I have recently had the privilege and difficulty of working with multiple marriages that are on the brink of divorce. Though the arguments have different words and the wounds have distinct patterns, it is clear that there is a theme that runs through each situation. As each couple’s individual relationships with God go, so their relationship with each other goes. This is rarely clear when you’re the one going through it, but it is painfully obvious when you are looking for it from the outside. Each person is in desperate need of healing and renewal. Though the devil tempts them to think that the main issue is communication or behavior modification, these are simply a symptom of the bigger problem. Each one of them must fully embrace their relationship with God and allow Him to heal them. Then they can work on the specific issues in their struggles.
But you don’t need to be struggling in your marriage to have the need for healing and renewal. You also don’t need to be experiencing reverse culture shock and identity shock to need healing and renewal. We all need it and we all need it often. No matter how great my life is going, I am still experiencing the devils’ schemes which often wound me. These scrapes and abrasions that wear me down, not even considering the massive direct hits that I sometimes take, need healing. Jesus is clear that if we open our eyes and hearts to him and then turn to him, he will heal us. (John 12:40) But we are constantly tempted to think that if we just keep moving surely things will work out. Until they don’t.
We all need help and God meant for it to be this way. We need to periodically take time to break free from the distractions of life, surround ourselves by people who have the same focus and give our attention fully to turning to Him. In a perfect world, we would experience this often with our local church, but too often more attention is paid to keeping order than to mutually seeking healing in these gatherings. Even if we do receive this regularly from a group of Christians, the 1 or 2 hours we get barely gives us time to begin to connect.
That is where AIMstock comes in. All of us have the common theme of AIM as a connection (whether we were an AIMer for a minute, for years or we joined the adventure by marrying someone with this experience). We have been wounded in various ways. We want to take time to break free of distractions for an extended period of time and mutually encourage each other to put our focus on God and His work in our lives. Whether you feel strong in your relationship with God or are struggling with whether He even cares about you, this is for you. The organizers of AIMstock know that we are not big enough, smart enough or powerful enough to make this work. We are simply stepping out in faith based on what we have witnessed God doing and we are praying that God will take our meager efforts of faith and create something that is so much bigger than us.
Whether you are able to be part of AIMstock this year or not, I encourage you to make it a habit of seeking renewal and healing. In my recent reading of the minor prophets, a consistent theme was that people had tremendous problems in their lives, but failed to make the connection that these problems were ultimately the result of their failure to stay connected to God. Thus the need for the prophets to tell them. I run into people that have this same blindness regularly and often one of those people is me. Renewal and healing is critical and only takes place when we make time to be connected with our Father. My encouragement to us is to make that time: Adjust the calendar, modify the schedule, prepare to sacrifice some other things that we would love to do and make some plans to connect to our Father who longs to heal and renew us!
- Jason Thornton