To introduce this post I want to tell a story.
The story is of a man who went to battle and won many, many victories. He was a fearless warrior who seemed invincible because of his ability to leave battle without any injury. But one day, he was pierced by an arrow that had split the part of his armor between his breastplate and his shoulder. Not wanting to let it hinder him, he quickly pulled it out, and kept on fighting. They won the battle, yet again, and because of his swift action, no one know about the arrow that pierced his shoulder. Not wanting to reveal any vulnerability or weakness, the mighty warrior returned home without properly taking care of the wound. Sure, he covered it up with cloth and some oil, but that wasn’t enough to completely heal the wound. Another battle was approaching and he feared he would lose his noble status if he didn’t fight, so instead of taking time to let the wound settle, he went to war, not knowing this would be his last. You see, little to his knowledge, the arrow that had pierced him was poisonous. With proper treatment it would’ve healed, but the warrior didn’t think it necessary so he went back to battle. The poison soaked into his whole being, eventually reaching his heart, where it stole the very breath from his lungs and the once mighty warrior became just another casualty to war.
Reading that story you might be thinking, “Why didn’t that silly warrior just let the wound heal, or at least take proper care of it?”, and that is the logical thought process of any sane person. But pride became an issue for the mighty warrior. Because of all of the victories he had accomplished, he began to think he was invincible and that a simple bandage would do the trick for the deadly arrow wound.
And the same thing happens with us.
Not this exact story, of course, because none of us live in ancient times where the possibility of an arrow piercing us during battle exists, but we still go through the same scenario. And it’s not even that we think we are invincible (though sometimes we do), it’s that sometimes we don’t even recognize the “arrows” that pierce us.
When we are hurt by people’s words or their actions, knowingly or not, we bottle up the hurt and push it away and pretend like nothing has happened. Much like the warrior we think that addressing the hurt isn’t necessary because we can cover it up with small band-aids of, “I’m fine”, or, “Yeah it hurt, but I’m over it”, when in all reality we haven’t even touched the wound. Because things don’t look any different, we don’t think anything has changed, but truthfully, the hurt still exists and it is still wreaking havoc on our hearts and souls.
Sometimes these hurts happen without us really knowing and because it is our habit-turned-instinct to ignore the pain, again, we cover the crater-sized hurt with a pinky-sized band-aid, expecting it to heal.
Though I’ve only come face-to-face with this concept recently, I think it’s one of those things we all know, deep down. We know that hiding our feelings and hurt doesn’t actually help us, but wounds us even more. Yet we continue to do it because we don’t want to be vulnerable, or we don’t want to address the hurt, fearing it will bring too much pain.
I see this play out in my life and my friends lives almost daily, unfortunately. Broken hearts are never healed because becoming vulnerable enough to think about what happened is unheard of, let alone ever truly done. And so we continue to be heartbroken and sad, wanting to feel and be better, but afraid to do what we need to do in order to be healed. I’m afraid that if I take time to reflect on the hurt and damage that has been done to me (by others and by myself) it will hurt too much, so I push past it and put on a brave face. But a brave face doesn’t bring healing. Taking the band-aid off and allowing treatment to do its work does. Yes, it will hurt to look at and address the pain we’ve felt, but if we don’t, the wound will never heal, and it will actually continue to secretly poison us.
I’m not saying we should disregard the pain that we feel, I’m just saying that taking a step back and actually letting down the walls of pain can really heal us. Pain is not something we should ignore, nor is it a bad thing, but sometimes we get so focused on the pain (or on ignoring the pain) that we forget we can be healed.
But it takes fully addressing the wound/issue/hurt in order to see a complete healing!
This means we have to dive into the pain we feel and find the source of the hurt and then allow Jesus to have it. It’s easier said than done, of course, but it can be done! Jesus is the only person who can heal our hurting and broken hearts, because He is the only One who overcame the source of all of the hurt in the world–death.
Giving your pain (and the cause of the pain) to Jesus isn’t an easy thing to do. Sometimes the pain is a comfort for us because it’s been with us for a very long time. Sometimes the pain doesn’t even seem that bad so we don’t think it necessary to give up. But ultimately, any pain can hinder us from living life in abundance! It’s hard to look at the pain because there are a lot of powerful memories and emotions attached to it, but that can’t be the reason we hide from healing. Yes, it is going to hurt to deal with the pain, but that pain does not even compare to what freedom feels like.
Instead of hiding from or neglecting healing, it needs to be the thing that we seek out the most. We have to take the Band-Aids off of our wounds in order for them to fully heal! Though a scar will show up after the wound heals, the scar gives you strength and peace! It’s no longer an open wound, festering with ooze and sores that can’t be hidden, but a signal fire of healing and true strength that has come from something that once seemed so devastating. Hurt only has power when we give it power, and by letting healing rain wash over our wounds, the power is drawn away from the pain and is given directly to us.
Although the story I shared with you at the beginning probably could be real, it was one that I made up. But there’s another story that I want to share with you and a this next one is completely true. It’s a story directly from Jesus’ life.
Jesus just got back from His meeting with the woman at the well where He showed her all of the pain that was in her life that she didn’t really know about, or was at least neglecting to face. Through their conversation He brings healing to her heart and soul simply because she addressed the pain she had and gave room for Jesus to heal. But now there is another man who is in pain, and has been in pain for 38 years. When Jesus asks Him if He wants to be healed, the man makes the excuse that he hasn’t been given the opportunity to be healed. Much like we try to do with our pain, he deny’s it’s existence and instead tells Jesus there isn’t much that can be done. But Jesus proclaims to him that healing has come and that he simply needs to stand up and move on from it. So he stands up, and though the man has tried many times before to walk away from the pain, this is the only time in his life he has been truly set free from his hurt. Even more so, Jesus tells him to not sin anymore and to forget about the pain that has previously been so strong in his life. Essential Jesus is asking the man to accept His healing hand and then to live knowing he has been made well. Instead of continuing to dwell on the pain, Jesus is saying, “Accept my power to be true and let the wound heal. Though a scar may still be present, let it bring you the encouragement you need to endure hardship and temptation.” (John 5, my paraphrase)
There are countless other stories throughout the Bible of Jesus doing this exact thing: showing people what their pain is so that they might be healed from it. He shows us that in order for true healing to come, we have to know what we are being healed of. He doesn’t want to give us freedom without showing us what we are freed from. Jesus is all about empowering us, even if it takes walking through our pain to get there, He knows it’s worth it!
So that’s what I need you to realize today. Addressing your pain and walking directly back through it will hurt, that’s a guarantee, but it is the only way to find healing. It’s OK to look down afterward and see the scar and know where it came from. To remember that it once held so much power over you but that it doesn’t anymore! That’s the beauty of a scar, though it might hurt a little to remember where you got it from, it’s also amazing proof that you made it through!
So make it through.
Let Healing come in. Give the pain to Jesus, He already knows about it and wants to heal it.
I promise everything will be OK.
take your band-aids off and let your wounds soak in the healing oil of Jesus’ love,