Is God mean?

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Physical Pain – The Ultimate Distraction from Emotional Healing

Revised September 16, 2015

It’s 3:29 am as I lie in a bed in an emergency room, unable to sleep, waiting for a hospital room to be made available. After crawling out of my house to a gurney, with the help of an EMS crew, I am finally enjoying some comfort after excruciating back pain.

My journey with this medical crisis began about four weeks ago, about the time I resumed praying for churches on Gramazin. Over the past month, walking has been difficult and sitting pretty much impossible. When I turned the wrong way today, my back and leg transformed into a four-alarm fire.

I have known divorce. I have known grief. I have known financial crisis. I have known depression. These adversities have been intense and have made life seem unlivable at times.

However, intense and unending physical pain truly is different.

It reminds me of Job. Satan “enticed” God (NIV) to give Job hardship of unimaginable proportions. However, a line was drawn – don’t touch his health! I believe this is because God knew that physical pain can challenge a person’s spiritual well-being unlike anything else.

Satan wanted that ultimate test of Job’s character. God, confident Job would pass the test, agreed. Job was then inflicted with sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head.

Think about it. Job most likely couldn’t put on shoes or walk. He most likely couldn’t sit or lie down. In other words, his ability to go about his daily affairs and his ability to rest were both taken away from him.

His misery was 60 minutes an hour for 24 hours a day. He was so miserable he began to cut himself, using broken shards of clay. It is in that misery that Job begins to dialog with his friends about suffering.

Jesus’ miracles seem to have a common theme. He heals people of a physical ailment, such as blindness or bleeding, that has left the person exhausted, unable to function emotionally or spiritually. Jesus frees them of the physical distractions that hijack their thoughts and feelings.

I am a veteran of emotional heartache. Therefore, you should not consider my words insensitive to those who are experiencing adversity that is not medically related. However, such people do get the chance to sleep, sit, and walk pain free. Such physical relaxation has emotionally restorative benefits. Get a good nights sleep or go for a walk in the woods to clear your mind, you are stronger for your emotional battles.

However, what if you can’t do anything but lie motionless on the floor because of the intensity of your physical pain? You will find it next to impossible to have articulate thoughts about hope, courage, and recovery because you just want pain relief!

I share this to say to my friends in physical pain I understand how it can drain you of the emotional stamina you need to battle your other problems in life. It is so important that leaders in churches understand that physical pain must be reduced to something manageable so that the person can be ministered to in their other issues in life.

Next time someone you know is experiencing unending intolerable physical pain, be compassionate and help them find healing. You will be helping them strengthen to then do battle with their other problems.

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God’s refrigerator door

It’s precious to you! Adorable!

A white piece of paper with red, green, purple, and brown crayon scribble all over it.

“Honey, what is it?” you ask, actually with no idea of what it is at all.

“A cow? Oh, that’s a beautiful cow. Mommy will put it up on the refrigerator! I love it!”

You decorated your house with great care. The walls are painted with perfect hues and tints. The fabric of the sofa perfectly matches the curtains on the windows. You have expensive art hanging on the walls. You have carefully purchased just the right knick-knacks that create a statement of sophistication and beauty.

However, hanging on your refrigerator is the most priceless work of art in your home. You would gladly give up everything that makes your home a candidate to be featured in Better Homes and Gardens if that was the price to pay to keep the “ugly artwork” hanging by a magnet. The artist was none other than your own flesh and blood, the cutest child in the world – your son or daughter.

Many of us struggle with perfectionism. We believe we have to do and say things just right. We look at others and believe their work is superior to ours. We expect our work wouldn’t be nominated for honorable mention while the other person’s work wins first prize.

We take that same perspective into our relationship with God. Certainly, we reason, God wants ONLY excellence. Anything less He will reject. We believe God’s house is like a museum with artwork from only the best, artists like Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, and Auguste Rodin. We believe He only listens to the music of geniuses, like George Handel, Johann Sebastian Bach, or Ludwig Beethoven. We believe our lives are so messed up that God would put the canvas of our lives in His shed, behind all of His garden tools.

However, that is not who God is. He is the God who delights in His children! With all of our imperfections! With all of our stains! With all of our scribble that fails to paint a beautiful picture. He takes our lives and puts them on His refrigerator. He’s the proud pappa! “That’s my boy! That’s my girl!”

It’s not what we accomplish that God delights in. It’s that we are His children. Period.

As a child trusting in your eternal Father, You want to give Him a picture. You strive to please Him. You want to give Him the gift of a drawing, a drawing that will have many imperfections. He loves it! Because you are you. Just the way you are. Your life doesn’t need big accomplishments to hang your work on God’s refrigerator door. You just need to be His child, an opportunity available to anyone willing to humble themselves before Him.

Take your former life of addiction. Incarceration. Whatever has been your struggle. Try and turn it into something that pleases God and loves others in need. It’s not the results that count. That’s God’s work anyway. What counts to Him is your desire to give Him the precious gift of your attempts to serve and honor Him simply because You love Him.

He will love it!

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The Adversity Bus

Don’t get off the adversity bus until you have arrived at a destination where you have a strong character!


Archived Website

This is an archived website. Visit for our newest website. We maintain this older website because we believe content on here is still relevant to people in crisis.