By Joy Haney
When a burn victim is rushed to the hospital and doctors and nurses begin to work on the damage done by the fire, it is just the beginning of a process. The burning itself did not take long; it is the painful months afterwards which are difficult for the patient. Recovery takes time, patience, and discipline. It is a time of restoration from ill health to good health, marred skin to good skin.
Unless you experience a miracle of instant healing, as some do, your emotional hurt will take time to heal. It is a time to, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding” (Prov. 3:5). It is a time to establish your heart and fix it on God, because the thing that it was fixed on before let you down. Everything else may fail, but God never fails.
The hardest thing to do is wait or be still. This is a generation that demands everything in a hurry and if it is not delivered within a few minutes, countenances become tense and angry, fingers start tapping on the table, and a slow volcano starts to flow inside the heart. All because of the hurry syndrome that the modern generation has developed.
Instant coffee, instant hot water, instant banking, instant credit, and instant drive-ins have influenced the Christian to be tempted to expect instant answers. Sometimes God answers instantly when we call, other times He makes us wait — but He is always faithful. In your recovery, be patient and confident. The Lord will help you if you allow Him to be God. “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise” (Heb. 10:35-36).
There is strength in waiting. Isaiah describes it well. “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isa. 40:31). How? By waiting on the Lord. There is a time to run, and there is a time to be still. When you are recovering, you need those daily “still” times with the Master. “Be still, and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10).
Not so in haste, my heart!
Have faith in God and wait;
Although He linger long,
He never comes too late.
It has been said, “Patience is bitter, but its fruits sweet.”
When the great St. Gothard Tunnel was being constructed, workmen bore simultaneously from either side of the Alps. For nearly ten years they worked in the dark; but in 1881, one of the parties of workman began to hear, through the lessening thickness of intervening rocks, the sounds of the hammers and the voices of the workmen from the other side. On they worked, listening, working; working, listening. One day they broke down the barrier between them. Men rushed from the other side, grasped hands, and looked excitedly into each other’s faces, giving whoops and shouts of joy. They had finally accomplished their mission.
You may feel like you are in a dark tunnel and cannot get out, but if you keep boring through in prayer and faith God will break down the wall and the light will shine through the tunnel. Barriers will be gone and you and God will be victorious because you never gave up on God.
In 1986, when we were going through a deep trial, God spoke the following Scripture to me very forcibly while sitting in a church service. I dated it, Wednesday, October 29, 1986, and in big letters wrote, GOD’S IN CHARGE. “Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall” (Ruth 3:18).
The story of Ruth could not have been written without Naomi, her mother-in-law. Naomi and her husband, Elimelech, were God-fearing people who lived in Jerusalem until a famine came. They decided to move out of Jerusalem and go to Moab. (Be careful what you do during famine.) This was a wrong move on their part as you see the story unfold, but it is a story of life, with its imperfections, mistakes, and wrong judgment.
Naomi tasted the cup of bitterness so much that when she returned to Bethlehem and her friends saw her, they said, “Is this Naomi?” They could not believe their eyes. She answered them out of a sorrowful heart, “Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, and the Lord hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the Lord hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me” (Ruth 1:20-21).
Naomi started out in life with joy, hope, and promise. Her name means, “my joy,” “my bliss,” or “pleasantness of Jehovah,” and is a name suggestive of all that is charming, agreeable, and attractive. Something happened along the way that changed her for awhile, for the story does end well.
During the time of the Judges, Israel suffered a very serious famine which was considered to be one of the punishments visited upon the people when they had sinned. Elimelech, the Ephrathite of Bethlehem, decided to emigrate with his family to another place where food was more plentiful. In taking the initiative to go to Moab, a foreign heathen country, Naomi’s husband stepped out of the will of God. One writer said that if the famine came as a punishment from God, Elimelech should have repented, tried to help his fellow countrymen back to God, and prayed for the removal of the scourge.
Elimelech was a Hebrew, and so he had the promise given them. “In the days of famine, thou shalt be satisfied.”
Elimelech means, “My God is King.” If he really believed that God was King, would not he have trusted Him in the bad times? It was not long after they left Moab that Naomi and Elimelech started having doubts about their decision. Things went from bad to worse over the years. The Jewish law forbade marriage outside of the nation of Israel, but their two sons married Moabite women.
Sorrow started to dog Naomi’s footsteps. Her husband, who had taken her to a land where there seemed to be more, died even where there was lots of food, leaving her a widow. Then her two sons died. Her whole family was gone and she was in a strange land, not the land of her roots and people. She had nothing left except two daughters-in-law. When she told them she was going back to Bethlehem, Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-bye. Then Naomi turned to Ruth and said, “Behold, thy sister-in-law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister-in-law” (Ruth 1:15). Ruth passionately cried these immortal words as she clave to Naomi. “Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me” (Ruth 1:16-17).
Ruth saw that Naomi had something more than she did. There was a steadfast faith Naomi had that Ruth wanted. She realized that her gods were ineffective and could not help her during her sorrow. There was a determination in her that shone through to Naomi. Naomi sensed the hunger and desire, “When she saw that she was steadfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her” (Ruth 1:18). She did not try to change Ruth’s mind, she accepted it as the will of God. So the two lonely widows traveled together down a long dusty road to Bethlehem.
When they entered the city their appearance there caused quite a stir. The people were shocked, and voiced their shock. Naomi, who once was so sweet, was now more sour, and blamed God for the poverty and desolation she had endured. The cup of bitterness she was partaking of was not an act of God, but a result of disobedience. She left full, but returned empty.
When there is a “burning” in your life, be careful not to charge God foolishly. Hurtful experiences are orchestrated by several things. First of all, the devil orchestrates evil, as in the case of Job. He is out to hurt you. Second, our own disobedience causes a ramification of evil. There is the law of the harvest, first the sowing, then the reaping. Third, you can make a poor judgment call. A lack of wisdom can thrust you into a situation that you were not expecting or prepared to face. Fourth, you can experience evil by being a victim of circumstances. Example: A drunken father, speeding down the highway, has an accident and kills his little girl. The little girl was innocent, but the father’s wrong orchestrated evil.
Whether your “burn” came from the devil, disobedience, poor judgment, or another’s wrongdoing, in your time of recovery, learn to be still with your tongue and in your spirit and seek to know God. Say with Job, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21). “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him” (Job 13:15).
There is a good ending to the story of Ruth and Naomi. Remember, with God things always get better. In Bethlehem, Naomi had a kinsman of her husband’s, a mighty man of wealth, whose name was Boaz. God helped them out of their affliction. Boaz married Ruth and from this union a baby was born named Obed, the father of Jesse, the father of David. Boaz and Ruth took care of Naomi the rest of her days, and she became a rich woman again: rich in friends, rich in grandchildren, rich in God, and rich in spirit. The recovery was long and painful, but the restoration came.
Professor R.G. Moulton expressed it this way. “The family she thought she had seen perish has been restored to the genealogies of Israel; for baby Obed lives to become the father of Jesse, and Jesse is father of the great King David. And in the genealogical tables of Matthew, the Moabite who left her people for love is Naomi, duly named as an ancestor of the Messiah himself.”
What looks like a disaster can be turned into something rich and good when God becomes involved with it. “Man’s extremities are God’s opportunities.” The secret is to relax, wait, be confident in God, and let go. If you clutch your problem tightly to your bosom until it permeates your whole being, you are not letting God work.
In North Africa the natives have a very easy way to capture monkeys. A gourd, with a hole just sufficiently large so that a monkey can put his hand into it, is filled with nuts and fastened firmly to a branch of a tree in the evening time. During the night a monkey will smell the food, go to the source of it, put his hand down inside the gourd, and grasp a handful of nuts. The hole is too small for the monkey to withdraw his clenched fist, and he does not have the sense to let go. He pulls and pulls all night long, until he is captured in the morning.
Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30). Let go and let God. He said in Isaiah 43:13, “Yea, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it?” Let God help you recover from the hurtful things in life. He never makes mistakes. He will heal your inner hurts and give you a song again. Do not keep one smidgen of your problem inside you. Give it all to God.
R.G. le Tourneau, the earthmoving machinery manufacturer who died in 1969, failed often in the earlier years of his career. During the years of the Depression, he made $35,000 profit in one year, which surprised everyone. Puffed up with pride, he withheld the payment of his $5,000 annual pledge to the Lord in order to reinvest it in his business, which he said he wanted to use so he could have a greater share the following year. He anticipated a net profit of $100,000.
Within a year his anticipated $100,000 profit was turned into a $100,000 loss, which brought le Tourneau to his knees. While praying in repentance he told God he would pay $5,000 the following year and also $5,000 for the year he missed. This is when he was flat broke and several employees were threatening to leave him.
From that point on le Tourneau’s fortune changed, and within four years he and his wife founded the le Tourneau Foundation comprised of 90 percent of the stocks of le Tourneau Corporation, the earnings of which financed evangelical Christian work worldwide. At one point, this foundation was worth $40 million.
The point in all of this is what le Tourneau said: “It is not how much money I give to God, but how much of God’s money I keep for myself.” I would like to reword it and make it applicable to your problem. “It is not how much of your problem you give to God, it is how much of your problem you keep, that makes the difference.”
In 1 Peter 5:6-7 it says, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” Matthew Henry’s comments on the “casting on the Lord” are rich and worth pondering. He says, “Throw your cares, which are so cutting and distracting, which wound your souls and pierce your hearts, upon the wise and gracious providence of God; trust in Him with a firm composed mind, for He careth for you. He is willing to release you of your care, and take the care of you upon himself. He will either avert what you fear, or support you under it. He will order all events to you so as shall convince you of His paternal love and tenderness towards you; and all shall be so ordered that no hurt, but good, shall come unto you.”
Maude Royden made a statement that is powerful: “When you have nothing left but God, then for the first time you become aware that God is enough.” If you trust as a child and believe that God can do anything, then He will start doing great things for you. It is not enough to say, “Okay, give it to God,” and then worry about it all night until you are a nervous wreck. You take pills to pep you up and tranquilizers to make you sleep. Your fretfulness is seen in your face and in your actions. This defies your words. If you just release it, God will increase you and help you in your difficult dilemma.
Earl C. Willer shares the following inspirational story:
Captain Johnson was serving as chaplain on an island in the South Pacific during World War II. He prepared to go on a bombing raid on enemy-occupied islands several hundred miles away. The mission was a complete success, but on the homeward course the plane began to lose altitude and the engines faded out. A safe landing was made on a strange island. It was learned later that the enemy was just one-half mile in each direction, yet the landing had gone undetected.
The staff sergeant came to the chaplain and said, “Chaplain, you have been telling us for months of the need of praying and believing God answers prayer in time of trouble, and that He does it right away. We’re out of gas and the base is several hundred miles away — almost surrounded by the enemy.”
Johnson began to pray and lay hold of the promises, and believed that God would work a miracle. Night came and the chaplain continued in his intense prayer. About 2:00 a.m. the sergeant awakened and felt compelled to walk to the water’s edge. He discovered a metal float which had drifted up on the beach — octane gas. In a few hours the crew reached their home base safely.
An investigation revealed that the skipper of a U.S. tanker, finding his ship in sub-infested waters, had his gasoline cargo removed so as to minimize the danger in case of a torpedo hit. Barrels were placed on barges and put adrift six hundred miles from where Johnson and the plane crew were forced down. God had navigated one of these barges through wind and current and beached it fifty steps from the stranded men.
You say, “Well, that’s them, not me. It always seems to happen for others.” I challenge you to put your FULL trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and let Him take over and be completely in charge. He is able and He is faithful; He will not let you down! During the time of healing, let Him pour the oil into your wounds and they will heal so much faster. He will give you “the oil of joy for mourning” (Isa. 61:3). That is why He came. He is waiting to heal you, for He is the Great Physician.
The above article, “Recovery From Burns” was written by Joy Haney. The article was excerpted from chapter 13 in Haney’s book, How to Forgive When It’s Hard To Forget.
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.