Pain and the Process of Healing

As a retired nurse I understand a little about the process of wound healing. Sometimes the pain of a wound is matched or exceeded by the pain of cleaning and repairing, and even healing. The body’s process of healing a wound can be very uncomfortable for a while, but in the end the pain goes away, and you are left with a scar to remind you of the wound. If you’ve had the wound for a long time, the relief is almost overwhelming.

A Christian who is seeking to grow in their relationship with God will eventually reach a place where God will touch an old wound with the intention of healing it. We may initially resist because of the pain it causes us, through the memories of how we received the wound, shame and embarrassment about having the wound at all, or even fear of allowing God to touch it in order to heal it. It’s a necessary process because we can never be made whole without the healing, and God can’t proceed to transform us until we allow Him to deal with our wound.

We are created to be the image and likeness of God. Men and women each reflect a different characteristic of the nature of God, they are complementary to each other, both are necessary, and together they present a more complete (but not comprehensive) picture of who God is. However, we are all under the curse of sin and because of it we have become a poor imitation of what we were intended to be. By surrendering ourselves to Christ and becoming his disciples we not only seek to be in an intimate relationship with God but also to be that for which we are created.

Because we are under sin, each of us carries a wound. How the wound was inflicted is different for each of us, but as long as the wound is there we can never enjoy the relationship with God we seek. We may live for years with the wound, and may in fact learn to ignore or suppress the pain. But as we allow God to form us back into His image, there will come a time when He will require us to enter back into the wound and meet Him there. Only then can the healing process begin.

The healing process will require something from us. Recognition of the consequences of our being wounded, and how we may have in turn wounded someone else. It may require asking for and granting forgiveness, which is almost a given. It may involve helping those we’ve wounded with beginning their own process of healing. If we allow Him, God will show us what must be done. It’s important to remember that the wound won’t heal until it is cleaned out first, and that’s our part of the process.

When God brings you to this place, it can be shocking and very uncomfortable. Having recently experienced this, I can tell you it will rock you back on your heels. You may have never considered the things in your life of which you are ashamed or embarrassed as being the result of being wounded; you may have just blamed yourself for not being able to overcome them or “be better”. You may not have even been aware of the wound in the first place. You may have worked hard to bury it deep and forget about it. Whatever the case, when you think you’re doing pretty well, and God is at work on you, having this brought to your attention can be difficult, but it can also be liberating. For the first time in your life, you finally understand that it wasn’t just you. Your wound was given to you by people who were just as wounded, because that’s what we do. We can’t give strength and affirmation where we don’t have any ourselves.

If this is where you find yourself, I pray you’ll surrender it to God and let Him give you the healing you need. The process will be uncomfortable, even painful, but the wholeness and health you’ll gain will be more than worth it. It’s all a part of the process of letting God return us to what He intended us to be in the beginning. Our scars remind us of the scars borne by the One who died to reconcile us and open the way back to God.


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