on Him (I Peter 5:7). Literally, throw our anxieties – those things that make us feel divided and disjointed – upon God, “for He cares for you.”

2.       When anxiety threatens to split my head, I will write my prayers in a journal to God. Transferring them to paper helps me place them securely in the hands of God.

3.       At night, I’ll read my Bible until I can’t keep my eyes open any longer, training my thoughts on Him and not on my troubles.

4.       If I’m overwhelmed with things I have to do, before I go to bed, I’ll write out a schedule for the next day and prioritize my tasks. I note my commitments first, which reveals windows of time in which I can tackle a few tasks. This system helps me to be realistic about what I can accomplish with the time I have. Next, I choose the most important jobs and assign them to my day first. Another trick I learned when I was in direct sales is to do the thing you dread the most first. Get that monkey off your back. You’ll be amazed at the stress that will relieve!

5.       If my stress is due to feeling backed up on things in my office or around the house, I sometimes get up extra early the next day and use the quiet early morning hours when I’m the only one crazy enough to be awake to first spend time with the Lord and in His word, and second to have uninterrupted time to take care of some of the things that require my attention. It’s amazing what this does to lift anxiety and my spirits. I find the relief outweighs the sacrifice of a few hours of sleep.

Above all, stay in the day, as Matthew 6:34 insists, "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Perhaps that’s why God’s compassions renew every morning. His joy comes in the morning. We rejoice and praise Him every morning because we absolutely have to remember and remind and restate who He is and what He says He’ll do for us in order to make it! And He’ll give us exactly what we need for that day – nothing more and nothing less. And we can lay our heads down at night knowing He’ll give us exactly what we need the next day too.

“My son, let them not depart from your eyes – keep sound wisdom and discretion; so they will be life to your soul and grace to your neck. Then you will walk safely in your way, and your foot will not stumble. When you lie down, you will not be afraid; yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet” (Proverbs 3:21-24).

Lord, help us to roll our cares on You, for You care about us. As we do, may we be more fully able to become wholly Yours and do what You have for us to do.

Shauna Wallace

Holy His

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Man's Trash, God's Treasure

I believe I have experienced the exhilaration of a man with a new power tool. I now own a Vitamix. This machine is amazing! Mesmerized by its myriad of miracle-working culinary powers, I set out to actually make soup in a blender. My foray into homemade honey-nut peanut butter was a smashing success, so I was feeling pretty good about stretching beyond simple smoothies.

Mouth watering from the picture, I scheduled the soup in my weekly menu and integrated its ingredients into my shopping list. The appointed day arrived! Salivating at the thought of a warm bowl of comfort, I precooked ingredients during the day, making sure everything was just right for the great debut that evening.

It was time.

Ingredients layered in the container in the exact order prescribed, I flipped the power and slowly turned the dial to turbo. Engines full blast, the blender died. Silence. Unplug, plug. Nothing. Reset the outlet. Nothing. Look for a secret kill switch on the machine. Nothing. Wind knocked from my sails, I would not give up. Half-blended ingredients safely preserved in the refrigerator, I would return the Vitamix for a new one and make a second attempt the next day. It was a frozen pizza night.

Turns out, the blown out blender just needed a little rest. Morning smoothies went off without a glitch. I was back in the blending business! Paring down portions and adding extra liquid, my second attempt was headed in the right direction. Dumping each batch into my family-sized stock pot, my excitement waned. I couldn’t recall any restaurant potato soup with such a sticky consistency. Was the texture supposed to be like paste? On second thought, maybe I shouldn’t have modified the amount of spinach. Perhaps the reason it called for only a few spinach leaves blended a mere two to three seconds was to avoid the glow in the dark green goo brewing on my cook top.

The soup was a total failure! The appearance, texture, and flavor were awful. I was devastated. Wind once again knocked from my sails and hormonal to boot, I approached my sweet husband soaking in the hot tub at the end of a hard day, visions of delicious soup dancing in his head.

“Want to go on a date?” I hinted, plopping myself into a lawn chair on the back deck.

“Why? I thought you were making soup.”

With all the drama I could muster, I explained the federal disaster area just inside the back door. He agreed the local Mexican restaurant sounded pretty appealing. Walking through the kitchen on his way to shower, curiosity got the best of him.

Peering into the mysterious green mixture, he inquired, “What’s in it?” Listing the ingredients, I invited him to taste it. It took several spoonfuls, a few swishes, and some thought, but he decided it wouldn’t be too bad. We’d just stay home and eat the soup with the thawing hand-made empanadas from our missionary friends in Argentina.

Mustering my resolve, I carefully attempted to extract the empanadas from their Ziplock. The dough, now more like glue, clung to the plastic like a child who doesn’t want to be left in the church nursery, and four of the twelve folded meat pastries lay dying on the cookie sheet. The rest were wadded up in the trash.

I was beyond caring. I threw the salvaged quartet in the oven and waited. When everything was ready, James surveyed his fare and gently commented, “Do you think it’s too late to go to the Mexican restaurant?”

Dinner was completely unsalvageable. A total write off.

Sitting in my office later that night, eating a smorgasbord of leftovers, I found myself feeling grateful. I once felt like that meal – unsalvageable. Unpalatable. Ugly in every way. Some days I still feel like that (especially the hormonal ones)!

I’m so thankful God didn’t and still doesn’t toss me to the side and write me off. No matter how wrong things go, God can salvage anyone and anything. Not only can He salvage, He can restore.

Want proof? Pick up the Bible. Start in Genesis and read through thousands of years of documented history of a perfect God who redeems His imperfect people, starting with Adam and Eve. Some of the people and events are worthy of their own reality television show!

Are you feeling unsalvageable? Don’t trust your feelings. Trust God. Trust the truth of His word. Make the words of these verses from Psalm 31 your own:

In You, O LORD, I put my trust; let me never be ashamed; deliver me in Your righteousness (verse one).

For You are my rock and my fortress; therefore, for Your name's sake, lead me and guide me (verse three).

Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have redeemed me, O LORD God of truth (verse five).

I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy, for You have considered my trouble; You have known my soul in adversities, and have not shut me up into the hand of the enemy; You have set my feet in a wide place (verses seven and eight).

As for me, I trust in You, O LORD; I say, "You are my God" (verse fourteen).

Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You, which You have prepared for those who trust in You In the presence of the sons of men. You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the plots of man; You shall keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues (verses nineteen and twenty)!

Blessed be the LORD, for He has shown me His marvelous kindness in a strong city (verse twenty-one)!

Oh, love the LORD, all you His saints! For the LORD preserves the faithful, and fully repays the proud person (verse twenty-three).

Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the LORD (verse twenty-four).

God is in the business of repurposing the trash of our lives into something worth praising Him! Let us do so today! 

Thank You, Lord, for salvaging us! Thank You for taking what was helpless and hopeless, and through Your Son Jesus, redeeming us. For the person reading this who feels like they are the one person who truly cannot be saved, or who looks at their circumstances and sincerely can’t see how things could ever get better, speak Your truth to their heart. May we be of good courage as You strengthen our hearts. We put our hope in You as we become more wholly Yours today!

Shauna Wallace
Holy His


Friday, October 5, 2012

The Urgency of Holy His: Now Available!

The day is here. Holy His: Hope for a Life and a Nation Wholly His is complete and available for immediate purchase at ($12.95). I want to laugh, cry, and run! Never did I think I would write a book, nor did I set out to do so. It has been a walk of obedience, simply doing the next thing the Lord put before me. It started out as merely writing down truths God revealed to me in Nehemiah during the turmoil of our last presidential election. Birthed in one election cycle, it is a challenge to believers for this election cycle. While our nation looks to a particular political leader to bring much-needed change and recovery to our nation, we as believers must look to God. And to our relationship and walk with Him. And to the true battle before us: the battle for souls.
I don’t know what God has in store for this book. I trust His timing to be perfect, and I trust His plan.
The prospect of another four years with the same administration is unsettling. While those in power don’t come right out and say they seek a socialist state, everything they’re doing is bringing about that very thing. A dragon lurks in the cave. Whiffs of smoke escape its mouth. We don’t see the dragon, but the evidence is there. It’s fiery breath scorching the very principles and freedoms that have made this nation great, laying waste our constitution and much of the principles of liberty and prosperity our founding fathers built into this great nation. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (which doesn’t translate into a government guarantee of happiness). Freedom of speech. Balance of power. Right to arms and personal protection. And so on. It’s all under attack.
Like Jerusalem in Nehemiah’s time, "The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire" (Nehemiah 1:3). God’s people are increasingly under attack as the U.S. Constitution – the wall that once protected our great nation – is broken down and its gates – the principles established to protect us – are burned with fire. Not literally, of course, but figuratively. Holy His: Hope for a Life and a Nation Wholly His sets forth scripture’s answer for restoring our nation, and it has nothing to do with presidential elections. It is to become holy as He is holy. To depend entirely on God, take His word seriously, and do what He says. It’s how Nehemiah and the Jews rebuilt the wall in fifty-two days, and it’s the only way we’ll ever rebuild this great nation.
Here’s why.
In the sense that false teachers lie and deceive through the things they impart and instruct, 2 Peter 2:12-19 could easily be an alarmingly accurate portrait of a saddening majority of politicians today:
But these, like natural brute beasts made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of the things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption, and will receive the wages of unrighteousness, as those who count it pleasure to carouse in the daytime. They are spots and blemishes, carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you, having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, enticing unstable souls. They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children. They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; but he was rebuked for his iniquity: a dumb donkey speaking with a man's voice restrained the madness of the prophet. These are wells without water, clouds carried by a tempest, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever. For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage.
Regardless of their party affiliation, I believe it’s accurate to say too many politicians are wells without water who speak great swelling words of emptiness. They entice unstable souls through the lusts of the flesh, promising a form of liberty that only leads to slavery. Is that what we want?
And masses believe. This completely baffles me even more so than the people and events cajoling the dragon. It perplexes and alarms me that so many can’t see the deceit. It’s a common topic of conversation in our home. We keep trying to figure out why so many people continue to fall at our president’s feet as if he truly holds the answer to a hopeful future when he’s the one unleashing the deadly beast. It’s more than just laziness or wanting someone to do for you what you’d rather not do for yourself. It’s more than a palm extended and eager for the next handout. It’s more than entitlements and bailouts and debt-laden stimulus plans. It’s more than the lie of tolerance that elevates the unnatural over every other opinion or belief. It’s more than the smokescreen war on women aimed at disguising yet another socialist encroachment. We would debate and discuss to no avail. No explanation seemed an adequate answer. 
Until we read 1 Corinthians 2:11-16 with new understanding:
For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For "who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?" But we have the mind of Christ.
Without Christ, no man or woman can receive the things of the Spirit of God, including His truth about what’s happening in our world today. The masses can’t see what’s really going on because they don’t have eyes of understanding. That is why it is critical for God’s people get serious about doing what God says, staying focused and dedicated to fighting the true fight: the one for souls. As more people come to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ, the more they will be able to spiritually discern what is said and happening around them. Any initiative aside from speaking God’s truth and sharing the gospel is really just applying a bandage. It’s not healing the infection. It will ooze and fester and spread.
Yes, we follow current events. Yes, we stay informed of political and cultural events. YES, WE VOTE AND TAKE A STAND FOR FREEDOM. But the only true and permanent answer for our nation is the saving of souls. No political candidate or party or legislation or constitutional amendment has the power to bring hope to this nation. None will solve our moral problems and cultural decline. THE ONLY WAY WE WILL HAVE HOPE FOR A FUTURE is in the saving name of Jesus Christ. The very name this world increasingly rejects, which means believers must trust the Holy Spirit for the courage to speak the Name. To boldly live in obedience. To be a beacon of truth as the Lord directs, empowers, and shows Himself mighty in and through us. To be more attractive in the way we talk and LIVE than the alternative. It’s time, believers. It’s time to be holy as He is holy.
That is what Holy His: Hope for a Life and a Nation Wholly His is all about. If the Lord leads, I pray you will read it and pass it along to others. It is a book first, but each chapter is divided into five days of reading with questions for reflection and application at the end of each section. Work though it individually, or gather a group and use it as a Bible study book. Regardless of the results of this election, our nation needs the truth of God’s word. The truth of His answer for hope and healing.
Lord, I pray that this book, a walk of obedience, would bring You much glory. I have no agenda for it, only that it would be what You want it to be. That those You desire to read it would read it. That it would continue to be a walk of obedience for me, and that it would bring You much glory.
Shauna Wallace
Holy His

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Secret Forgiveness

SPOILER ALERT: If you have not seen the movie October Baby and don’t want to know how it ends, go rent it (you absolutely must), and read this later.
Absorbing the magnitude of the messages of October Baby, I lingered for a moment in my recliner. Truth be known, I was attempting to collect my emotions in order to simply speak. It is a heartbreaking, heartwarming story of a nineteen-year-old girl who discovers her health and emotional struggles could be the result of having survived a failed abortion. Convinced her whole life has been a lie, she and a hilarious mix of characters embark on a road trip to find her birth mother. When she does, the woman still doesn’t want anything to do with the daughter. You will laugh. You will cry. You will be changed.
When my throat relaxed enough to allow sound to pass, I answered my daughter’s question: “Why couldn’t they just let the mom and daughter be together? That stinks!” After thinking for a moment, I responded, “Maybe it’s to show people that forgiveness and healing are possible even if the offending person doesn’t make it right in the end.” Her mom never did, yet, the abortion victim forgave, and she was free. Because of her faith and her obedience, she was truly free.

Truth is, you really don’t need anyone else to do anything for you in order to forgive. You just need Jesus. Like the woman with the issue of blood who said to herself, "If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well" (Matthew 9:21). She had faith that just touching the hem of Jesus’ garment would be enough. She had desperate faith that it’s Jesus or nothing. Everything and everyone else had failed. Mark 5:26 tells us she “had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse.” Doctors had failed. Treatments had failed. It was Jesus or hopelessness.

It was the same for me.

Years ago, traveling alone, I pulled out the book my Christian psychiatrist recommended I work through to find truth and healing from the lingering mental bondage of my eating disorder, unnerving fits of terror that would wake me bolt upright after falling asleep at night, and panic that would overtake me in certain situations. I was desperate. I felt as though it was all connected. Tentacles of a single source. If I could identify the source, then perhaps freedom would follow. If I could make out details in the blackness of my childhood memory, maybe I would know the why of some of my struggles and be healed. If I could sort through the sick feeling that accompanied memories of one particular house, perhaps I would discover the key to my inexplicable oddities.
As I sat poised to work through a few pages of the book, heaviness hovered. It happened every time I unfolded the pages. A foreboding. Darkness. It was tangible. I felt as though I was forcing myself down an eerily endless tunnel into a nightmare. I didn’t want to go, but I didn’t know a different way. My relationship with the Lord was growing stronger, but  I still turned to the wisdom of this age and of the rulers of this age in an attempt to find immediate relief.
Pen in hand, ready to work through the next psychoanalytical, get-in-touch-with-your-inner-child exercise, the Holy Spirit whispered to my heart: “You don’t have to do this to be healed. You don’t have to remember to experience my total deliverance. This book won’t heal you. I will. If there’s something you need to know, I will reveal it to you. If not, you don’t need to seek it out.”
That moment, I closed the book, never to open it again. I believed what the Holy Spirit revealed to me in that moment, and I was free. Healed. It was instantaneous. Like the woman with the issue of blood. Thoughts of “What if?” no longer haunted me. I knew the truth, and it had set me free. Not the truth as the world defines it. Knowledge of what, if anything, might have happened to me was not the truth I needed. I just needed to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment. I needed only to believe that He alone has my answers and IS my answer.

It wasn’t necessary for the mother to make right her wrongs in order for the daughter to experience healing and freedom. It was only necessary for Jesus to heal her and enable her to forgive. Jesus died for our sins while we were yet unborn. He forgave before we were ever living beings that could seek His forgiveness. It is not necessary for me to know if something happened to me in order to live free in Christ. It is only necessary for me to know Jesus. To place my faith in Him. To receive the free gift of salvation.
In a way, we’re all born October babies. Just as Hannah was the target of a killer before she was even born, 1 Peter 5:8 warns us, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” Just as Hannah was separated from her mother the moment she left the birth canal, our sin separates us from our heavenly Father the moment we are born until we come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. Just as Hannah was adopted by loving parents, we are adopted by grace through faith into God’s family. We become His children and fellow heirs with Jesus Christ.  Just as Hannah suffered the lingering effects of the attempt on her life, we too may struggle through lingering effects of the sin nature with which we’re born. Lingering effects of the enemy’s attacks.

But Jesus.

Isaiah 53:5 foretells of Jesus, “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” First Peter 2:24 reports the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy, “who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness – by whose stripes you were healed.”
Not only that, but Isaiah 61:1-3 details the glorious benefits of having Jesus as our Savior:
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.
Our broken hearts are healed. We are freed from the things that hold us captive. Chains that bind us are broken. We are comforted when we mourn. We are given beauty for ashes. We are doused with joy even in the most tragic times. He clothes us in praise when our hearts are heavy. Our feet are planted firmly in Him. Deep roots anchoring us, unmovable. Unshakable.

Perhaps something unimaginable happened to you as a child. Or as an adult. Someone violated you. Someone rejected or abandoned you. Deep down, where only the touch of God can reach, you are hurt. Bad. Maybe you, too, have nightmares. Foreboding. Certain circumstances set off uncontrollable panic. Maybe, like me, you can’t even remember.

Do you want what Jesus offers? There is healing. You, too, can hear the words of Jesus, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well” (Matthew 9:22).

Let go. Go to God and pray. And “when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly” (Matthew 6:6). Forgive in that secret place. Place your faith in the truth of God’s word. Live free in Christ.
Lord, heal broken hearts this morning. Set free anyone bound by chains of bitterness and unforgiveness. Pour the oil of joy upon all who are hurting. Clothe them in a garment of praise. Make them well, no matter the injury. No matter how deep or extreme the offense, abuse, loss, or disappointment. You are sufficient. You are THE answer. Thank you, Lord.

Shauna Wallace
Holy His