Brokenness. Loss. Neglect. Abuse. Addiction.
Do you feel too broken to be healed? Do you feel too lost to be found? Too abused to be made whole?
Each of these words carries with it the deepest grimaces, scowl lines of epic depth, and the frailty of our humanity. Each of these words produces a reaction of soul, and physical manifestations of pain. Heart-wrenching pain. There is a deep seated temptation walking through seasons like these to pack our bags and run for the hills, quick as a thief after his latest steal.
But in the urge to pack our bags and head for the hills to escape the pain that these scenarios bring, we forget. We desire to escape the pain with deep desperation and self preservation, that we forget who it is that preserves our life, and who sustains, uses every hurt for our good and his glory.
Of course, pain doesn’t feel good – otherwise it wouldn’t be called PAIN. But pain in our physical is the body’s way of getting our attention. It’s the body’s communication system to alert our mind that something has gone awry, something is out of alignment, something has infected or invaded our biome.
Pain is the evidence or the indication of an underlying circumstance that needs attention.
Brokenness, loss, neglect, abuse, addiction and sickness are heavy and painful, hard to confront words. But did you know, or have you ever considered that weight of each of these words carries with it a quiet and gentle invitation.
What? I know. It sounds a bit absurd. Pain is an invitation. It is a quiet invitation as I said, not one that comes with trumpets and fog horns leading the charge. No, it comes like a cool gentle breeze that barely rustles the leaves to and fro. But what, you may be wondering by now is it an invitation to? What kind of invitation can come from dire straits mentioned above?
Well brothers and sisters, lay hold of the 4”x6” invitation that arrived in your spirits mailbox today. Hold it in your hand with clenched fingers as you anticipate what you may be invited to.
You open the invitation and the card reads on the outside, “You are cordially invited to…” you quickly open the card to read the message on the inside in gold sophisticated penmanship. The inside of the card reads one simple word.
That’s right. Healing. You are cordially invited to healing.
The word Healing carries all sorts of connotations and misunderstandings. It carries an anticipation of being let down. What if the healing we prayed for doesn’t pan out? What if we aren’t healed? What if our mind is not restored? What if this wound gets infected or broken open again by another situation. What if….!! “What if” can go on and on from now until eternity.
For every “what if” there is an opportunity – an invitation – to believe that healing is possible. It’s an invitation to trust in the God of the universe despite the outcome. It is making the choice to actually feel the pain and the hurt without numbing it, flying past it with busyness or flat out ignoring it.
Healing is often looked at to be a “taboo” or super churchy topic that we “normal” church people tend to shy away from discussing. Healing seems to be reserved for the ultra holy men and women of the church long ago.
As modern day believers we want healing to carry with it some sort of guarantee because it feels like a “too good to be true” promise. In the words of Tommy Boy, “If you want me to take a crap in a box and label it guaranteed, I will, I’ve got the time.”
Let’s be real. We don’t need a guarantee of healing. We need the courage and faith to lay hold of the invitation to step into the healing process. We need to recognize that while God is the healer, he wants us to walk out the healing, to be changed by the healing, to come to deeper faith and intimacy with him through the healing.
The healing is the icing on the cake and the cake is what we walk through to get to healing. Icing on its own lacks substance.
Healing, in my experience, is an invitation because we have a choice whether or not to receive it. We have the choice to numb the pain or feel it. We have the choice to work through the relationships tied to the pain. Or not. It’s up to us.
We have the choice to use the pain as an excuse for our behavior. We can play the role of victim. We ignore it. We pretend the pain isn’t there or we blame the pain or perpetrator of our pain. We are tied up in knots and in anguish over the past hurt, current pain or even what may or may not happen in the future because of the bone-deep scars we wear.
But this is often where we go wrong. We put our hope, our belief in the unspoken guarantee of this life panning out based on our preconceived idea of how it should look. In the process we miss the promise, the excitement, the growth potential from the invitation to walk through the healing process.
What does it look like to accept the invitation to be healed?
Healing is never just about the physical. It’s about the whole person – mind, body, soul and spirit. Healing is about faith in God’s ability to heal, but continued trust when we don’t get the outcome we want.
The willingness to FEEL the pain and not run from it is exactly how we accept the invitation to be healed. The willingness to TRUST that God will make good of all the hurt. The willingness to BELIEVE that God will comfort me when I need it. It is embracing the COURAGE to keep walking through the pain, and not around it.
The question I leave with you today is this: will you accept the invitation to be healed? Will you embrace the Father, and trust that even though the pain feels unbearable right now, that he is there with you in the middle of that storm? He is holding you. He is using this hurt to develop your character and to enable you to step into the role in which he is calling you to on this earth.
In the same way that Jesus asked the invalid at the pool of Bethesda, he is asking you the same question today, “do you want to get well?” (John 5:1-9) Do you want to get well? Accept the invitation to FEEL the pain, BELIEVE God will comfort you, TRUST God will use the pain and have COURAGE to keep walking.
God, Medicine and Miracles by Dr. Daniel Fountain.