Memories can be a wonderful place to visit when they are pleasant and filled with peace and joy. On the other hand, not all of our experiences have been good and can be more like a haunted house on a dark and stormy night. We all have our collections of thoughts and our own task of trying to figure out a way to deal with them.
As most of us know, there are positive ways and negative ways to handle our past experiences. We can look around and see that many people are not doing such a good job when it comes to emotional management. The Lord wants us to give our problems to him and allow him to bring true healing as his way is always the best way.
Some will say, "You have not walked in my shoes," and this is very true. However, this does not mean the light of God's love cannot bring you comfort, forgiveness and happiness. His promises are true and cannot fail, which to say the least is a tremendous offer to consider. His love, mercy and hope are available to anyone who has the faith to believe that he can transform our disappointments and stumbling blocks into victorious stepping stones.
In Psalm 57, we read where David is in great danger and is hiding in a cave to escape the wrath of Saul. However, even in this dark hour, we notice in Verse 1 he is singing God's praises, "Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until this difficulty and burden has passed." There are many different types of trials and sorrows, but God's arms are always open to those who trust him.
Maybe you were the one who was always picked last for games in gym class or in the neighborhood. Maybe someone spread a hurtful rumor about you that caused you much pain and distress. There are many individuals who for whatever reason have a nonexistent relationship with parents or children, which is very painful. Some have been betrayed by a person they loved very dearly and are deeply wounded in the depths of their heart. Have you ever felt forgotten, rejected, alone and unwanted?
Sometimes discouragement punches you in the gut and then slowly dissipates, and then there are times when the voices that tell you no one cares seem to hang over your head for weeks or months on end. Whatever the situation, even if you have made huge mistakes and hurt others, God wants you to know today that he cares about you more than you can imagine. Since you were in the womb, he has never taken his eyes off you. He knows every thought, seen every tear and wants a personal relationship with you more than anything.
I remember years ago watching a family member make fun of his nephew who was just a kid. At birthday parties, family dinners, cookouts or whatever, the attacks were meant to be a joke for everyone's entertainment and laughter — everyone except that young boy. The boy grew up and now does not call or come around at all. I wonder why.
I also heard a testimony one time from a young woman who shared about her painful childhood experiences with an uncle. He would always tease her for being so skinny and say derogatory comments about her body. Sadly, these rude and tawdry remarks are the only words she can ever remember him saying to her. I'm sure it never crossed his mind how this made a self-conscious adolescent girl feel. She went on to say this definitely had a negative impact on her self-esteem and, later in life when he passed away, she felt distant and numb as he seemed like a total stranger.
Within our disappointments we can know that he will never hurt or abandon us and nothing can prevent his love from healing our mind and soul."No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord," Romans 8:37-38.
Dr. William F. Holland Jr. is a minister in Nicholasville, Kentucky. Read more at billyhollandministries.com.