Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Home is Where the Heart is...

by Heather Tomes

I am a Saskatchewan girl at heart. Despite my many travels, there is nowhere that represents home to my heart like Saskatchewan in the summer! Watching a field of yellow canola billow in the wind framed by waves of green grass and a soft blue sky speaks of home to my prairie heart!

When I served as a missionary in Bosnia, I ran into a Canadian NATO peace officer one day in the market. Always happy to meet someone from Canada, we began to talk about our home country. Having shared that he was from eastern Canada, he asked “What part of the country are you from?” When I said “Saskatchewan”, he responded “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.” It was an attempt at humor on his part, but this loyal Saskatchewan gal wasn’t laughing :)

We tend to become loyal to what is familiar to us. This spiritual and psychological principle is demonstrated in Jesus’ interaction with a man by the Pool of Bethesda (John 5). The Apostle John describes the scene around the pool: crowds of sick people lying on the porches – people who were blind, lame, or paralyzed. One such man had been lying there for thirty-eight years. Certainly this place had become familiar to him - like home - during that amount of time.

Jesus asks the man “Would you like to get well?” Seems like a strange question, doesn’t it? You’d think the man would be eager to be healed, and to leave this place he has called “home” for so many years. Yet his response to the Messiah is one of hesitation – his heart has become loyal to what is familiar to him.

On the surface it may seem easy to judge this man for his complacency - but what areas of our own hearts and minds lie crippled, lame, or paralyzed before the Lord – yet are shrouded in a familiarity that keeps us complacent to invitations from the Healer? What areas of our lives would the Saviour say to us, just as He did this man “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!” so that we might be healed, too? Beloved, this threefold command is the same one Jesus whispers to our hearts today in areas that have become all-too-familiar strongholds that keep us blind, lame, and paralyzed in our Christ-following. We all have them – areas that have become entrenched in our lives: self-centeredness, pride, envy, anger, lust, fear. They become so familiar that when Christ comes with an invitation of healing, our first response is despondency, disbelief, or even outright refusal.

Many who come to Christian Counselling Services are at various stages of responding to the Master’s call to leave behind places of familiarity where their hearts have resided in paralysis for too long. My prayer is that CCS would be like the Pool of Bethesda – which means House of Grace - for each person that crosses the threshold of this ministry. Please join me in this prayer.

Heather Tomes is the Executive Director of CCS. She is a Registered Psychologist and works with women in areas such as abuse, depression, anxiety, and eating disorders.

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