My stomach was in knots.
I busied myself with morning chores awaiting the phone call. I just had a feeling that it was going to be painful. Though the sun shone outside, my spirit felt a storm coming. And it did.
I answered the call, and after our niceties she gave me the “word from the Lord” she had for me. It was exactly as I had feared. I had feared that something I was working toward would be an idol. According to my friend, the sin of idolatry had caught up to me despite my very best efforts to keep God first.
I got off the phone and wailed. On my knees I repented and cried and ask for forgiveness, but the dark cloud of judgment hung over me. Oppressive. Thick.
All day it overshadowed my spirit. I knew in my spirit that this was not right. I had repented. I had cried out to God. Why would this feeling of shame not go away? “What is it, God? Show me! Please!” I begged.
As quickly as the petition left my lips a memory flashed in my mind. I was twenty-two debating religion one last time with my dad. That night, he won. I decided to believe him over Holy Spirit inside me. I relinquished my faith and threw in the towel. I spent a year in the dark, searching for anything to fill the abscess in my heart before I finally came back to the truth of the Bible and my faith in Jesus.
God whispered, “Your idolatry is in other people. You trust them over Me. Never doubt what you know I’ve placed in you.”
The dark cloud lifted, and I think that I might have grown wings. I was free.
I learned something very important that day. I learned that God’s conviction brings healing. And if a heavy oppression or shame and guilt weigh us down, it’s not from the Lord. That’s not to say that He can’t use it, and He does often use that pain to bring us break-through.God's conviction brings healing. Shame, oppression, and guilt are not from the Lord. Click To Tweet
“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” ~Psalm 34:18
In Psalm 34:18 above, the word “saves” has been translated from a Hebrew root word that can mean open wide or free.
That night years ago, as I wrestled with God asking Him to show me why I was struggling, He freed me. I believe He allowed my friend to give me that word so that He could get to the real root of my sin. Once that was taken care of, I had reached a new place of growth. He had never left my side that day as I moped around crushed in spirit and brokenhearted. He was simply waiting for me to ask.
Sometimes God let’s us experience a crushing blow so that He can completely heal the wound or the worry or the sin that we’ve been carrying around too long. John Eldredge explains:
The lessons that have been laid down in pain can be accessed only in pain. Christ must open the wound, not just bandage it over. Sometimes he’ll take us there by having an event repeat itself years later, only with new characters in the current situation. We find ourselves overlooked for a job, just as we were overlooked by our parents. Or we experience fear again, just as we felt those lonely nights in our room upstairs. These are all invitations to go with him into the deep waters of the heart, uncover the lies buried down there, and bring us in the truth that will set us free. Don’t just bury it quickly; ask God what he is wanting to speak to you. (The Walking Dead, 122)
Fear, oppression, and sadness are invitations, my friends. Jesus came to give us abundant life . . . He came to set us free. He is near.
Go with Him.
I promise, His revelations and convictions bring joy and wings to fly.
Have you experienced a “word from the Lord” from a well meaning friend that caused pain rather than freedom? What did you do or will you do now? Leave a comment.
Jesus loves you,