How I Found my Real Father
During my years at medical school, I spent many hours learning about pain and how to relieve it. When I finally started general medical practice I felt ready to deal successfully with people’s pain, but I was in for a shock. During the first two years of my practice, I learned that there was another kind of pain, one for which I had no training. I felt totally useless when I saw my patients with this kind of pain since I had nothing to offer them.
No one had ever told me that there were two categories of pain, physical and emotional, and emotional pain seemed to be far more common and more severely disabling than physical pain. As I embarked on a journey to learn more about it, God began to call me to help those in the throes of emotional pain, so that today my entire practice is devoted to the treatment of mood and emotional disorders.
Never before had I seen people’s emotional states improve so rapidly.
In 1994, the Holy Spirit began to visit Toronto in a very unusual way, and that same year the renewal exploded in my own church after my pastor visited TACF. Initially we were very confused by the strange manifestations and the unpredictability of our services, but what caught my attention were the dramatic emotional transformations occurring in the lives of those touched by this outpouring. Never before had I seen people’s emotional states improve so rapidly. Many were able to forgive and release bitterness for the first time in their lives.
In my opinion, God’s purpose in the Toronto outpouring is the emotional rehabilitation of Christians. As long as believers remain in emotional bondage, it will be very hard for them to joyfully receive and pass on the overwhelming love of God. Emotional bondage gives Satan a foothold filling our minds with lies that keep us from knowing the truth about our heavenly Father.
TWO STAGES OF HEALING
After watching and experiencing the effects of renewal for nearly seven years, I have often seen the healing process come in two phases. The first stage is an initial touch of the Holy Spirit when the Christian realizes the power of God’s personal love and begins to draw closer to Him than ever before. At this time there are often rapid, profound changes in emotional characteristics which give a person emotional abilities he hasn’t normally had such as the freedom to forgive or to stop worrying. The process may or may not be accompanied by physical manifestations because the extent of the healing is totally unrelated to the intensity of the manifestations.
This initial touch of God is like the rain that softens the soil of the heart to allow the Holy Spirit to transform the emotions in areas where someone never thought he could change. It opens the door to be changed more quickly into God’s image.
Many of the people that I know who have been through this “gentle rain,” have some time later been plunged into the greatest emotional pain that they have ever experienced. This came as quite a shock to them after having had such a significant healing and renewing experience.
At first I couldn’t understand why this was happening until God took me through the same experience. I realized then that the “gentle rain” was the prelude to the second stage which I call “open pit mining.”
Pain often affords us an opportunity to receive from God in a way that we never could while in denial.
In the “rain” stage, we learned to trust God and experience His love in a new and more intimate way. We needed this degree of reassurance to prepare us for the radical surgery that was required to transform the bedrock of our character into His image. But if we are serious about serving God, then He will transform us.
The “mining” phase is the next step in the process of emotional healing where our pain is exposed so that God can heal it. The reason why this mining experience is so difficult is because it breaks open all our defensive walls and exposes our emotional wounds and pain. Emotional pain, like physical pain, is a sign that something is wrong. But coming out of denial by identifying and admitting that we’re in emotional pain is not always easy. As long as we remain in denial, unable to see and admit our emotional pain, we will stay in bondage. Pain often affords us an opportunity to receive from God in a way that we never could while in denial.
WHAT HAPPENED TO ME
God started to repair my own emotions with a “gentle rain.” Of course, I had not realized that I needed any repairs, since being a man, I was proud, rigid, intolerant, and critical and in total denial of any emotional need. As the Lord gently “rained” on me, I gradually found myself thinking differently and enjoying a change of attitude
Then in 1995 my wife Kathy sank emotionally. Although Kathy had always been emotionally strong and confident, she suddenly became aware of unresolved emotional pain in her life that overwhelmed her defenses. Watching Kathy sink was so shattering to me that I quickly followed her sinking into an emotional abyss wondering what had happened to us and why. Until then I had not realized how emotionally dependent I was on my wife and that we had been living in a state of co- dependency our entire marriage.
We wondered, was this judgment or an attack by Satan? But having experienced the “gentle rain” we knew that neither was true. We were then left with no option but to turn to God with an intensity we had not previously known. And God began to lead us through our own “valley of the shadow of death.” For Kathy and me this was to be the most difficult thirteen months of our lives.
THE BOX WITH NO LID
As I passed through this “valley,” I felt that I was slowly being squeezed into a dark box of pain with no windows, doors nor ways of escape. It hurt to touch any of the walls or floor. It seemed as though the walls slowly came closer together and the floor rose to squeeze my very life out of me. This was where I lived for months on end, hopeless. Gradually, with the help of a counselor who understood the ways of God in these matters, I eventually noticed something about the box that I had never seen before.
There was no lid.
I had been relying on my previous methods to run from emotional pain. In this box however, all my usual escape routes were blocked and God forced me to look elsewhere for a solution. As the walls and floor closed in on me, out of sheer desperation I finally had the courage to look up and experienced one of the greatest surprises of my life. There looking down at me was the smiling face of my loving heavenly Father. He had been patiently watching me through all my struggles to free myself, knowing that I would eventually see the open lid when the walls were nearly touching. When I finally made eye contact with God, He seemed to be saying, “I was wondering how tight the box would have to get for you to notice me.” I then realized that the only route out of the box of pain was up and into God’s outstretched loving arms. The box had been His most effective way of turning my attention off myself and my usual coping methods, which didn’t work, and onto Him, the only solution to my struggle.
MY NEW FATHER
Now I was getting to know a real person who cared more deeply for me than I could ever imagine.
Through this experience I began to know God as my best friend and my true Father. It’s embarrassing to admit that though I had been a Christian my whole life, I had never experienced Him in this personal, intimate way. I felt that in comparison, my previous understanding of God was merely “head knowledge” but now I was getting to know a real person who cared more deeply for me than I could ever imagine. Zephaniah 3:17 came alive to me, “The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with his love, He will rejoice over you with singing,”
This new revelation of the depth and intensity of God’s love for me continues to transform all my relationships and my practice. I now have fun walking with God and listening to Him. Instead of struggling to serve Him, I can just relax and watch him work through me. Discovering the Father heart of God for me has been the most significant revelation in my life since I became a Christian. I encourage you to let God reveal His love to you. Your life will be transformed.