I had a revelation today!
I was reading a blog article by Melusi Khomo and saw these words:
“He (God) is waiting to touch our deepest pain if we let Him. His healing is a type of divine exchange, in which we offer Him our hurt and He offers us His healing”
Well, I’m going to get a bit personal here, because it might help someone else.
I’m in my sixties, and over the years I have been hurt big time. I’m not going into any details because, in any case, it is not relevant to what I want to share. I have received inner wounds so terrible that no one could heal them: but Jesus healed them!
But, as Duke Vincentio said, in Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure: “in this life lie hid more thousand deaths”. He was attempting to reason away his fear of death by saying it only comes once, whereas our lives are filled with a myriad of small deaths every day.
That’s what I’m talking about: those thousand small deaths; minor wounds which don’t feel minor; hurts which pierce our souls to the core and leave us bleeding for months or years. And no one thinks it’s important, not even ourselves half the time.
I know Jesus as the healer of impossibly awful wounds. But then my husband says something to me…and he might as well have killed me. When I complain, all he says is, that he didn’t mean it. Well, he’s a man after all! Thing is, I don’t care whether he meant it: I am so hurt I can hardly speak. And he thinks it is nothing, especially as he “didn’t mean to” hurt me. So he belittles that hurt, and at that point, I split in two: my reason tells me off, and agrees with him that it is nothing. My soul however, is screaming. The pain in my soul is not only being denied by my husband, but it is now being denied by me.
Thinks: I hope he doesn’t read this!
And these thousand little deaths build up over time. A rift opens in our relationship. I don’t forgive him because there is “nothing” to forgive.
Have you been there, or is it just me?
Well, as I said, today God gave me a major revelation. My husband may think the hurt is nothing reasonable, and by now I agree with him. But Jesus feels it.
I love Malchus. He was a mere slave of the High Priest, there in the crowd who came to arrest Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemene. Peter, trying to resist the Temple Guard, drew his sword and sliced off the poor man’s ear. He deliberately picked on someone who was not important – a non-person – as after all, he would not have wanted to offend God by attacking the Religious Authority! A slave’s pain did not matter in the least.
Jesus, however, reprimanded Peter and told him to sheath his sword. He then bent down to Malchus and healed his ear. Stopped the pain and the bleeding. I mean, just look at this scene! Jesus has just prayed in an agony of spirit, sweating blood on the ground. He had just been betrayed by one of His disciples and He was about to be dragged off to be executed, horribly. One could hardly call it a sin if He had not had time to help Malchus just then. There were matters of grave importance at hand. But Jesus saw the slave’s pain, and stopped everything so He could heal him.
Interestingly, the incident is mentioned in three gospels, but only one, John, calls Malchus by his name. Peter, normally one to easily repent in tears, apparently does not bother to do this over Malchus. Peter did not regard his pain. But Jesus did. The story reminds me, in many ways, of Hagar, another slave who counted for nothing, but who was “seen” by God.
I realise that you can’t make someone care about the pain they caused. So how do you go forward? Do you bury it and ignore the festering mass it is becoming underground? Well, no need. Don’t be ashamed of the smallness of the hurt, but come to Jesus and hand it over to Him, and take His healing in exchange.
Every time you do this, you are honouring and affirming the true nature and character of our wonderful Jesus. You won’t just be asking for something, but you will be worshipping Him, by doing this. No mere human can match the lovingkindness and compassion of God. When one of those tiny naked nestlings gets thoughtlessly tossed out of the nest, God falls with it and feels its pain, momentary though it is. English translations of the bible verse where Jesus talks about the sparrow falling, tend to say “a sparrow does not fall to the ground without your Father’s will” or “without your Father’s knowledge” but the Greek just says that a sparrow does not fall to the ground without your Heavenly Father. So somehow, that little bird’s pain is in God.
How much more is yours?
Many Christians do not spend time meditating on the Cross. Their knowledge of it is vague. But when Jesus was dying on the Cross, He not only carried the sins of the whole world, but also the results of sin in the world: our pain. This was not a token pain but He literally became aware of the pain of every man, woman or child in Himself.
That is why Isaiah 53:11 states:
“by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities”
By His knowledge…the Hebrew word for knowledge is not like our English word. It does not mean to grasp mentally. It means to have actual concrete experience of something, or to ascertain using the bodily senses. As God, Jesus knew our pain because He knows all things, but He chose to know – to have actual concrete experience of our pains - in His human soul and body. That is why He refused to drink the spiced wine before being crucified. The great thing is: He can actually remember what your pain felt like, from that unknowable time on the Cross!
So, how do you live in a constant state of dying a thousand deaths daily? You can’t stop people from hurting you. But here is a way to live in constant healing and forgiveness: give every pain to Jesus and let Him heal even the smallest wounds, as well as the greatest. Don’t try and “man it out”. Healing is there so go and stand in the fountain.
It may be right to tell someone that they have hurt you, but don’t expect healing to come as they repent! They probably won’t!
I am not talking about those who hurt you so badly that it is a serious sin for them. That's another subject, but in those cases, you may have a duty to them to point out their sin and their responsibility, not so much for your good as for theirs. God desires their salvation too and you may have to be His agent in this.
Pause for a moment to consider how many deaths you have caused in the lives of others without meaning to, or without even noticing! What a horrific thought!
The article I quoted above, by Melusi Khomo, also says:
"Forgiveness, for example, releases from bitterness and from the bondage of negative ties to others, but it does not necessarily heal hurts. Demonic deliverance brings great freedom, but it does not heal hurts. God heals hurts."
This is an incredibly wise statement. How often have Christians practically bludgeoned an already-hurting brother or sister over the head, bullying them into forgiving the person who hurt them, and assuring them this will bring healing. It often doesn’t! And sometimes, you need to be healed by Jesus before you are able to forgive. If you come to Jesus with a hurt deep inside, He will not bully you! He will not hurt you even more than you already are!
Those of us who know the Holy Spirit, know how unbelievably sensitive He is in His dealings with us. Yes, He has vast Power, but to the wounded soul He is gentle beyond anything we have ever known. His touch is like the dew falling unseen on a summer morning. Think of the soft, downy underside of a dove’s breast. He is the Balm of Gilead, and it’s free.
There is no limit on the number of times per day you can “exchange” your hurt for His healing, thus preserving “the bond of peace” in your relationships. Whatever the faults of the person causing you grief, it is God’s job to straighten them out – it is not really your problem if Jesus can heal you every time you are hurt.
And every time you come to Him to exchange your hurt with His healing, you are acknowledging His suffering work on the Cross and make it worthwhile for Him. As it says, again in Isaiah 53:
“When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied”
What joy it is for Jesus to freely provide you with healing for your soul, again and again!
So then, the people who hurt us in a thousand small ways, don’t have to keep making it right with us. Jesus can do it instead.
As it is written in Psalm 64:9, prophesying about Jesus on the Cross:
“I restored that which I did not take away”
The Cross is precisely God's decision to do what we cannot do for ourselves. We cannot save ourselves and we cannot heal ourselves - or others.
If my husband does read this, he might have to do the same thing!
The link to Melusi Khomo's article is here:
All pictures are from Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" movie, featuring Malchus in Gethsemene