“…YES, BUT IT’S A GOOD HURT….”
My most recent devotional post for the WONDERSWORD blog:
Hebrews 4:12-16 (ESV)
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need….”
“…YES, BUT IT’S A GOOD HURT….”
Please forgive me for the tardiness of this latest posting. And will you permit me a moment of vulnerability? Perhaps my very personal situation will encourage some of you?
A couple weeks ago, the Lord gave me a revelation in my spirit of some harbored unforgiveness, particularly from an abusive situation over ten years ago, and how it might be related to my current physical struggles (why, most recently, I have not experienced healing in a particular pain issue). This has proven to be a somewhat consuming spiritual wrestling match ever since.
Then this past Sunday morning and Monday night, through the prophetic ministry of a guest speaker in our church, the Lord began a penetrating work in my heart that pierced so deeply, touching some of the “nerve center” of this very same unforgiveness/bitterness issue. I am prone to sensing things on a deeply emotional level, but I haven’t wept like this except in grief over the death of a loved one. It was a kind of remorse that just gripped me and wouldn’t let go.
I had no idea the extent to which the wounding from this past situation still had a hold on me; but worse, some of the fruit of that has been that I have often, then, “retaliated” in other ways with other people. I have heard that men are more apt to manifest depression with “anger” and women with “sadness” ~ but I definitely manifest more the “anger” side, and I seem to implement both “fight” AND “flight” responses for self-preservation. You could say that on the one hand I pick a fight, and then find whatever ways I can to hide.
Like I’m now become, in some ways, the very Bully that I’ve always despised.
I know it doesn’t all stem from this one situation, but it feels like I was somewhat “arrested” in that stage because of it.
This has affected not only my relationships with other people (men and dating relationships in particular), but also people in positions of authority (especially in church leadership). I am hyper-sensitive to what I perceive as rejection or “abuses,” and have fancied myself something of a protector of, or vigilante on behalf of others I perceive to be “victims” of the same. As if I thought I wore a super-hero uniform emblazoned with “Champion of the TRUTH!”
In the past several months, the Lord has been teaching me to identify my own pride (and “fear of man”) in these things, but in recent weeks it has produced a definite “breaking” ~ the Lord (he is SO good!) has been gently stripping away my excuses, stripping away my expectations, stripping away my own self-loathings (which are their own kind of prison, and a way in which the Enemy of our souls gets a foothold in our lives!), and I know our loving Father was opening my heart to a longing to love and serve others like I’ve never experienced before.
A heart more like HIS.
This is, presently, accompanied by such a regret over times the Lord has so far shown me where I have hurt others ~ this has produced such a heart sickness in me, but I think it is a necessary grieving process, because it is part of the mourning over my own sin, and desiring to somehow make restitution if/where possible….(See, for example, Paul’s distinguishing between “worldly sorrow” which produces death, versus “godly sorrow” which produces repentance and gives LIFE!, 2 Corinthians 7:8-13.)
Since Monday night, and this “piercing” of the Word and the loving presence of the Lord THROUGH it, I have also – by the grace of God! – sensed a definite improvement in some of my physical symptoms as well. And I believe the Lord is HEALING me, in more ways than one….
There is a favorite movie quote of mine to the effect of, “Do you suppose if a hurt goes real deep, that the healing of it hurts as much as what caused it?”
….Yes. But it’s a good hurt….
For further reading, please read Hebrews ch. 12 (of which, verses 1-15 and 28-29 are posted here from the ESV):
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; ….
Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.”