I have come to understand the process of hurt and healing more than I ever have before. As I prepare to fly to Florida today for a three-day healing ministry, I’ve been thinking on healing and how it works.
Healing starts with hurt. There is nothing to heal if there is nothing that has been damaged. And so our journeys through life can honestly be categorized into hurts and healings. A hurt can be something as large as being physically assaulted, or as small as a disrespectful encounter. Both tear at the fabric of our selves.
Hurt takes many forms, and is largely brushed off. Many times, brushing off a slight can be analogous to dodging a blow. You refuse to let it hurt you because you refuse to let it touch you. This is a healthy thing, and helps to keep you safe.
Sometimes, though, we are hurt and cannot brush it off. These hurts are like blades that cut deep – some cut off a part of ourselves. There is a reason I have not substantially written on this site in close to a year and a half. There are lies I have wrestled with and whispers I have believed. Those things, from both people and the Enemy, have cut my confidence in myself and my writing to the point where I could not bring myself to write anything at all. Hurts do that. They call into question a key part of who you are.
Hurts, at their core, are lies.
When people verbally put you down, the lie is that you are not worthy of any sort of real love or relationship or vulnerable intimacy. When you are assaulted, the lie is that you are not valuable and you are being treated in accordance with your value. When you are disrespected, the lie is that you are not worthy of respect and you are getting what you deserve.
These hurts – these lies – are what separate us from each other and from God. When we start to believe that we are not worthy of love or relationship, we drift apart from those who do actually love us and have relationship with us. When we believe that we are not valuable, we tell God that His handiwork isn’t that great and that we couldn’t possibly be loved by Him like other people are. When we believe that we are not worthy of respect, and that are getting what’s coming to us, we separate ourselves from ourselves and a key part of who we are is squelched.
The most key lie that Satan and his cronies tell us is that when something bad happens, we are getting what we deserve, and that if anything good happens, just wait and it’ll turn sour.
In the Garden of Eden, the serpent whispered to Eve that God was holding out on them – that God had told them He gave them everything good, but He really didn’t. And Adam and Eve took the bait – the first lie that God doesn’t actually care about us.
Understanding hurt and its root – in the world, and in yourself and the lies you believe – is essential to the next chapter: healing.
Healing is a miraculous thing. It’s something that doesn’t happen apart from God. If God really didn’t care, there would be no healing and the hurts would just pile up cutting deeper and deeper until we are all but nonexistent. God does care, and so He instituted healing.
Healing is the binding up of a wound. However, if there are particles or bacteria in a physical wound, it will not heal but rather become infected. Real healing requires cleaning out the wound first. And most of the time, the cleaning out of the wound hurts even more than when the wound was actually inflicted.
But why? Why does cleaning hurt more? Because once the damage has been done, the root cause must be addressed.
When it is a lie of worthlessness, the reason you believe it must be brought to light – not just the presence of the lie itself.
And it also hurts more because, once a wound is opened, many other things enter it.
When I was a senior in high school, I went on a medical mission trip to Haiti. It was great, and I learned a ton. On our way back to the airport, we stopped by a secluded beach next to the highway and stretched our legs. It felt amazing to walk down barefoot to the water’s edge in jeans and a sweatshirt, yet the water was not frigid (I’m looking at you, Connecticut). It was wonderful, and I felt so in awe of how God created everything to work so perfectly.
When they called out for us to return to the bus, I ran across the sand, hopping over rocks and feeling the ocean wind on my face. But one rock was a bit too big. I clipped my foot on the top of it as I leaped over, and landed in the sand on the other side. When I looked, I saw that the rock had deeply sliced my heel, leaving a large V-shaped layer of skin open. And the whole inside was full of sand. It hurt like crazy, but I limped my way back to the bus. The nurses on the team gathered around and cleaned it out the best they could (peroxide and cloth scraping out the sand = wow that really hurts), but there was still some sand in it that they could not get out.
I tell you this because the wound inflicted on my heel by the rock was the least of my worries. I knew I had hit a rock and that sharp edge had sliced me. My problems came from what entered soon after the wound was inflicted. The sand stayed and made walking difficult for a while as it rubbed nerves. Sure, most of it was removed soon after the incident, but the sand deep inside still impacted my daily life for weeks until it reached the surface and could be taken out.
The same is true of other wounds. Emotional, verbal, and spiritual wounds all do great damage. But the wound itself is only a doorway in which the Enemy stuffs in as many other lies as he can while you suffer. You might be able to clean most of it out, but he thinks he wins when you have to live with some still there.
This is where the healing is important. Lucky for us, we have a kind of secret advantage when it comes to things like this. After all, one name for our God is Healer.
We must understand that when Jesus was foretold, Isaiah said that He would “bind up the brokenhearted” and “proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners.” And this was the text which Jesus read when He first began His ministry and proclaimed Himself the promised Messiah.
Don’t you see? Jesus’ very ministry was all about healing and setting free.
He wasn’t just a good teacher, He healed those He encountered. He set free from the bondage of spiritual and emotional oppression those who sought Him.
And He doesn’t just patch our wounds, He heals them completely.
The man paralyzed from birth, whose four friends busted up a roof to lower him down to Jesus, was completely healed and walked out of the house that day.
The blind man at the side of the road called out to Jesus and He put His hands on his eyes. Jesus then asked the man what he saw, and the man said that he could see, but not very well – so Jesus did it again and made sure that his sight was restored completely.
People say all the time that their hurts are just too much. But, from a Man hated by the world and put to death, they can take courage. He was raised from the dead, and He heals completely – not just our physical infirmities, but our spiritual and emotional ones as well.
He knows your hurts. He knows your pain. He knows everything. After all, He made you. Seek Him and find your healing. Seek Him and you will be healed completely.
The cycle of hurts can cut deep, but our Healer can make you stronger than ever before.