One morning I was power walking along the beach. I had lots of company because the seagulls had just rewarded the beach lovers with a full litter of new baby seagulls. With watchful eyes, the adults stood guard over the entire area in protection of their new additions.
I noticed that one of the adults was limping and having a tough time walking on his tooth-pick sized legs. I imagined he might even be one of the parents who incubated the eggs. Suddenly, he lifted his wings, and off he flew into the distance.
I watched him as he circled in flight and then returned, landing a few feet from the group. Even though he may have been in pain, he seemed to know he had a responsibility to be on the ground to find food (earthworms) and fulfill his role to help the other adult seagulls protect the chicks.
When we experience pain, most of us seek immediate relief. This relief takes many forms: alcohol, drugs, sex, food, analgesics, and physical or mental intervention. The variety of pain-numbing anesthetics is endless.
Physicians frequently prescribe medications to relieve pain but that also have dangerous side effects or lead to addiction. Cannabis storefronts are flourishing and have become the pain reliever of choice in several situations.
Finding an effective solution to chronic pain begins with identifying the cause(s). Some are more obvious than others, especially those caused by mental anguish.
As for the physical disorders, there are so many it would take more than one medical journal to list them. It might be insightful to examine a few of the inner factors which experts theorize may contribute to certain unhealthy physical conditions.
Physical and/or Chemical Imbalance:
Depression, Stress and Fear:
Bitterness and Unforgiveness:
When you live with chronic pain, physical or mental, you may be tempted to lose hope, throw in the towel, and give up. You can keep feeding that pain by artificial means, or you can try to run away by substituting one unhealthy situation or experience for another. None of us can avoid the dreariness or downpour of rain that sometimes pushes its way into our journey. But no matter how much rain comes, our hope in God assures us that the sun will shine again.
It is vital to your existence that you get on the road that leads to peace and a future filled with hope. When a war is ended, there is peace. It is time to end the war. I agree that there is a boatload of darkness in today’s world. But there is no drug, no aphrodisiac, no person or no medication that can faithfully guarantee you long-term hope and peace.
There is one sure-fire way to end the war without firing a shot. Put your faith in God. God created the entire universe. His grace and love cover this entire planet and beyond infinity. His plans for us surpass anything we seek or desire. (Isaiah 55:9; Romans 8:28) If you make God your hope, you will find inner strength to lessen or overcome your pain and rejoice in His plans for your future.
“Be not conformed to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2)
I had just returned home from church one Sunday, and I was on a spiritual cloud. I felt renewed in my faith and inspired by the message spoken from the pulpit.
As I was getting out of my car, I heard voices speaking in elevated tones. They were slashing each other with verbal weapons, which included name-calling and lots of curse words. I hurried to get inside my house to avoid being touched by their words. Unfortunately, it was too late to completely shield my heart. My tender thoughts of faith had been temporarily interrupted by a feeling similar to being in a rear-end car collision.
It took me a few minutes to emotionally recover from this scenario as I reminded myself that words are filled with power. In fact, they are one of the most powerful forces on earth.
Words are used to express feelings, communicate information, or render a verdict or judgment. Once a word has left the speaker, it’s as irreversible as trying to return squeezed toothpaste back into its tube. Words can shine a light to illuminate truth, or they can ignite a roaring fire of darkness with a lie.
Armed with the realization of the power in words, imagine the effect of using words to complain or continuously express dissatisfaction. Those complaints become brutally annoying, like the sound of a leaky faucet.
A few examples might be grumbling over a physical or medical ailment, expressing dissatisfaction over the government or its policies, murmuring about your job, or worse, moaning about a specific person. Complaining fills the air with negativity and has the sting of broken glass, wherever it lands.
Throughout biblical history, continual murmuring or complaining often ended with dark and dramatic consequences—death, plague, or abandonment. In today’s world, the consequence of repeated complaining divides, causes strife, and can trigger unintended evil. Even death has occurred in several instances.
My yoga instructor mentioned complaints as “un-prayers.” I found that a brilliant description of a complaint. Using the examples I mentioned earlier, I wanted to see how we might avoid an un-prayer.
Life truly is a journey and an expression of God’s gift of grace. Un-prayers will short circuit that gift. Whenever your prayers become un-prayers, you lose your peace, your joy, and your opportunity to experience the miracle of God’s power. Keep your prayers -- eliminate the un-prayers.
“Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” (Proverbs 16:24)
We should always view children as gifts of Divine favor. Father and mother are equally important to a child’s mental and physical development. Our children watch what we say and do, not just to them only but also to others.
During their formative years, children learn whether or not they can trust what their parents say. Each action by a parent creates a reaction in a child’s conscience and attitude. I learned early in my lessons on parenting that children have great expectations from parents. In addition to unconditional love and guidance, our young people expect us to provide everything they need and want.
One of the primary lessons parents should master, is to refrain from making promises they do not intend to or may be unable to keep. Children are vulnerable and easily disappointed by broken promises. Memories of unkept promises can remain like a scar from chickenpox and hang around like unresolved memory dents. A broken promise is a broken vow.
As an adult, I have experienced many disappointments. Although I vaguely remember some of them, I don’t carry them with me like a backpack or an extra piece of luggage. Yet, they do serve as a reminder that I have a ‘go-to’ I can always count on who will never break a promise.
For just a moment, let’s talk about the nature of a promise. First, a promise is a declaration/pledge that a person will or won’t do something. Next, a promise is an expectation of gaining something positive or better. However, some promises include negative consequences.
It is hard to imagine anything that could guarantee no broken promises during our life journey. But if you are willing to treat your soul and spirit to adventure, it would be exciting to learn about a few unbreakable promises.
In our current environment, we face an onslaught of broken promises. Many of the things in which we invested time, energy, and money are like a bowl of fruit-flavored gelatin or pudding. They are shaky, have a weak foundation, and give little return. Unkept promises can bring about an unhealthy situation and weaken the core of any relationship. Broken promises are worthless.
Unlike monetary or human endowments, God's promises are a solid and validated investment. They never fail, and there is always a return. In fact, they come with an eternal guarantee of “Yes and Amen.”
(2 Corinthians 1:20).
In this unfolding new year, before making resolutions that you won’t or can’t keep, consider learning more about the promises of God with confidence that He will never break His promise. It is impossible for Him to lie. (Hebrews 6:18)