The heart needs a shelter
Jesus needs to be my soul’s shelter. When news, a story or an incident arises that I feel I can’t cope or deal with, then I need to turn to Jesus, the strong tower, to be my refuge, and not to TV, food, sleep, exercise, drugs, reading, other people, video games, work, or keeping busy. These other things are not true coping mechanisms – they delay the problem, which is always there when you slow down and have time to think on it again.
Sometimes we need a reprieve; sleep, for instance, is necessary when dealing with a crisis. It provides a respite that God designed. And there are indeed moments when I think it’s helpful to chat with a friend, go to work, etc., focusing on something else for a little. But I have often used these other things overly much – seeking the oblivion of sleep longer than I need, for example, instead of sitting down with God, my trouble before us, prepared for Him to work through it with me.
The problem when I seek distraction as a way of coping with fear or pain is that the issue continues to haunt me the moment the diversion ends. Moreover, it is often compounded. By going to Jesus however I open myself up to actually dealing with the difficulty and bringing it to an end – a real, all-wounds-healed end. Generally this is the hardest option at the time – but more and more I’m realising just how true the saying is: Christianity is not for sissies. It takes a real man (or woman) to forgive the person who has hurt you badly, it takes guts to believe God when you don’t understand what he’s doing, and sometimes it takes battlefield courage to go to him, looking your problem squarely in the face, and allowing him to deal with it and restore you.