“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your Presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.” Psalm 139:7-8.
Recently I was blindsided with some unjust criticism. Hurting words spoken in anger. Although I was part of a group and not singled out, I took it personally. Words can cut deeply, especially when spoken in anger. They can adversely color our day or week or longer and send our thoughts to places of negativity, places no one wants to go. I knew the speaker couldn’t know how my education and my life experiences helped me make the decisions I did, and he couldn’t know what God wanted me to do in this situation. Nor could I know the same for him.
But what could I do with such words? I felt that to confront the speaker would have been disastrous, so I let those words simmer. That was worse! I prayed, begging God for relief from the pain I felt, for wisdom, and for a new heart that wouldn’t be offended. I forgave. I rebuked demons. I wanted a quick fix.
God’s answer? He sent me to my flower garden which had been invaded by weeds. So I hoed, but after a few days, hidden roots sprouted. Didn’t I have some deep roots of my own? Hidden pain?
It seems to me that hurting people hurt people, and that our perspective on life is flavored by how we’ve lived it. Surely others have open wounds from old hurts, wounds with deep roots, just as I have. As David reminds us, God is right there in the midst of our darkness and pain. He knows our frame. And He surrounds us with His love.
So what were the words that healed me? They came in a moment of praise. I sang. Completely giving my heart at that moment to the only One who could help me, did help me. Words that the enemy of our soul can’t stand to hear. Praise, worship, thanksgiving and love – words that heal. It wasn’t a quick fix, but it sure helped dig up some roots.
Have you been offended by someone’s words? Or are you facing another challenge of the heart that just isn’t responding to your quick fix? Get out your hoe and sing!
By Reenie Rickard