There’s nothing worse than when your child is injured. Whether it’s a paper cut or a slammed finger or a bleeding scratch or a broken bone, there is nothing as painful to a parent’s heart as watching his/her baby be hurt.
Our Heavenly Father feels much the same way about us, just without the helplessness that often accompanies an earthly parent. There is no moment of indecision when His children are hurt, no panic, no anxiety, no mad rush to the car or to the phone.
But I’ve noticed another significant difference—earthly parents don’t offer their children the choice to be healed. They do what has to be done, for the greater good, for the child’s well being, even if the child is kicking, screaming and protesting the entire time.
When it comes to wounds of the heart, though, God the Father gives His children the choice to be healed.
In John chapter 5, it reads in verses 1-6: Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesdaand which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
Seems like a “duh” kind of question, right? I mean, why would he be there if he didn’t want to be healed? Why would anyone want to stay in their hurt?
I can think of a reason.
Because familiar hurt is often preferable over the unfamiliar kind.
Do you want to get well?
The other week, I was driving to church, and having an emotionally rough morning. I prayed and asked Jesus to meet me, to give me something from Him, to speak to me, remind me of His love.
Immediately, He told me that in the dealings with my current wound, I was slapping on Band-Aids. Yet I needed stitches. I had been hurt—wounded to my very core. And I was trying to fix myself with surface level attempts that only masked and prolonged the pain.
Instantly after that revelation, I saw a clear picture before me, a quick video montage of me in an operating room, wearing a hospital gown, and handing Jesus the tools He needed for surgery. Then, in a moment of pure surrender, I climbed on the table and laid back. Open. Needy. Trusting. Vulnerable. Bleeding.
Do you want to be healed?
I blinked back tears then, hands tight on the steering wheel. “Yes. YES.”
Then stay on the table. Let me do my healing work.
The truths that kept coming to me after that vision were enough to make me pull the car over. He was right—I had been getting good at the surrender part, but wasn’t staying on the operating table. I kept getting up too soon, declaring myself okay and applying yet another Band-Aid when I still had gaping wounds in need of closure.
I clearly felt Him reassure my spirit that I would be healed, and that I would get up again—but for now, my job was to stay. Just stay. And quit trying to rush and force and fake the process.
I proceeded to write the word STAY on my index finger in black ink every day for a week, just to remind myself not to default to my old habits of Band-Aid application. I got what I asked for that Sunday morning, and a lot more than I bargained for at the same time, but nothing has been the same since.
Pain can be scary. But, as Jesus had to remind my heart, perfect love casts out fear. Pain is part of the healing process, and an unavoidable one. Yeah, surgery hurts. Stitches hurt. Cleaning a wound hurts. But the consequences of ignoring the wound are even greater than the pain that comes with the healing—germs, infection, disease.
Sure, He could stop the surgery, and therefore temporarily stop the pain. But at what cost?
He doesn’t want me to fear the pain. Its very presence is a sign of healing in itself. Jesus could leave my wound alone—could let it fester and rot and eventually take over my entire being. Consume me. Break me.
But His heart is to heal me.
Not just the symptoms, but the root.
We get the choice. We can avoid the pain, or we can go through it to the other side.
There is no other side without pain in the middle.
So stay. Stay on the table. Let the pain do its beautiful work, because as uncomfortable as it is, it won’t last forever. And the hands of the Surgeon holding the tools are more than capable.
And when it’s time to get up, that nail-scarred hand will reach for your own and coax you back on your feet. You’ll stand, inspect, and realize…
You’re on the other side.
No more Band-Aids required.
Betsy St. Amant has a heart for three things - chocolate, new shoes and sharing the amazing news of God's grace through her novels. She lives in Louisiana with her adorable story-telling young daughter, a collection of Austen novels, and an impressive stash of Pickle Pringles. A freelance journalist and fiction author, Betsy is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and is multi-published in Contemporary Romance. Her ninth Love Inspired novel will release January 2014, while her first YA novel, ADDISON BLAKELY, CONFESSIONS OF A PK, released 2012 through Barbour Books. When she’s not reading, writing, or singing along to the Tangled soundtrack with her daughter, Betsy enjoys inspirational speaking and teaching on the craft of writing and can usually be found somewhere in the vicinity of a white-chocolate mocha. You can read more from Betsy at www.betsystamant.com and www.writergetsreal.blogspot.com.