This post originally published on TheCourage.com.
“Jesus come and break my fear
Awake my heart and take my tears
Find Your glory even here
When the hurt and the healer collide.”
(The Hurt and the Healer, MercyMe)
There is so much brokenness in our world today that is hard for our hearts to digest. Devastating storms, mass shootings, the sex-trafficking epidemic, sudden loss of loved ones, life-altering illnesses, marriage betrayal, prodigal children, … the list is long.
Our world is craving redemption but we can’t get there without going through the painful and painstaking healing process.
When your 4-year-old scrapes his knee, you clean it carefully, rummage through the medicine box (or your purse because mom’s purse carries all of the essentials for life) for the antibiotic cream and the superhero-themed Band-Aids. Nourishing cuddles and boo-boo kisses dispersed along with a sizeable dose of “it’s going to be okay, buddy” accolades.
But at some point, the wound will need to be left open. Keeping it covered with a Band-Aid will trap in the moisture and promote the growth of bacteria and possible infection. The wound will need to be exposed to heal.
As a young teenager, our oldest daughter had spinal fusion surgery for Scoliosis. She donned a form-fitting body brace made of crushing plastic, unrelenting metal and Velcro that sounded like prison bars slamming shut every time we strapped her in. She endured this contraption for about two years prior to her surgery. The brace came off due to a major growth spurt that it wasn’t able to support and her surgery was scheduled.
The surgery involved taking pelvic bone for grafting and attaching titanium rods approximately 8” long on either side of her spine. I can’t hear Sia’s “Titanium” without thinking of my daughter. She’s not bulletproof but her resilience to overcome challenges is as strong as those two titanium rods in her back.
Just a few days after we got settled in at home for the lengthy recovery process, she developed excruciating pain in the bone graft site. The doctor sent us straight back to the hospital. She had developed a serious staph infection.
They took her back into surgery, cleaned out the site and then had to leave it open for several days for more cleaning. Reimagine nourishing (but gentle) cuddles, kisses and loads of encouragement even though we had no confirmation that this was all going to be okay.
This several year process of suffering from scoliosis and recovering from surgeries and infections shaped our daughter’s heart into a kind of beauty that we could never have accomplished alone with our limited parenting toolkit. Her scars are a priceless reminder of God’s grace in the pain and she wears them proudly.
I could gush on and on about how strong my daughter was (and is) but my point for this post has to do with how her wound needed to be left open in order to heal. As painful as it was.
As individuals and as a culture, we are desperate for healing. However, many of us are often looking for ways to skirt around the pain and not deal with it. Nourishing cuddles, boo-boo kisses, Band-Aids, and accolades will comfort for a moment but one thing is clear…
We cannot keep our wounds closed and expect them to heal.