The healing of old wounds is not optional but essential to protect our lives from undesireable consequences.
It’s true we shouldn’t dwell in the past and rehearse the hurts and injustices we’ve suffered, or our regrets and shame. It’s also true that unless we have dealt properly with a shattering experience of the past, faced the pain and processed it in a healthy way, the unhealed wounds will inflict further injury.
On a recent Sunday morning, our pastor remarked that we often turn to the Psalms for comfort in times of anguish. I could have raised my hand in agreement. I love the Psalms; some are pure poetry of praise and others grant me permission to cry out to God with gut-wrenching honesty. What I love most is how the comfort and reassurance of God’s living word washes over me in moments of distress or anxiety.
The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth. He fulfills the desire of those who fear Him; He also hears their cry and saves them. Psalm 145:18-19
My pastor said we would look at Psalms of lament today. Wait! Do we have to talk about lament? I didn’t say this out loud, but admittedly, a part of me was disappointed. (There’s a certain irony in my reaction here, as you’ll see).
To lament is to express sorrow or to mourn or to regret strongly. Oh well. I sighed, settled in as always, and prepared to take notes. Three of my notecards were scribbled full by the end of that sermon, which was inspiring as well as instructive. Plus, it affirmed something God had already shown me in my own life journey.
— Healing is Not Optional it is Essential —
Typically, in a Psalm of lament, a request is made to God and then a remembrance of what God has graciously done in the past is offered up. What follows is the largest portion of the lament which reflects the anguish, distress and pain of a situation endured. It is like a re-enactment. It’s the part many of us skip over when we bear wounds not yet healed.
This was true of me for decades. I didn’t allow myself to deal with experiences that were the most painful and devastating. It seemed too hard, hurt too much, I determined not to go there. Instead, I forged ahead and didn’t look back, enabled by my innate ability to ‘stuff’ my feelings.
My pastor explained that if we don’t address the emotional effects of trauma, which enables us to experience healing – it will surface again in other ways.
He told us he checked this out with our on-staff Care Ministry Director, a psychologist, and she said yes, it is true. If we don’t go through a healing process following a shattering experience, the open wound will fester to surface later in the form of addiction or rage or an eating disorder or some other type of destructive behavior. Again, I could raise my hand in agreement: to habitually tolerate abusive treatment is a type of destructive behavior.
— God is the Healer of All Wounds —
I believe it breaks the heart of Jesus when we live with unhealed wounds rather than acknowledge them and turn to Him. He quoted the prophet Isaiah in Luke 4:18:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor and He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed…”
When we don’t experience healing of wounds inflicted on our soul, the core of our being, we are captive to them, blind to the havoc they cause in our lives and oppressed by the unseen weight of them in our spirit. To this truth I hereby testify.
— If you can identify, please, don’t allow yourself to remain in this trap —
The path to healing may look different for each of us. For a few, healing may occur in an instant, for most us, it is a process. We must:
- Acknowledge the presence of unhealed wounds
- Ask God to guide our path to healing
- Allow Him to meet our need along the way
God may bring dear friends alongside (when we are open to seek their support) who help bear our burden and walk with us to the destination of healing.
Perhaps, like me, you may also seek a professional counselor to help unravel tangled events of the past. Whatever the personal process is for you, know that God’s desire is for your well-being through healing, you are loved.
“’For I will restore you to health and I will heal you of your wounds,’ declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 30:17
It is then we declare with the psalmist David:
“O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and You healed me.” Psalm 30:2 (NASB)
And then… Let the past rest, but let it rest in the sweet embrace of Christ. Leave the broken, irreversible past in His hands, and step out into the invincible future with Him. – – –Oswald Chambers
Be encouraged, our hope is in the Lord,