“Get well soon.”
That’s what we say to our loved ones who are ill or recovering from an accident. Why don’t we say, “Get well right now“? Probably because it’s clear to us that when our bodies are injured through an accident or attacked by a virus, cancer, another person – that healing will be a process. None of us would walk into the hospital room of our friends and say “pick up your mat and walk!”
At this time in my life, I’m healing from years of deep wounds, slander and betrayal. The Lord has brought me so far, but at one point, I was overwhelmed & crushed. On the outside, I looked okay, but inside, I was in traction. I got to experience what hurt and what helped. I came to understand how critical patience and encouragement are.
Sometimes, healing and forgiveness is a long process with many setbacks. We can decide that this is the course we want to take, choose actions that move toward that goal, and ask God for His help every moment, but we can no more instantaneously change our feelings than we can will away a toothache. It takes time to heal and forgive deep wounds, from the heart.
Of course, I want to dance & sing in the joy of the LORD every day, but it turns out that too much of a good thing isn’t so good for us. It may make us very impatient with the weak who aren’t where we are.
My desire is that my patience would grow toward myself and others, whose suffering cannot be seen -those crushed in spirit. Intense, internal suffering is making a more understanding person of me. I don’t want to be quick to slap smiley-face band-aids on the deeply wounded.
“Just PRAISE the Lord!” is one such band-aid that we may slap on the suffering. But God says to “mourn with those who mourn”. Shallow words deny a person’s pain. When we’re deeply suffering in body or spirit – singing praises to the Lord is about as genuine as telling our dentist we wouldn’t rather be anywhere else than his chair!
Solomon wrote that singing songs to a heavy heart is cruel, like taking away a person’s coat in the bitter cold or pouring vinegar on their wounds. It hurts them more. (Proverbs 25:20). Instead, we should let the grief/healing process BE a process. Let there be setbacks, even. It’s normal.
It’s better to say, “Wait for the Lord. I’m waiting for Him with you.” and “You will praise Him again.” Let them feel every bit of what they are truly feeling.
Another band-aid approach to avoid is to generalize a person’s suffering by saying something like, “We’ve all had a hard life…” or “Lots of people go through this…”
Imagine going to the doctor for a check-up with some troubling symptoms and him saying, “Look, we’ve all got aches and pains, it’s part of life. Stop groaning and get over it.” Generalizing a person’s pain is just plain old thoughtless, and adds guilt on top of the suffering. This only prolongs healing. We may as well just shoot them. Instead, we should do what we hope our doctors will do… listen, care, encourage.
I asked the Lord to help me know from a place in His Word that He, Himself is patient with how long my emotional/mental healing is taking. He brought the good Samaritan to mind. Toward the end of this story, the good Samaritan takes the wounded man to a safe place where his healing could continue, however long that should take. He would pay for it.
I’m not saying there aren’t instances of miraculous “pick up your mat & walk” type healings. I’m just saying, this isn’t the norm. And thank God it isn’t, because it’s the experience of painfully SLOW healing that produces deeper healing– that is, understanding and patience that encourages and comforts with words like, “Get well soon, my friend.”
Healing with you, Jamie =)