There's an important principle I want to develop from yesterday's devotional (WOUNDED, BUT BETTER NOW) that I couldn't give the attention it needed due to space constraints. So I want to do that today.
While discussing the time I had been wounded I wrote, "I had to totally hide it. (Only my wife knew.) I covered it up, and continued to try and perform so I could meet day to day expectations. In other words, in the midst of constant pain I tried to appear 'normal.'"
We are all wounded in many ways. Some of these are the result of normal life events. The passing away of a loved one, the loss of a job, or a natural disaster that destroys our property. We all face these types of events, they are a shared element of our human condition. As a result, we tend to have a level of compassion for them. We "make space" for the recovery process.
My Dad passed away with very little warning. We had only 48 hours from the cardiac incident that brought him to the hospital until he went home to be with Jesus and his beloved wife Ann. When that happened, every business meeting I had planned for the coming week was cancelled. My colleagues at work stepped in and graciously handled everything on my behalf. When I did return to work, there was a period of time where my focus and capacity were diminished by my grief. Everyone with whom I dealt understood, and was most gracious.
They did, of course, expect me to recover. They fully anticipated a relatively rapid return to normal focus and operational skill.
But there are deep and painful wounds that slash our lives without warning. Their pain is overwhelming and debilitating. Even paralysing. Yet because of the way the trauma has been inflicted upon us we feel as thought we must hide it. We may feel guilty or ashamed. I've spoken with victims of rape and other sexual abuse who were unwilling to report the incidents to the police. I've ministered to people who've aborted their children.
These victims were unable to share their pain, even with close family members. (I chose that word "victim" deliberately in relation to those who've had abortion. Though they were participants in the event, it does not change the fact that abortion has two victims.) Many of us feel as though we must hide our wounds from those around us. Cover them up, and continue to try and perform so we can meet the day to day expectations of others. In the midst of constant pain, we try to appear "normal."
The full verse from the prophet Isaiah brings more insight.
HE WAS PIERCED FOR OUR REBELLION, CRUSHED FOR OUR SINS.
HE WAS BEATEN SO WE COULD BE MADE WHOLE.
HE WAS WHIPPED SO WE COULD BE HEALED.
Isaiah, writing some 800 years before Christ, sees with incredible accuracy elements of Messiah's crucifixion.
HE WAS PIERCED FOR OUR REBELLION
Oftentimes it is our own deliberate sin, our rebellion, which brings or increases the pain and the shame of our wounds. It is for this reason that we try to hide them. We do not want others to know how deeply we are flawed, how sinful we are. Yet the truth is that, though we may not sin in exactly the same way, we all sin. Christ was pierced for our rebellion. Our sin pierces His heart just as the Roman spear did. Now as then, the flow of blood and water bursts forth.
Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin. This is a lesson we learn from the Old Covenant and see fulfilled in the New Covenant. That John saw both blood and water is visual confirmation that Jesus had physically died; for since His heart was no loner pumping the blood the solids had separated from the plasma.
We do not need to hide in shame with our sin. HE WAS PIERCED FOR OUR REBELLION and understands it fully. The blood and water that flowed from His side can wash us white as snow.
HE WAS CRUSHED FOR OUR SINS
The weight of our sin, the painful impact of what we have done, can seem to be more than we can bear. But Jesus allowed Himself to be crushed by the heavy weight of the cross as He fell time after time upon Jerusalem's streets. His grace can free us from the crushing burden of pain.
HE WAS BEATEN SO WE COULD BE MADE WHOLE
We have a very difficult time forgiving ourselves. We know the way sin controls us, we see what others do not. There is an idiom in English that says, "Don't beat yourself up over it." It means to go easy on yourself. However, in the case of our sin, we DESERVE to be "beaten up" over it. Jesus lovingly accepts the beating we deserve, He takes our punishment upon Himself. The bible tells us that He who knew no sin actually took our sin upon Himself, so that He could give us the pronouncement of total righteousness.
HE WAS WHIPPED SO WE COULD BE HEALED
The price for sin -- every sin -- was fully paid. All that is necessary is to accept the gift that has been lovingly purchased and generously offered.
No need for shame nor regret. He knows all, and knows our failures and sins in intimate detail. Yet He loves us in spite of our sin.
No need to hide our wounds.