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We are wounded healers

To be human is to suffer pain, it’s to feel wounded and to struggle to get to a place of healing. No one is immune and some people have so much pain in their lives, you cringe and shake your head. For example, there’s Marvin, the Filipino boy in the picture here. He had Meningitis. His family had…
By Seth Barnes
marvin with his dadTo be human is to suffer pain, it’s to feel wounded and to struggle to get to a place of healing. No one is immune and some people have so much pain in their lives, you cringe and shake your head. For example, there’s Marvin, the Filipino boy in the picture here. He had Meningitis. His family had to continually pump an artificial breathing apparatus by hand to keep him alive. That’s what his father is doing in the picture.
 
Another example: I know a family of five, three of whom have had cancer, one of whom died. And the other two family members have had their own excruciatingly painful situations. What do you say to people whose every day is a struggle?

I don’t know what you do when you’re in the midst of it. It can feel like torture. My son Seth was there to watch Marvin slowly die. He tried to help – it ripped his heart open to see Marvin’s family without even $50 for medicine or, afterward, for a coffin (you can read his blog about it). 
 
I find it helpful to get the big picture. We have an enemy who hates us, who wants to destroy our families and us. We occupy a world where he contests our creator for everything. It’s a spiritual battlefield and we’re in the middle. Wounding happens, but so does healing – it happens all the time.

And as we get our own healing, we become candidates to help our creator in his vast project to rescue other people from their pain. When Jesus announced the beginning of his ministry, he named as his targets those who were in pain: the poor, the prisoners, the blind, and the oppressed.

God knows our hurts and what they cost us. He honors our wounds by using them to heal others who are struggling as we have struggled. Nouwen says, “The main question is not ‘How can we hide our wounds?’ so we don’t have to be embarrassed, but ‘How can we put our woundedness in the service of others?’ When our wounds cease to be a source of shame, and become a source of healing, we have become wounded healers.”

Of course Jesus is the original wounded healer. As Isaiah said, “He was bruised for our transgressions.” He didn’t just die on the cross for our sins, he lived a life of poverty. He was homeless. He was constantly being rejected. He was surrounded by pain and people asking him incessantly to help them get out of it. At the end, even his followers had turned their backs on him and he felt as though his Father had as well.

Jesus may not be healing us as fast as we want, but he understands our pain. He’s been there. It’s his intent to use it for good – to help heal others. When at last we join him as wounded healers, it’s a beautiful thing. In fact, when he uses your pain as his surgical tool to heal another, it becomes one of his greatest and most redemptive miracles.
 
So many wounds are emotional. Jesus will heal you if you’d let him touch your pain. And when he’s done working on you, he’ll draft you as a wounded healer. A good first step may be prayer – if I or any of my blog ministers can help, please reach out to us.

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