On Two Deer, Personal Conflict and God’s Word

Driving home from church in the dark one evening I came upon 2 deer in the road. In the rural stretch of road I drive, this alone is not that unusual; in fact I was prepared for it. I was driving cautiously with my high beams on and attentively watching the road when I came over a rise and saw them. I came to a stop as 2 big bucks stood head to head pounding each other with their antlers. There heads were low and moving side to side as their bodies were each braced by their hind legs firmly planted on the pavement. They were so focused on their conflict (and impressing their lady friends that were surely hanging around somewhere) that I thought they must have been oblivious to everything else around them. It was magnificent! These two beautiful creatures with impressive racks seemed so engrossed in their battle (and perhaps tangled in each other’s antlers) that I hoped they didn’t notice me. However, as I scrambled to pull out my phone to capture the incredible moment they both stopped and stared directly into my headlights. I guess the lights and sounds of my vehicle were too much for them and they disengaged and both headed into the field on opposite sides of the road.

For the rest of my ride I was just overcome by a feeling of awe as I considered how cool (and rare – at least in my experience) that brief encounter was. As I continued to contemplate what I had seen, I began to sense a parallel to the reality of our everyday lives. Much like those two deer, we often find ourselves engaged in conflict of some kind. We feel trapped or entangled by some circumstance. Perhaps we experience conflict in a relationship. Whatever it is, we generally recognize that conflict is a part of life.

However, much like those 2 deer who disengaged their conflict because of my lights, often the solution to our conflict lies in the light. I don’t mean someone’s high beams or even actual light. I’m talking about the light of God’s Word. Many scriptures such as Psalm 119:105 refer to God’s Word as a light because it has the ability to illuminate our situation in a unique and special way – a divine way. We may feel trapped or overwhelmed by conflict, but if we take the time to look into God’s Word and apply it to our circumstance we might just find the conflict resolved as quickly as it began. I encourage you today to begin the important and rewarding practice of searching the scripture and applying it to the everyday situations you face throughout your life. It might not fix everything, but I can assure you it will begin the process of healing and peace that God desires for you.

 

Photo by Brian Stansberry – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30389408

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The God of All Comfort

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My wife’s sisters were visiting recently and they each have a baby that came with them. It was a lot of fun seeing our kids play with their baby cousins as they don’t get to do that very often. While all of the kids seemed to have a great time, their visit really seemed to draw out the compassionate side of my seven year old son.

I was on the couch one night and one of the babies was in the floor crying. Now, standard operating procedure for me around a crying baby – particularly one that doesn’t belong to me – is to wait it out as long as possible until the mom comes and takes over. This, however, was not an acceptable solution for my son who decided to help. He has this very special blanket that we all call buggus. It used to be bug blanky, but now it’s just buggus. He’s had it since he was a year old and he loves it. And when that baby cried, he did the most caring, selfless thing that anyone could do. He lay down on the floor with the baby and wrapped his blanket around him and just comforted him until he calmed down.

It was such a sweet thing to see and in that moment I was extremely proud of my son for being so sensitive and compassionate. Later, as I thought about it, I realized that it was really the perfect picture of what God does for us.

In 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 we are told that God is “…the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction…” The Greek word for comfort here is paraklesis and it literally means “a calling to one’s side.” It is giving strength and encouragement while alleviating grief. That is comfort and that is what most of us are looking for. We just look in the wrong places. We look to relationships and self-gratification and all kinds of other selfish means.

But we should be looking to Jesus for the comfort we need. Jesus is calling you to his side. He loves you. He cares for you. He is waiting to come alongside your mess and help you and encourage you. That’s the God we serve. A God of comfort. A God who, like my compassionate son, crawls down into our problem with us and wraps the blanket of his love around us to provide strength and encouragement and relieve suffering.

If this kind of comfort sounds appealing to you, I want to encourage you to stop trying to chase it down on your own and simply rely on God for the comfort you need. He may not remove the difficulty or the cause of suffering, but I can promise that He will deliver you from the hopelessness that comes with trying to face it alone.