“Why is my pain unceasing, my wound incurable, refusing to be healed? Will you be to me like a deceitful brook, like waters that fail?” Jeremiah 18:15 ESV
As a chronically sick person, I can so identify with Jeremiah’s way of expressing his and Israel’s pain in this way. The help that doesn’t come is unbearable. Spiritual wounds can feel like this too, never-ending, incurable, seeping and festering.
In my prayer time today the Lord shared with me about the idea of a “soul wound,” a place in us where the enemy finds a potential weakness. He wounds us there, and keeps stabbing away at the same place over and over again, so that each time we think we have got a handle on it and found healing, it is opened up again and never gets a chance to truly be made well. We looked back over the toughest times in my life and I saw in a way I’ve not been able to comprehend before, that each time I was soul wounded, it happened in several similar areas. I wonder if this is the same for other people too? It could be a myriad of things. Loneliness, helplessness, disappointment, misunderstanding, cruelty, abuse, violation of boundaries, addiction, fear of commitment, running with the crowd. You name a weakness and it is doubtless exploitable. The thing is, if the devil can keep picking away at the scab, and sticking those places with any sharp object he can find, that place will become weaker and weaker and its defence non-existent. So we end up with a seemingly incurable wound.
But what I was also shown, was that each of these wounds is based on or around a lie which we can counteract with scripture. So, for instance, a false aim, like trying to be good enough for God to love you. The premise that you need to strive to be good enough is a lie. You don’t need to try, because you never will be good enough for God to love you. God loves you now, already, as you are. “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” (Romans 5:8 NLT) God does the doing in this relationship. “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NLT)
Another one might be finding yourself constantly misunderstood. The lie here is that no-one understands you. But God does.
“You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.” Psalm 139: 1-4 NIV
Unike Achilles, most of us have more than one dodgy heel, those places where a correctly thrown dart or spear can get under our skin and slow us down. To be sure of what they are, we can listen to the discouraging voices that appear whenever we resolve to do something good, kind or for God. These will most likely also be the same discouragements that try to tempt us away from God’s will. They nearly always have their roots, just as temptations do, in three kinds of misrepresentation. Misrepresentation of God’s word: “did God really say that?” asks the serpent, pointing out other verses and counting on us not to bother to check their validity, context or cultural relevance. Misrepresentation of God’s character: “is God really good? He wouldn’t have done that if he were! He wouldn’t have given me these parents, let that happen” etc. And lastly the misrepresentation of our identity and worth in Christ: “you’re no good, you’re not good enough, you’ll never measure up”, and at the other end of the worth spectrum, “I deserve better, I’m better than that, I don’t need to lower myself.”
Our countering must be swift in order to stop the rot. Just as Jesus came back at the enemy in the wilderness with a neutralising scripture as the antidote to his poison, so can we. Scripture is holy, God is good, there is no condemnation in Christ. And so for every wound there is a lie and many corresponding truths. If we can gather the strength to collect some of these scriptures together, we might make a poultice from their collective goodness, applying them often as a balm to those stubborn wounds. In this way healing can gradually come and the truth really can set us free.
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