Posted: 6/9/17 at 8:00am. Column by Ed Jordan.
Building our lives is a life-long endeavor. We try to obtain a good livelihood, perhaps buy a home, and then prepare for retirement. Some dream of becoming a professional athlete, or a doctor, or a lawyer. We hope to graduate from high school, then perhaps graduate from college, get a job we really love, and build a family along the way.
But at any time during this lifelong building process, something can happen that knocks down the building blocks of our life, and perhaps scatters our dreams and plans. Perhaps a potential star athlete encounters a career-ending injury. Maybe we don’t experience academic success, or that dream career turns out be more like a nightmare. People who spend years building an idyllic family can suddenly find it ruptured by divorce, or the unforeseen death of a loved one. In any of these scenarios, one feels decimated. Dreams seem destroyed, and the drive to move forward is hobbled.
So when our life suddenly seems to come tumbling down, what can we do? The first thing we must do is to assess the damage done, and understand the repair required. As a Christian, we seek God for wisdom and guidance in how to proceed. We ask God to heal our wounds, and not let the setbacks totally debilitate us. Then by the grace of God, we take one step at a time toward rehabilitating and rebuilding our lives.
Injuries come to us on many levels, from many sources, and to differing degrees. Some are just momentary setbacks, some are major trauma. Severe physical damage can mean restructuring our lives and plans. Healing and rebuilding takes time, and if the damage is too severe, adjustments must be made to learn new ways to do things. Our bodies are amazingly adaptive, if our will and spirit do not give up.
Severe physical injuries take time, strategy, God’s grace, rebuilding, and practice, in order to be able to function well again. But we don’t just suffer physical injuries; we all suffer emotional injuries as well. We get hurts and scars in life, and the process for emotional healing is similar to healing from a physical injury.
There is a need to assess what damage has been done, and then make a plan for how to heal and recover from our pain. With God’s assistance, a good support system, and some practical guidance, the recovery and rebuilding of damaged emotions is possible.
Our spiritual lives can also be damaged, perhaps throwing us into anger towards God, or the church. We feel hurt and maybe even desire to jettison God and faith from our lives. This is an understandable human reaction, but it’s not the way to rebuild spiritual life. This is when we need God the most, for only He can give us the strength, guidance, and motivation to rebuild our spirits and restore our damaged faith.
Approximately 580 years before Christ, Jerusalem had been conquered and sacked, and the people had been taken captive into Babylon. The people’s dreams were crushed, their homes destroyed, and they were living as captives in a foreign country. It seemed that their entire lives had been totally decimated, never to be rebuilt again.
But after almost 70 years into the captivity God spoke to Israel through Jeremiah, saying that their lives would be rebuilt. In Jeremiah 30:18–19 (The Message), we read: “Again, God’s Message: “‘I’ll turn things around for Jacob. I’ll compassionately come in and rebuild homes. The town will be rebuilt on its old foundations; the mansions will be splendid again. Thanksgivings will pour out of the windows; laughter will spill through the doors. Things will get better and better. Depression days are over. They’ll thrive, they’ll flourish. The days of contempt will be over.”
When your life seems rocked to its foundations, seek God, receive His diagnosis and instructions, and then cooperate with Him as He rebuilds your life, dreams, capabilities, attitudes, and hope. Begin the process by thanksgiving and letting joy and laughter be heard flowing out of the windows of your life.