‘Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.’ Psalm 139: 23- 24
As a medical doctor on emergency and surgical duty, wound care was one of the major aspects of duties to attend to each day. Often people would come in with different degrees of injuries that required some form of medical intervention.
Although practically every wound was different in how it occurred, how it presented, and of course its complete treatment, there was a system to managing them that was common to all of them. You would be surprised by how much this also applies to things in life that hurt and leave ‘invisible’ wounds in our lives. Continue reading as I shed more light on how tackling these wounds require a process closer to medicine than you ever imagined or thought possible.
One of the major steps in caring for the wound is to expose it. Usually at the time the wound occurs, the patients would find the nearest and best thing to cover the wound. This would usually be parts of clothing, dirty rags and for a few, clean bandages. No matter which of these had been used in covering up the wound before they arrived in the hospital, the doctor or nurse would first have to expose the wound. As simple as this sounds, it is one of the most important steps. The cloth may have been useful at the time it was applied to the wound, it may have stopped the bleeding, may have prevented more dirt from entering the wound or may have hidden the sight of the injury from some eyes or the patient’s own to give some relief. What ever the reason was, at that moment the doctor or nurse was taking care of it, it just had to GO. By taking it off, they would be better able to see what was actually going on underneath, the extent of the wound, what else was involved and with this, what specific treatment was required. No two wounds were exactly the same and unless the wound had been well exposed and examined, the treatment for one would not automatically be prescribed for the other.
If the wound is not exposed and goes on to be treated with the nicest treatments, one of several things may happen. If it is a very shallow wound and not contaminated with dirt or other impurities, it may go on to heal and not have any complications and probably not even leave a scar. However, if it was a deep wound, probably with a broken bone or torn muscles, and contaminated, a lack of exposure and going ahead to dress it even with the best bands and ointments will not lead to healing but rather to a festering wound that will leave a nasty scar even if it manages to heal or an infection that goes bone deep and may require surgery.
I find this to be true of the ‘wounds’ I have acquired in life as well. Maybe it was an unkind word spoken to me, ingratitude shown when I had done something from my heart, perhaps I was gossiped about, a relationship I was hopeful about broke apart or someone stole from me. Believe it or not, all these things have happened to me at one point or the other and most likely to you as well. Perhaps when these happened I grabbed the nearest cloth or ‘bandage’ around and covered it so it wouldn’t ‘bleed’ anymore, so it would stop hurting or so that no one would know that I had just acquired a nasty wound. In some cases, the wound had gone on to have ointments and dressings applied to it without truly being exposed. So with a covering of ‘it doesn’t matter’ and no true healing, the wound which may look alright on the surface festers deep within and never truly heals on the inside. The festering produces unforgiveness, bitterness, a deep sadness, deep- seated insecurity, a quick temper and repeated cycles of broken friendships and relationships which further worsen the non- healing state.
What does it mean to have these truly healed? Referring to David’s prayer at the start of this post, the first step involves admitting that there is indeed a wound, that there is something wrong, that you have been hurt, that you are angry, that things are not as they should be. This of course is the most important step as healthy people rarely ever go in search of a doctor. After admitting that there is something out of place, taking it to the right hospital is the next step. Here Jesus invites as in Matthew 11:28, ‘Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.‘ He alone has the right skill and patience to expose this wound to you and to begin the gradual process of cleaning it out and healing it with the appropriate treatment for it. Nothing is hidden from Him anyway but also He doesn’t force His way in. He gives us the choice to let Him do the healing. Something He does from the inside out and leaves no part unhealed. The Message translation says it this way in Romans 12: 2, ‘Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what He wants from you, and quickly respond to it.’
For so long, without realizing it, I carried improperly healed wounds around. Wounds I had not allowed to be properly examined, wound I had nicely hidden from the examining light of God and wounds I had plastered a quick fix over. These had only led to more hurt, more pain to myself and an offense to others I came in contact with. It had taken finally allowing the word of God to perform surgery on those old improperly healed wounds, to begin the process of proper healing and the road to good function and happiness again. And then from then on, like David, asking Holy Spirit to expose whatever is left or whatever new wound springs up, quickly and to do the require cleaning and healing.
I love that nothing is hidden from God, and I also love that He gives me the choice and opportunity to bring it all to Him so He will do His perfect work of healing on me every time.
Nothing that is hidden will ever be truly healed. Admission and exposure are essential steps in the healing process.
Nothing that is hidden from God will ever be fully healed. Bring it all to Him, He is more than willing to set you completely free. Then you will experience true healing and live truly free.