Thursday, July 28, 2016

Because He Lives: My Self-Inflicted Wounds

  (Part of a series sharing my devotional thoughts from almost two decades ago. For the back story & links to other posts, see the first post in the series.)

“There were those who dwelt in darkness and in the shadow of death, prisoners in misery and chains, because they had rebelled against the words of God, and spurned the counsel of the Most High. Therefore He humbled their heart with labor; they stumbled and there was none to help.

“Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble; He saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of the darkness and the shadow of death,
and broke their bands apart....

“He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.”
Psalm 107:10-14, 20

I remember that time in my life so vividly. I was 21 years old and living two lives. To most people, I was a bright student, successfully pursuing a future in journalism by working as editor of my weekly college newspaper. I appeared confident, secure, and “together”. But that didn’t show what was going on inside me.
Underneath, I was hurting. I was involved in a verbally, emotionally, and sexually abusive relationship with my first “real” boyfriend. The confident young woman who stood up to administrators without blinking would cower when “he” appeared even the least bit unhappy. My smiles were often replaced by tears as soon as the door closed.
Something deep within me began to whisper, “You know the Way out.” Yes, I knew God was the answer. I considered turning to Him, asking for His help. But immediately an opposing thought shouted at me repeatedly: “You’d be a hypocrite to turn to God now, after all you’ve done.”
You see, I was raised in a Christian home. I knew right from wrong -- and I knew that my relationship with this person was based on the wrong things. I had wanted to love and be loved, so I pursued what I thought my needs were -- a boyfriend -- and followed my emotions, which told me somebody was better than nobody at all. I knew I should seek God, but instead I sought my own answers to my needs. Soon I was sexually involved with this boyfriend, and spent many weekends drinking and partying. And I knew better.
So at the earliest opportunity, satan reminded me of that fact, telling me that I’d gotten myself into this, so now I had to deal with the consequences. Unfortunately, I listened to that lie rather than the truth -- the truth that Jesus came to heal even my self-inflicted wounds. I married this abusive person, spent 4 more years in pain, committed many more “I knew better” sins, divorced, and re-married. When I looked back at where I’d been, I knew I never wanted to go down that road again. I finally gave myself wholly, completely to Jesus and let Him heal all of my wounds ... those caused by others, and those I had inflicted upon myself.
But it didn’t have to be that way. The truth is, Jesus is God’s Word, sent to heal even our self-inflicted wounds. Anything contrary to that is a lie, and satan is the father of lies. If you are hurting today, healing doesn’t depend on who caused the wounds. What matters is that you believe the truth: Jesus is God’s living Word (see John 1) sent to heal you. He loves you and wants to help you. Ps. 147:3 says, “He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds.” And it doesn’t matter how the wounds got there.

“He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.” Ps. 107:20

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