New tools

You aren’t crazy, and you aren’t broken. Everything that you’re feeling is normal. The problem is that you’ve spent so much of your life running away from your feelings and using the wrong tools to handle them. This is part of living in this society. You were taught this. It is time to learn something else. It is time to get a new set of tools and learn how to use them.

Maybe you have used the tool of yelling at other people and blaming them for your problems. Perhaps you use the tool of drinking yourself to oblivion or working so hard that you don’t have time to think about what’s going on. One day you might finally realize that these tools don’t fix the problem. These tools may even make it worse by allowing it to grow and fester.

But first you have to relearn what the problem is in order to fix it.

Anxiety and anger and depression are not diseases. They are symptoms of unresolved trauma. They are a sign that something is broken and needs to be healed. Treating them is using a tool on the wrong part. They are what is broken. They are a sign that something is broken.

A lot of us have a hard time admitting that we have suffered from trauma or grief. But trauma and grief take many forms. Any loss can result in grief. Moving to a new town, leaving your old job, or going through divorce can result in grief. Grief doesn’t have to be the death of someone close to you. It can also be the end of something, some event or time in your life. Transitioning from high school to college or college to the adult world can result in grief. It is any change that we are not prepared for.

Trauma does not have to be as big as a car accident or being assaulted. Trauma can be any invasion of your personal space and safety that makes you feel threatened.

Just being aware of instances of trauma or violation in your life is the beginning of healing. You can’t fix it if you don’t know it is broken.

Refugee crisis

There’s this huge refugee crisis going on in Europe. People from Syria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan (among other countries) are escaping war and crushing poverty any way they can – often by foot or by overcrowded boat. Some are landing in Greece, up to 30 boats a day, having walked through Turkey. The countries they are coming to aren’t prepared and are reacting by putting up borders or posting guards. If there are refugee camps, they are sad states, with tents and no running water and one toilet for every 100 people.

The refugees are complaining, saying that they thought things would be better in Europe. They are saying that dogs live better than this. They are saying it is inhumane. They are complaining to any country that will listen.

Yet what can be done? The people have no money and no jobs. They aren’t legally immigrating. They have no passports or visas. Then they are expecting to be fed and housed for free, indefinitely. Countries such as Greece already have austerity measures for their own citizens – they don’t have extra for these people they didn’t expect.

Let’s think of it this way – If a hundred people show up at your doorstep and insist on coming in your house, but don’t have any money to buy their own food or any extra clothes, do you take them in? How long do they get to stay? If your house is big and you have a lot of extra money, this won’t hurt you much. But what if you are just making it as is? You don’t suddenly have more money because you have more people staying at your house. There will be less to go around. You didn’t invite these people, yet they are ungrateful that they are getting gruel to eat and have to share beds or sleep on the floor. They are complaining to the mayor and the governor.

Jesus says that we are to welcome the stranger. Jesus says that we are to feed the hungry, house the homeless, and clothe the naked. Jesus tells us that he is not of the world, and that we, as his followers will have otherworldly abilities through him. We are to do these things not out of our excess, but out of God’s excess.

Yet this all sounds like a fairy tale.

Jesus made food appear out of thin air. He fed 5000 people at one occasion, and 4000 people at another, with just a few loaves of bread and some fish. He wasn’t prepared – he didn’t even provide the fish or the bread. He used what was there and it became enough. We are supposed to follow his example, but it seems something has gotten lost in the translation. Over these 2000 years, we’ve not learned the trick of how to do this. We don’t know how to make food stretch and expand. We can’t heal by a touch or a word like he could either.

But maybe that is the problem. Maybe we can if we stop saying we can’t. Maybe we can if we stop getting upset that the church leaders didn’t teach us anything useful and kept it to themselves, and then forgot it because they kept the secret so well. They were so concerned about the secret getting out that they hid it even from themselves. Maybe there isn’t a secret. Maybe it is all about trusting.

Meanwhile, people are showing up. Last report I read said that 340,000 refugees had escaped their countries just this year. This is similar to the great exodus that happened in WW2. And Europe is finally coming to understand what America has been dealing with (or not dealing with) for years.

Jesus prays for himself, his disciples, and all believers

Jesus prays for himself

After saying this, Jesus cast his eyes up to heaven and said,

“Father, the time has now come. Give glory to Your Son so he may glorify You, because You gave him authority over everyone, in order that he may grant eternal life to everyone You have given to him.

Eternal life is this: that they may know You, the One True God, as well as Jesus, the One You have sent. I have given glory to You here on earth by finishing all the work You sent me to do. Now, Father, give me glory in Your presence, the same glory that I had with You before the world began.”

JN 17:1-5

Jesus prays for his disciples

“I have declared Your name to the people You sent to me from the world. They belonged to You and You gave them to me. They have honored Your word by keeping it. Now they know that everything You have given me is from You, because I have given them the same words that You gave me. They have accepted Your words and truly know that I have come from You. They believe that You are the One who sent me.

I’m only praying for them. I’m not praying for everyone, just those who You have sent to me, because they belong to You. Everything I have belongs to You, and everything You have is mine, and I have been glorified through them.

I am no longer part of the world, but they are. Since I am returning to You, please shelter them in the name that You have given me, so they may be united just as we are united. I protected them in Your name that You gave me while I was with them. I protected them and didn’t lose a single one of them, except for the one who was destined to be lost, in accordance with the Scriptures.

I’m now coming to You, and I’m saying these things here in the world so they may experience the fulfillment of my joy. I have spoken Your message to them. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world, so the world hates them. I am not asking for You to remove them from here, but to protect them from the Devil. Set them apart for holy work by your message of truth. I’m sending them out into the world in the same way You sent me into the world. I have sanctified myself for them so that the truth may sanctify them.”

JN 17:6-19

Jesus prays for all believers

“I’m also praying for everyone who believes in me because of their message. Just as You and I are one, may they all be one. May they be united with us so that the world may know that You sent me. I have glorified them with the same glory that You have given me. You have loved them in the same way that You love me.

Father, I ask that everyone You have given to me to be present with me where I am. Then they will see the glory that You gave me because You loved me before the world began.
Righteous Father! The world does not know you. But I do, and these disciples know that You are the One who sent me. I’ve revealed Your name to them and will continue to reveal it so that the same love that You have given me will be in them and that I may be in them.”

JN 17:20-26

Jesus the victor

“I have told you all these things in figures of speech. Soon I won’t speak to you indirectly like I have been doing. Then I will speak openly about the Father. Then you will pray in my name. I’m not saying that I will petition God for you. God loves you on his own, because you love me and believe that I was sent from God. I came from God and entered into the world. Now I am leaving the world and going back to God.”

His disciples said “Now you are making sense! Now we know that everything has been revealed to you and nobody has to question you. Because of this we know that God has sent you.”

Jesus answered “Now you believe? Look, the time is fast approaching when each of you will run away from me, each to your own home. In spite of that, I won’t be alone because the Father is always with me. I’ve said this so you may have peace through me. You will suffer in this world, but don’t be afraid! I have overcome the world.”

JN 16:25-33

Sorrow turned to joy

“Soon you won’t see me, but shortly after that you’ll see me again, because I am returning to the Father.”

Some of the disciples started saying to each other, “What does he mean when he says ‘Soon you won’t see me, but shortly after that you’ll see me again,’ and ‘because I am returning to the Father.’?” They also said “What does he mean by “Soon”?

Jesus knew they had questions for him, so he said “Are you asking each other about my words ‘Soon you won’t see me, but shortly after that you’ll see me again’?

Trust my words – you’ll be overcome with grief but the world will celebrate. You will be sorrowful but your sorrow will transform into joy. A pregnant woman is in pain when she is in labor, but she forgets about it after she gives birth because she is overjoyed that a new person has been born. In the same way, you are sad now, but your hearts will be filled with joy when you see me again and nobody can steal your joy from you. Then you won’t ask me any questions.

Truly, the Father will give you anything you ask for in my name. You’ve not asked for anything in my name up to now. Ask and you will get what you ask for so that you will be filled with joy.”

JN 16:16-24

The Counselor’s ministry

“Now I am returning to the One who sent me here, and none of you asks me where I’m going? Yet you are all very sad because I’ve told you all of this. In spite of that, I’m telling you the truth. It will benefit you if I leave because then the Counselor can come to you – I’ll send the Holy Spirit to you when I leave. The Holy Spirit will declare the world’s guilt about sin, and teach it about righteousness and judgment. The world is guilty of sin because they don’t believe in me. It will teach about righteousness because you’ll no longer see me because I’m returning to the Father. Judgment will be taught because the ruler of this world – the Devil – has been judged.

There are yet more things I have to tell you but they are too much for you to handle now. The Spirit will help you to know all truth when it comes to you. The Spirit does not speak on its own – it only says what the Father reveals. The Spirit will also reveal future events to you.

The Spirit will glorify me by showing you who I am – and everything I am is from the Father. The Spirit will show you just a part of that glory by taking it from me.”

JN 16:5-15

Coming testimony and rejection

“The Counselor is the Spirit of truth which travels ahead of the Father. I will send it to you from him. When it comes, it will testify about me. You too will testify because you have been with me from the start. I’ve said all of this to prevent you from going astray. You’ll be banned from synagogues. Worse, people will kill you, thinking they are honoring God. They’ll do all of this because they don’t know me or my Father. But I’ve said all this so when it happens you’ll remember I told you. I didn’t tell you this at the start because we were together.”

JN 15:26-JN 16:4