Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: HEALTH (10/13/16)
- TITLE: The Smiling Mind
By Ruth Walker
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"You can go this far and no further" (Job 38:11)
God told the sea that it had boundaries; He "locked it behind doors", fixing limits for it - "here is where your proud waves halt". The authority behind that command is awe-inspiring. How WE could use that authority sometimes! In the battle for health in our minds, could we expect such a command to be obeyed? Imagine if we could say to our thoughts, "this far and no further!" The person struggling with depression, the alcoholic trying to rein in a screaming "GIVE ME!”, the guilty, hiding under a blanket to try and muffle the taunting voice of shame...if all could say to those thoughts, "HALT! THIS FAR AND NO FURTHER!", how liberating!
Glancing across at her baby brother propped in the sand, squinting in the sun, his mouth a sticky mess of sandy goo, the little girl saw that the waves were coming close to him. Dashing over, she chased them back then turned and ran to check that he was ok. In a few moments, she felt the lapping of water at her feet and saw that once again, she must chase this danger from her helpless brother. The minutes ticked by and the game became tiresome. “JUST GO AWAY!” she yelled, and ran to her mother, flopping on her lap in tears.
Such is the defeat of those whose "HALT!" directed at unhelpful thoughts has made no difference. The waves of words haughtily reply, "Who says?" and issue another tirade. What must they do?
The Christian faced with this struggle may chase back those waves with all their art... “I'll drown you out with worship music, I'll listen to the Word day and night, I'll pray, fast, see a counsellor...”, but the waves keep surging in and the chase to drive them back just gets exhausting. They crumple, the waves washing around them, feeling powerless and hopeless.
Mother began to gather all the afternoon’s trappings – shells, cuttlefish, the icecream container that had been the formwork for a princess’s sandcastle – into her beach bag. Finally, squatting to eye level with her daughter, she re-wrapped her in the limp, sandy beach-towel and encouraged her, “Let’s go and see the icecream man!”
“Icecream, icecream!” sang the little girl, and wriggled free of the towel. The two climbed the sandy slope to the car park, thoughtless of the surging and receding rhythm that still went on behind them.
The Philippians passage in which good thoughts are encouraged, ends “Let your mind dwell on these things.” It tells us we DO have a choice. LET this, do not let that… We DO have the authority to say “HALT!” But sometimes it’s good to give the command and then walk away from the battlefield. Go and get an icecream! Make a phonecall…read poetry…wash the car. Empty spaces invite invasion. We do ourselves a favour sometimes to just walk away.
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