“I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done.” –Psalm 118:17
This life offers us a lot of opportunities to get hurt.
Perhaps someone has betrayed you. Maybe there’s a death you just can’t get over. You may have unexpectedly lost a job, or you may be worried if you’ll still be employed next week. Maybe a relationship in your life has gone awry somehow. You and I have no doubt had our fair share of wounds, right? So, how do we recover from them?
The first step toward healing is that we need to admit that something is not right. We live in a fallen world with fallen people — something’s bound to go wrong! Admitting that we’re not okay can be a humbling experience, but it’s one that allows Jesus to begin His healing work in us. Something like this can be seen in psychiatry: there has to be a willingness to change before change can take place. And it starts by admitting we need help.
I think of the bleeding woman in Luke 8:43-48 who reached out to touch Jesus’ robe as He passed by. When she touched Him, her bleeding stopped. But somewhere in the 12 years she had been dealing with her condition, I bet the thought occurred to her that, “Hey, this isn’t what life is supposed to be like.” So, she reaches out to Jesus. And that’s our second step.
We can’t expect to mend spiritual or mental wounds on our own. Once we’ve decided that we are indeed hurt, we need to have an encounter with Jesus. The woman in Luke 8 reached out and touched Him. In Luke 5, a paralytic is lowered through a roof, and Jesus restores his mobility. We’re not meant to walk through life with ailments that don’t stop bleeding and make themselves hard to move on from; nor should we let our past, fears, insecurity, or whatever other baggage we carry keep us paralyzed and unable to move forward. And Jesus is the One who brings an end to our bleeding and allows us to get up and walk once more. So, doesn’t it make sense to let Him heal us, rather than trying to do it on our own?
Sometimes, like the paralytic or the bleeding woman, we’re instantly healed, but that’s not always the case. Not with wounds that affect our minds and spirits. In my experience, time, Scripture, prayer, and other people have been the best medicine. And slowly but surely, I’ve come back to a place where life is okay again.
Our third step is that we need to cling to hope. Somewhere in our grief and sadness, we need to resolve that though we may be walking through a valley, the valley will not kill us. God is just as faithful in the valley as He is on the mountaintops. And though it may feel like we’re being tried and tested, similar to what the writer says in Psalm 118:17-18, we are not going to succumb to our wounds. So, we cling to hope and life, and then we proclaim what God has done.
Our proclamations are going to sound different from one another, but they are always going to be an invitation to all who hear them into a process of healing through Jesus Christ. We may have fallen into the muck and mess of life, just to look up and find Jesus standing over us. We may have been betrayed, but we’ve found faithfulness in God. We may have come from a shaky spot in life to a place of security. We may have climbed out of a valley of questions and uncertainty, and have found once more that God is a lamp for our feet and a light for our path (Psalm 119:105.)
Healing isn’t always an easy process. It’s one that’s humbling. I imagine the paralytic who was lowered through the roof had to be in a position where he was literally lying on the ground before Jesus, helpless — not the most majestic or powerful of positions, but sometimes, life leads us to places where all we can do is lie down and wait on God, and that’s the point that we’re in a position to be healed. I think that at the end of it all, we’re left in a much better place in life. We come to a place where our bleeding stops, we can move forward, and where we can look down on the valley we walked through. And that’s living in the context of Psalm 118:17. God has not allowed our wounds to consume us, but rather, when we enter into a healing process with God, we overcome those wounds because of what He’s done in us; therefore, we have not died, but lived.