Scientists have long documented a condition known as “phantom limb”, which occurs in about 80 percent of amputees and a smaller percentage of people born without limbs. Phantom limb is the sensation that a missing limb is still attached to one’s body and that it is functional. Reports of feeling pain in the missing limb are also common with this condition.
Although not all amputees report pain, most do acknowledge that they feel as if their missing limb itches, twitches or causes them occasional discomfort. Not being able to actually scratch, rub or move the imaginary limb, patients develop a great sense of frustration and anxiety. It some cases the frustration is chronic. An innovative scientist came up with a very clever and creative therapy. He created a simple mirror box where those who had lost a hand or arm could put their remaining arm in the box and see both that arm and a reflection of it on the opposite side of the box. The result was that patients saw two normal arms and hands.
The patient was told to move the hand and fingers on the real arm while also imagining that they were moving the hand and fingers on the missing limb. Of course, as soon as the real arm was moved, the reflected image also moved and the patient actually felt the sensation of both arms moving. The psychological impact was immediate and phenomenal. Relief from the frustration of not being able to move the missing limb subsided. In a sense, a similar therapy can be applied to believers who are suffering from frustration. A believer who is being unfaithful to their savior, either in church attendance or their calling, also suffers from frustrations. Most believers will not admit this. They will attribute frustration in their life to work, finances or other problems. However, when a believer is living a life less than what the Lord wants it to be, the result is usually spiritual frustration. As the flesh battles against the spirit, the Christian “feels” that something is missing and they are unfulfilled.
A young man, who had departed from faithful attendance at church and Godly living, found himself in great distress over the type of life he had come to live. One morning he awoke from yet another drunken stupor, lying half naked on the ground under a small tree. With his head pounding in pain from the effects of the liquor, he looked up toward the heavens and asked “Why don’t you care about me and the way I live?”
Certain that God would not answer him, he angrily grabbed onto the tree to pull himself up off the ground. As he did so, he dislodged an old, uninhabited bird nest that fell to the ground at his feet. A piece of yellow paper was entwined in the nest, apparently put there by the previous occupants to strengthen the nest walls.
Drawn to the paper for some unknown reason, the young man reached down and pulled it from the nest and dusted it off. As he looked at the paper he began to tremble uncontrollably. There in his hand was a sheet of music he had used in Sunday school as a young child many years earlier when he attended the country church a few blocks away. It was torn and weathered, but it still had his name on it and a few of the words from the song were also readable. As he read them, he recalled his railing accusation toward God just moments earlier and began to weep. God had indeed answered, for the paper read “his eye is on the sparrow and I know he cares for me!”
Not all of our questions and problems will be remedied as miraculously as this young man’s were, but we can be sure that God is ever present and ready to work in our lives when we come to him in earnest. Believers need to be proactive in being faithful to the Lord. We can only do that by spending time with him in his word.
The Bible is many things to many people, but perhaps believers need to view it as a spiritual mirror box. If something is missing from our lives, we can look into this wonderful and miraculous book and see the reflection of what we should be, a replica of the Lord Jesus Christ. Being like him is the remedy for our spiritual frustrations.