“My spirit is still heaven-bound. My body will recover. My soul, on the other hand, is in crisis.”
I wrote this in my journal about a week ago after experiencing one of the worst trials of my life. Pain, loss, and confusion consumed me and continues to try to penetrate my heart as I fight my way back to peace. I’m constantly hearing people say, “Don’t give up” or “Keep the faith” and it finally occurred to me a few days ago that I never intended on giving up or losing faith. That wasn’t my issue.
Lately, I’ve begun to realize that for most of us who are believers, there really isn’t such a thing as a “crisis of faith.” Inherent to true faith is the fact that it doesn’t go away even in the hardest of times. So to say that one is having a crisis of faith is a misnomer at best. The reality is…the soul, which houses our mind, will, and emotions (some call this the ‘heart’), is where the conflict usually lies. We don’t really reject God. We might be angry with Him. We might not understand Him. We may not even want to talk to Him. But the very fact that we respond to Him when we are troubled in this way, shows that we still believe that He exists and is active in our lives. It is still a show of faith. A mustard seed version, but faith nonetheless. Even the physical manifestation of our tribulations…whether it is sickness or loss…is exactly that-physical; a natural response to some kind of internal or external stimuli and therefore can be rationalized as part of the process because quite frankly, we can SEE it!
But the soul? That’s so much trickier. Our minds, our will, and our emotions often are the first place of attack when we are, what I like to call, being broken for better by God.
Think about it. Our minds twist and turn with imaginations, our will fights against anything that will force its surrender, and our emotions are scattered and unpredictable. These three parts of our soul, when hit with inexplicable pain, also have a tendency to turn on each other. Our emotions and will begin to toy with our minds making us think we are going crazy. Our will, finally realizing that it is clearly not in control of much, finally decides to surrender. Only it’s not to God. Our will gives in to the other confused parts of the soul and so we find ourselves unable to resist the deception of our emotions or the finite rationalizations of our mind and we end up willingly acting out in ways that we never thought that we would. How many of us have said, “I don’t care. I’m just going to do X,Y, or Z!” only to realize later that it was the pain talking? I have. And not only does that create more confusion, it also causes a trickle-down effect because now not only is my soul a mess, my spirit is out of alignment with God.
Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flows the springs of life. – Prov. 4:23 AMP
Yes, most of life’s issues lie in the chaotic crisis’ of the soul where we are being broken by God in order to be better and stronger. So what is the solution? How do you deal with it?
Well the “church” answer is…Trust God. Allow Christ’s love and peace to reign not just in your spirit but in your soul. Don’t be deceived by the confusion created by the conflict that exists in the three parts of the soul (mind, will, and emotions) as they compete for prominence and rule in your trial or situation.
Yep, that’s the “church” answer. But as absolutely RIGHT this is, church answers disturb me because they are often rote and practiced clichés spun flippantly from the lips of those who haven’t taken the time to hear and/or discern the pains of your broken heart. When you hear the church answer, you just want to just roll your eyes and say, “Okay. I know that. But what does that have to do with me…right now.” Am I right?
So here is my heart answer, fresh from my own hurts and my own search for a soul restoration.
Be still. Be still enough to hear the difference between your own inner dialogue, the conversations of your confused and hurt soul, and that of the pure and loving voice of God. Pain is like static interference between the voice of God and the voice of our own flesh. It makes hearing Him quite difficult and receiving the direction needed to heal nearly impossible. So stop everything. Quiet yourself. And listen. Tears may flow as the pain passes but as soon as it does…clarity will come. I pray it so.