For Wounded Warriors
January 8, 2013
Lately I've been winning battles left and right,
But even warriors can get wounded in the fight.
People say that I'm amazing, strong beyond my years,
But they don't see inside of me: I'm hiding all the tears
Unafraid because his armor is the best
But even soldiers need a quiet place to rest.
People say that I'm amazing, never face retreat.
But they don't see the enemies that lay me at His feet.
They don’t know that I go running home when I fall down.
They don't know who picks me up when no one is around.
I drop my sword and cry for just awhile.
Because deep inside this armor, the warrior is a child.
The other day I looked for just the right book to read and found “Wounded Warriors” – Surviving Seasons of Stress by R. Loren Sandford on the bookshelf of “The Upper Room”. Unbeknown to ourselves, a visitor had left two copies of the book on the bookshelf. The book was waiting to be discovered by just the right person at just the right time. That person happened to be me, Peter. I am ever so grateful to whoever left those two books for us. May the Lord richly bless them.
The book is short and easy to read. Wounded and tired people need things that are uncomplicated. The author kept that very much in mind. I thank him for his exquisite sensitivity. Whenever I discover something that has helped me, I delight in finding ways of sharing my newly found treasure. I will do so by sharing a part of the introduction to “Wounded Warriors.”
From the Introduction of “Wounded Warriors”
A middle–aged pastor of a dynamic and growing, multi-staffed congregation sat before me in my office. His face was ashen-gray and his eyes were vaguely unfocused. I noted a subtle shaking of his hands. As I pointed this out to him, he related, “I can work only two hours a day before the shaking becomes unbearable.” I later learned that counseling situations with parishioners caused a swelling of his sinuses and overwhelming drowsiness. The ringing of the telephone would strike fear into him like a knife slicing through his heart. Sundays were an exercise in survival and God only knows how he found the strength to prepare and deliver a message each week. He had made it to that point only with the help of the pills the doctor prescribed.
The prayer closet became a place of fear rather than a sanctuary of peace. To enter into the quiet place with God was synonymous with facing an almost unbearable sense of abandonment and alienation. In the congregation word of his weakness began to spread. As a result the “sharks” began to circle, wagging their tongues of criticism as the blood from their wounded leader excited their instinct to attack. Every mistake he made was magnified by the weak and unbalanced members of the flock. The pastor’s paranoia ran rampant as he sensed the stirring of the troublemakers.
His ability to maintain his tenuous trip on reality wore thinner by the day. How can I possibly help him? I wondered.
This small book had its beginning at the seminar in Spokane, Washington, entitled, “Healing the Wounded Warrior.” My wife, Beth, and I led the discussion along with other members of the Elijah House team. This book is not the product of extensive psychological or statistical research, but is, rather, the fruit of my own experiences. When I examine my own experiences in the light of God’s Word, I am often able to see patterns common to others and then apply them in ministry.
I’m not a psychologist. I’m just a pastor who counsels. My qualification for writing this book is that I, myself, was a Wounded Warrior who went all the way to the bottom, emotionally and physically, and experienced a substantial healing. I’ve counseled a number of others like me and I’ve found considerable commonality in the suffering, causes and recovery we’ve shared.
The subject touches me deeply, not only because of my personal experience, but because I suspect that the great majority of pastors, and even of high-profile lay leaders in our local churches, have at some time experienced a depth of wounding or burn-out that has threatened not only their capacity to minister, but even their ability to deal with daily life.
Surviving such seasons of stress can be very difficult indeed. Very little real help is available. Few counselors truly understand the problem. The sufferer has often been to his family doctor for any number of associated physical symptoms and has been given a clean bill of health. This has left him confused and discouraged because the aches, pains and ills he is experiencing are very real and truly do hinder his ability to function adequately.
The “faith” and success in life” teachings currently in vogue are cruel medicine to such wounded ones who already feel as if they’re failing, and many have reached such a point of emotional and physical weakness that they are unable to accomplish what these teachings call them to perform, no matter how hard they try. They simply can’t “believe” any longer or “confess” positively as they ought.
Such teachings only make them feel accused. They’re filled with fear that their fatigue, anxiety and pain will be exposed and condemned, and these teachings often have a way of visiting condemnation on those who suffer from fear, fatigue and anxiety. Their faith has been shaken and shattered and is of no help to have that shakiness attenuated. They have sunk to a depth from which they can no longer lift themselves by any corrective effort of right thinking or acting.
Some of them have been beaten to the point that they can’t even believe emotionally that God personally loves them any more.
From time to time the inner pressure of despair combines with the outer pressure of the ministry to produce a devastating breakdown. The shock waves then reverberate through the Body of Christ – which usually reacts, not with Christian compassion, but with back-stabbing and comments like, “I told you there was something wrong in the ministry!” All too often it seems that when our leaders stumble, we bite and devour, rather than pray for and heal them.
It is my sincere hope to play a part in awakening the Body of Christ to a crisis in the Church that is already epidemic. Please, God, let us develop compassionate understanding for those in leadership positions in the Body of Christ. I desperately want us to know how to minister to Wounded Warriors.
But most of all, I want to speak to those who are themselves wounded, fearful and teetering on the brink of collapse – both clergy and lay leaders. I want to say that you are not alone, that you are not hopeless and that neither your sins nor your inadequacies are necessarily the cause of what is happening to you. You have not lost your anointing.
Having shared the manuscript with a number of people, both Wounded Warriors and those stressed out because of other causes, I have found this small book to be helpful for more folks than the title suggests. Anyone who has suffered long-term stress from any cause can find something useful here.
I’ve tried too write simple and briefly because I know that those in deep wounding can no longer tolerate complexities and lengthy periods of study. Even small tasks often appear to be insurmountable obstacles. I speak from my heart because I know that the wounded among us can hear that sort of word and be lifted by it. I speak from my heart because the deeply wounded can no longer find their answers in theology or in method, no matter how eternally true or logically practical these may be. Such are food for healthy people, but I am speaking for the sake of those who have sacrificed their emotional and physical well-being in the service of their Lord. Those who have hit the bottom can no longer think or do as others can, and no amount of new learning or self-help will fix them. A special kind of mercy and grace is called for. They must be lifted and carried in a tender way that gives much and asks little.
I’ve couched everything in masculine terms, as if all Wounded Warriors are males. This in only for the sake of convenience and because that is the nature of my own experience. I was wounded, and I am male. I realize it is possible to be female and wounded in the same ways and I trust the reader to be able to apply the principles wherever they are appropriate.
From the epilogue I, Peter, copy these concluding words.
WHY DID GOD LET THIS HAPPEN TO ME?
First, I don’t know.|
Second, I’m glad He did.
Third, I’d be pleased if He never let it happen again.
For additional soothing and healing oil from above, read the poem “WAIT” and then go to:
You Don't Have to Be Strong All the Time
Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried
Quietly, patiently, lovingly God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate,
And the Master so gently said, “Child, you must wait”.
“Wait? You say, wait!” my indignant reply.
“Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By Faith, I have asked, and am claiming your Word.
“My future and all to which I can relate
Hangs in the balance, and YOU tell me to WAIT?
I am needing a ‘yes”, a go-ahead sign,
Or even a ‘no’ to which I can resign.
“And Lord, You promised that if we believe
We need but to ask, and we shall receive.
And Lord, I’ve been asking, and this is my cry:
I’m weary of asking I need a reply!”
Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate
As my Master replied once again, “You must wait.”
So, I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut
And grumbled to God, “So, I’m waiting … for what?”
He seemed, then, to kneel, and His eyes wept with mine,
And He tenderly said, “I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heaven and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead, and cause mountains to run.
“All you seek, I could give, and pleased you would be.
You would have what you want --- but, you wouldn’t have Me.
“You’d not know the depth of My love for each saint;
You’d not know the power that I give to the faint;
You’d not learn to see through the clouds of despair;
You’d not learn to trust just by knowing I’m there;
“You’d never experience that fullness of love
As the peace of My Spirit descends like a dove;
You’d know that I give and I save….. (for a start),
But you’d not know the depth of My heart.
“The glow of My comfort late into the night,’
The faith that I give when you walk without sight,
The depth that’s beyond getting just what you asked
Of an infinite God, who makes what you have LAST.
“You’d never know, should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that ‘My grace is sufficient for thee’
Yes, your dreams for your loved one overnight would come true,
But, Oh, the loss! If you lost what I’m doing in you!
“So, be silent, My Child, and in time you will see
That the greatest of gifts is to get to know Me,
And though oft’ may My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still, ‘WAIT’”
Click Here for the Original Page
You Don't Have to Be Strong All the Time
at Cambridge Dove Ministries
E-mail Peter and Rebekah
All writings by Peter, the Lord's Scribe and Storyteller and all paintings by Rebekah, the Lord's artist are copyright free.