Do we always see our own wounds? Those bruises and cuts that surprise us in the shower, the papercuts when we haven’t handled paper.
These wounds set us wondering about the unnoticed injuries that we sustain through the motions of everyday life.
My emotional and spiritual wounds take me by surprise as well. Those times when a word or comment digs deeper than it should, when someone’s failing hits me like a sudden snowball to the heart. When I realize that something that happened to me days, weeks, years ago has the power to sting like a wasp’s sting.
As we go through life I don’t think we realize how our wounds affect us. Because there are ways of dealing with these small wounds, balms offered by culture and society that we are trained to unconsciously pursue. Pushing the wounds out of our mind and deeper into our bodies, convincing ourselves that we’re ok.
Because no one ever died of a thousand emotional papercuts, did they?
When I have those moments where I’m surprised by pain, a sudden surge of ouch in the midst of a regular day, I try to get over it. Because that’s what you do. We surge ahead, making do, and making peace.
I’ll process with friends, my husband, myself in the car as I’m driving, but not often enough to I process with God. My self-sufficient nature takes me to a place of self-help, of self-soothing, and I misdirect my need for healing towards my coping skills.
Why should you be beaten anymore?
Why do you persist in rebellion?
Your whole head is injured,
your whole heart afflicted.
From the sole of your foot to the top of your head
there is no soundness—
only wounds and welts
and open sores,
not cleansed or bandaged
or soothed with olive oil.
This passage sits heavily on me.
How often do I ‘take my lumps’ in this world and let them grow into welts?
How often do I shrug off the bruises in the persistence of MY own rebellion?
I look to my own self or to the world to sooth my wounds, not knowing that my wounds are clouding my judgement. These head and heart wounds have made it difficult for me to seek healing because they slink up so quietly, add up through time and space.
“From the sole of your foot to the top of your head there is no soundness – only wounds and welts and open sores.”
Our thinking is damaged.
Our hearts cannot seek true, motivated love.
Our bruises cloud our choices.
We have no soundness and no tether to rightness. Layers upon layers of varying degrees of damage can point us away from God, inwardly licking our wounds like a slinking dog.
But God offers me something different. He offers me healing, and it’s not always easy, and it’s not always pretty, but it is complete.
Our wounds are cleansed. This is the painful part. Ridding our wounds of the infections of thought and strongholds, sterilizing them and making them clean with his truth.
Our wounds are bandaged. Offering protection from the elements of the world, the grit of words and soaking of guilt, putting a layer between our newly cleansed wounds and the world.
And we are soothed with oil. There is grace for the healing, gentleness instead of hardship.
So why am I not smarter, willing to undergo this healing that brings full restoration?
Because I’m looking for my own balm in Gilead. Gilead, the famous place to source spices and medicinal herbs in the ancient world. But the world does not provide healing for God’s people.
We try our own fixes, world and home remedies, not realizing or accepting that our healer is God.
It’s scary to lay my wounds open before him. I’m afraid of the cleansing, the truth of the depth of the wound and the scouring that is needed. But that’s the only way healing can begin. When I present my brokenness before him, arms in front, head bowed, exposed and willing, then he is able to begin his healing work.
And the bandages become badges of honor.
And the oil becomes anointing.
And I begin afresh.