these wounds that Stay.

We all have them: battle wounds. Perhaps we haven’t all been to war, but we all have our battle wounds from being alive. I’ve heard it said that life is a dance and you learn as you go – what a beautiful idea…if you lived in a bubble. Life is better described as a battle. Fyodor Dostoevsky once wrote that “God and the devil are fighting…and the battlefield is the heart of man.” Dostoevsky, in my opinion, has it far more correct. The battlefield is our hearts and the wounds we get in this battle hang around, they go deeper than we even realize.

Recently I was telling Mr. Irish about wounds that I have from old relationships and how sometimes, without realizing it, he reopens those old wounds, he hits those nerves. These wounds are wounds that I forgot I even had, wounds that I got years ago in this battle of life, wounds that I thought had healed. Now, I know deep in my heart that Mr. Irish didn’t cause those wounds and that he doesn’t mean to hit those nerves – but perhaps they get hit because they haven’t fully healed. Sure, they scab over, but they don’t really heal. These wounds – and we all have them – stick around…until we invite God in to heal them.

There is an episode of Grey’s Anatomy (an annoyingly guilty pleasure of mine) called “These Ties That Bind” and its one of my favorite episodes. In it, nearly all of the main characters deal with something from their past, something that is keeping them from moving on, from living in the moment, from becoming the person they could and should be. Just the name of the episode makes you think – what ties are binding me? And why would I want to be bound in the first place? That sounds like such an unpleasant word (unless we are talking about marriage). But to be bound by ties, to be held back sounds so unpleasant, so uncomfortable, so restrictive and yet we allow ourselves to be bound, we bind ourselves by the wounds that run so deep. We bind ourselves by the wounds (and there are so many) that we fail to give to God to heal. We try to bandage them up ourselves and then move on. Perhaps those bandages we put on the wounds are the very things that bind us, that keep us from healing and moving on completely.

This summer I blogged about holding on and how it is often the easier choice in life. We hold on to our wounds, often times without realizing we are doing so. We hold on because they are our cross to bear. We hold on to the wounds that our parents leave (though they try their best, they inevitably leave wounds because they too are human), we hold on to the wounds that failed relationships leave us with, we hold on to the pain because we know it, because we are familiar with it. I heard a story recently from a conference where the speaker invited everyone in the audience to write down on pain in their life that they wish they could get rid of and never deal with again and then take that piece of paper and put it in a basket at the front of the room. People RAN to get rid of pains in their lives. Then the speaker said that you had to take a pain back from the basket – most people dug around until they found their own. We don’t want new pain, we get used to our own familiar pains and wounds. The wounds become this thing that is simply a part of us, they define who we are and how we function.

Then I started thinking about Jesus’ wounds. After His death on the cross, His wounds defined Him. Thomas refused to believe that Jesus had come back until he could put his finger in Jesus’ wounds.

People knew it was truly Jesus by His wounds. His wounds defined Him…then. True, we identify Jesus by His wounds, by the holes in His hands, His feet and His side, but His wounds don’t define Him. Jesus is defined by His love, by the peace He offers all of His children. He is defined by His miraculous conception and birth, by His the way He lived His life, by the way He continues to guide His children. Most pictures of Jesus show His wounds, but they aren’t usually the focus of the picture, Jesus is usually doing or holding something.

Why do we still see, paint, imagine, depict Christ with His wounds?

Don’t you think that once He ascended into Heaven He was prefectly healed of His wounds? Why would we want to be continually reminded of the wounds that He endured, the pain He endured on our behalf? There are two reasons we continue to see Jesus with His wounds:

  1. Perhaps it is in our sufferings that we are most united to Jesus. It is easy to give Him praise when everything is going right, but when we are suffering we can most unite our sufferings to His, and we come to understand His heart in a different and a deeper way.
  2. Seeing Christ with His wounds gives us hope. It might sound weird, but remember how I said that most of the time in pictures we see Him doing something? We find hope in that because we see His wounds, which are far deeper, both emotionally and physically than ours and yet we see Him triumphing over them. We see Him ascending to heaven. We see Him as the sower, we see Him comforting others, we see Him overcoming those wounds and deep down that is the same thing we desire, to overcome our wounds.

Give your wounds to Jesus. Let Him truly heal them. We find hope in Him because even though the depths of His wounds are unimaginable (I certainly wouldn’t want to take on the sins of the entire human race), He overcomes them. He triumphs not only over sin but over the wounds we sustain in life. Allow Him to heal your wounds so that you too may overcome, may move forward, and that you would be closer to His loving, healing, unbroken heart.

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