Graceline: To heal, sometimes you have to hurt

March 18, 2013 

I was not expecting it. I wasn’t looking for it. Then all of a sudden, wham! My Journey was detoured down a road I did not desire to take.

It was silly how it happened. I reached over into the back seat of the car to get the proof of our newsletter and picked it up by the corner. As I brought it over the front seat, the paper slung around and hit me right in the eye. I thought I was going to die.

The pain was intense. My vision blurred. Tears streamed down my cheek. I immediately covered my eye with my hand in an effort to keep out the light. My eye was on fire.

All kinds of horrible emotions and thoughts flooded my soul. “How could you be so stupid? Now you will never be able to see again. Your day is ruined. Who will teach Bible study tonight? You’re letting the people down again. Now we have another doctor bill to pay.” And on and on ad nauseam.

I only go to the doctor as a last resort. This episode was both. The doctor came in, introduced herself, looked into my eye. She asked me to lean back so she could put numbing drops in my eye. The pain stopped immediately. It was wonderful.

While sitting there in blissful, painlessness state, she gave me the bad news. “The effects of those drops will wear off in about 10 minutes. We can’t give you any more numbing drops because your eye won’t heal as long as we keep it numb.”

After that bit of encouragement, she gave me more drops and ointment she said would burn like the dickens but would heal my eye and keep infection out. She was right on both counts. It healed and burned like the dickens.

I returned to my office to finish my Bible study for that night. However, the more I looked at the one-eyed monster (my computer), the more my eye hurt. I finally gave in and went home to lie down and keep my eye closed. I discovered if I would lie real still and not move my eyes, the pain would decrease and I could rest. I had to lie there for three days. I didn’t even feel like praying. It was an awful feeling.

Finally on Saturday, my vision improved and the pain started to subside. I was starting to feel like a human being again. The key to my recovery was following the doctor’s orders. T

While flat on my back all week, I had a lot of time to commune with the Lord. I knew He would not let this learning opportunity slip by without showing me something good from it. Here’s what He revealed to me:

Due to the fall of man, life in this world is full of danger. Sin, the world, the devil and our un-surrendered soul are constantly trying to drag us down into the pit of despair and hopelessness.

Sometimes traumatic events happen due to no fault of our own. They bring much pain, suffering and grief into our lives. We are living and enjoying life and all of sudden, wham! Something hits us in the eye, and our life is dramatically altered.

Whenever a traumatic event invades our life, the pain drives us to try to prevent further damage. The eyelid of our soul closes tightly to protect it from further invasion. That creates another problem. For all the good our protective devices do to keep us safe, they also keep out the things that can restore and heal our wounded soul.

God is the only one who can heal, fix, restore and mend a wounded soul. He sometimes allows really painful events to put us on our backs in order to reveal our inadequacies. Though our soul will disagree, that’s a really good place to be.

It’s a shame we have to let the enemy of our soul inflict so much devastation upon our lives before we are ready to submit to Dr. Jesus. The enemy slashes a gash in our soul, and immediately, we try to cover it up to prevent further damage and pain. Then when someone does come with help, with healing truth and grace, we won’t take our hand away and allow them access to the wound.

It is instinctive to protect a hurting member of our body as well as our soul. That’s why we layer over our unmet needs, unhealed hurts and unresolved issues with strongholds of self-control, self-protectiveness, self-denial and self-centeredness. Until those layers are stripped away, Dr. Jesus cannot apply the healing ointment of grace to the painful area.

In the meantime, we usually put numbing drops on our wounds to dull the pain. Our soul cries out for numbing drops such as alcohol, drugs, sex, workaholism, perfectionism, religiosity, eating disorders, soul ties, etc.. But just like the doctor said, the wound won’t heal with numbing drops even though the absence of pain feels marvelous. They wear off quickly and the wound only becomes worse.

Finally, by the grace of God, we come to the end of ourselves. We surrender to Dr. Jesus and open our wounded soul to His healing touch. As we submit to His healing hand, the pain begins to subside and our vision begins to clear. Slowly but surely, hope returns.

We begin to understand what Paul was talking about in I Corinthians 13:12: “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”

The more we apply His eye salve to our wounded soul, the more of His light and goodness we will see. The more we trust Him, the more we see Him as He really is. A glimpse of Jesus will save you, but a gaze will fill you with joy unspeakable and full of glory. It is a process. But slowly and surely, we begin to enjoy life rather than endure it. Life gets better and more exciting with each new day.

“The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.” (Proverbs 4:18)

Lean your head back and open your eyes. It’s time for another dose of grace and truth, and put on your Son-glasses so the light won’t hurt your eyes.

The Journey offers Lay Aside Every Weight to help the process. Blessing!

Kenny Ashley is pastor of The Journey, which meets Sundays at Oakridge Middle School in Lake Wylie.

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