August 17 – Don’t “Should”

Jeremiah 30-31

There is a former student of mine, the mother of four, a young woman who loves her husband and who is loved by him, yet who battles depression and the all-too-often desire to stop living. She’s not a Christian. She reads self-help books, listens to Oprah, and tries to follow the advice of friends who tell her she shouldn’t feel that way, that she should be thankful, that she should tap into her own strength and pull herself up.

But I think all those “should’s” just make it worse.

I thought about her today as I read these chapters. God is telling the Jews that they have a serious injury, an incurable wound.

There is no one to plead your cause; no healing for your sore, no recovery for you. (30:13)

God even goes a step further and tells them to  quit crying about it. Felling sorry for yourself doesn’t change a thing.

Wow, God. Thanks for the encouragement. I feel so much better now.

Read on. God gives more than just a sympathetic pat on the back.

For I will restore you to health and I will heal you of your wounds, declares the Lord. (vs 17)

The truth is we all have reason to loathe ourselves. We’ve all done things to be ashamed of, to be sorry for. But trying to fix things by our own efforts is a bit like putting a bandaid on that incurable wound. We may feel better for a time. But when we fall (and we always fall) that wound bleeds a bit more. We feel worse than before, more useless, more of a failure than before.

God wants us to know that we don’t have to manufacture a feeling of healing. HE IS THE HEALER. We don’t have to pull ourselves out of the pit. He died, went into that pit Himself, so we wouldn’t have to live there. He rose again so that we could be born again ourselves, be free from the power of sin, and know the joy that comes from having our sins forgiven.

I think the only “should” we should listen to is the one that tells us we should go to the Father, repent of our sins, and let Him heal us. There is a sense of relief in that “should.”

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