“By His wounds we are healed.”
It goes against our human understanding…our drive to avoid discomfort and pain…our almost obsessive desire to escape suffering. But it is an undeniable truth that there is healing to be found in wounds.
We find healing in the wounds of the One who gave His life for us on the cross.
The wounds that rightfully belonged to me – wounds that He in no way deserved – were inflicted on the body of God Himself, so that I could be saved from the wounds I already bore on my broken, filthy, ugly soul.
His wounds brought about my healing.
But what about my wounds?
Because to walk through this world believing I won’t be wounded is complete delusion, pure and simple.
What about the wound of loneliness?
The wounds wrought by warfare? The sores from suffering?
Is there purpose in this pain?
Last week I considered God’s statement that He heals the brokenhearted, and that He binds up their wounds (Psalm 147:3). If that’s so, why does He allow the wounds in the first place? He could intercept them, after all. He’s wise enough to know what’s coming, and strong enough to stop it.
So why doesn’t He?
As a frail and faulty human, I have no desire to even try to guess the mind of an infinite God. Our infinite God could very well have an infinite number of reasons for allowing His children to experience pain. And my aim here isn’t to plumb the depths of those reasons. I just want to offer one.
God uses wounds in beautiful ways to heal our souls of even deeper maladies.
May I share a personal experience with you? My husband held a job in insurance sales for almost ten years. He was very successful, and enjoyed his job. God provided generously for our family through his employment, which granted my husband a sense of fulfillment and allowed me to stay home with our children.
To make a long story short, my husband lost his job last year, in a painful way that felt like deceit and unfairness and betrayal.
It also felt like rejection and callous disregard and more betrayal.
But when the job was gone, we knew our God well enough to know that He had allowed this pain for a reason. Perhaps He just wanted my husband to be employed elsewhere. But we also knew it was possible that God’s reasons went deeper than that. And so we pleaded with Him to teach us what He wanted us to learn.
Before long, God pointed out something rather startling: while our brains had always registered God as our Provider and our lips had always proclaimed it, deep down, our hearts had sort of wondered what would happen if the job went away. And if we thought about it too much, we had been afraid of the job going away.
It’s one thing to hail God as our Provider when the bountiful provision is in plain sight to my human eyes. It’s quite another to hail Him as Provider when the abundance vanishes from my view.
My husband and I experienced very real and painful wounds. But those wounds revealed much deeper issues that needed to be addressed.
And so, in the same way a surgeon takes the utmost care to slice through skin and tissue and muscle in order to remedy an internal problem, our Heavenly Father allowed deep wounds upon our hearts to get to our souls. Through a very painful experience, He healed us…
of fear about unemployment…
of unbelief in God’s complete and generous provision no matter what…
of erecting a place of employment as an idol, seeing it as our source of provision…
of erecting ourselves as idols, trusting in our own abilities to provide…
of associating our worth, however loosely, with the bottom line on our bank statement.
I have learned that it is through suffering that God reveals our idols to us – people or ideas that we hold dearer than we do God Himself.
Through the heartache of loneliness, God may want to tenderly show us we have valued our human relationships more highly than our divine relationship.
Through the wound of rejection, God could be gently pointing out to us that we have idolized acceptance from men more than we’ve relished our acceptance in Him.
Through the ache of loss, perhaps God is lovingly revealing to us the many blessings we fail to thank Him for and have taken for granted.
Through the injustice of abandonment, we may need to learn that we have placed our trust in a mere mortal, rather than in God alone, the only firm Foundation and faultlessly faithful Friend.
I adore my Lord, who calls Himself Jehovah Rapha, “the Lord who heals” (Exodus 15:26). Yes, He is a healer of our bodies.
But even more, He heals our souls. The parts that we know are sore and painful and broken.
And the parts we don’t.
Are you experiencing a painful trial? Take heart, beloved friend. He won’t waste your pain. If you let Him, He will use it to make you stronger than ever.
Written by Jennifer Clarke