Monday, June 1, 2015

God's Tender Heart: Binding Up Your Sorrows

Earth has no sorrow

Heaven can’t heal.

                                                                                from “Come As You Are” by David Crowder

            Although it might not seem to be the case when you are crushed under the weight of anguish, God has a tender heart toward the brokenhearted. The Bible is full of stories about how He prays special attention to those whose hearts throb from the loss of loved one. In fact, the entire Bible is really a story about loss, heartache, restoration, hope and redemption. It is about God, His love, and His tender heart.
            For this short post today, I want to concentrate on one verse: Psalm 147:3. A short, concise verse that really says it all.
            He heals the brokenhearted
            And binds up their wounds.
                                                Psalm 147:3 (NASB)

            In this verse we are told that God clearly is the healer. One who brings about healing, makes something broken sound or whole, restores to health, mends and returns to a sound state. (Anyone who has experienced the crushing pain of losing a loved one can attest to not feeling as if they—or their mind—are in a sound state.)
            And He binds up their wounds.
            In this passage, “wounds” literally means “sorrows” so the implication here is that God works like a doctor to wrap up a wound.
            When you wrap a wound, you might do so for many reasons:

            ~ to stop or slow the flow of blood
            ~ to protect the wound from further external assault or damage
            ~ to keep the wound closed and protected from infection
            ~ to bring the wound edges together so they can heal more quickly
            ~ to aid healing by keeping it wet and better able to heal
            ~ to support or splint the wound or injury
            ~ to compress the wound so selling can be reduced and the wound can heal

            What we need to remember is that wound healing is not an overnight process. It can take time. Sometimes a lot of time. The larger, more complex the wound, the longer the healing can take, and the more we must visit the physician to have our healing closely monitored. Monitored by the One who knows us intimately, who knows how to put us back together and restore us to wholeness.
            He knows just how tightly the healing binding must be wrapped, and when it needs to be removed. I say “needs” to be removed because bindings can be worn too long and can actually hamper healing, or cause it to regress. I’ve had patients who feared binding removal because they’d grown so accustomed to it that it became their “friend,” something they relied on, something they thought they needed to survive. Something they had learned to live with. Something they now couldn't live without. They would have chosen it over the freedom of complete restoration and healing. Removing the binding was terrifying to them. In that case, they would not allow the healer to do his completed work. Sometimes, intentionally or unintentionally, they thwarted the healing process whenever they could. They might have been fearful or enjoyed the attention they received from having the wound. And binding an injury when it does not need binding can actually weaken the supporting structures to a point where the binding becomes a permanent necessity. You get to a point where you can't live without it.
            Another fact we also need to remember is that a well-placed binding can sometimes cause discomfort or outright excruciating pain. The pain is something we need to expect, and, yes, embrace if we are to submit to the healing process. I remember well the young emergency room physician who apologized profusely as he tried to move my foot up and get it into a ninety-degree angle to my ankle after a devastating fracture that deformed my lower leg. He was so nervous and shaky about the pain he was causing me that his hands shook and sweat beads dripped from his forehead. I was in so much pain from the pressure and movement that my leg shook uncontrollably as it hung over the bed. Tears poured down my eighteen-year-old cheeks as the unaligned bones grated together. The room swam as the severity of pain threatened to cause me to faint. And all of that in order to apply a plaster cast to keep the ankle and foot in the desired position. All of that so my leg could be put in a position to heal. And the pain didn’t end with the cast application. It lingered for weeks; every movement recreated the bone grinding, until the body had sufficiently knit the bone back together to stabilize the fracture. Only pain medication kept me relatively sane.
            The more we rebel against the healing process, the longer it can take. If we are poor patients, the healing can actually go awry, and our sorrows won’t ever properly heal.
            If we can concentrate on this passage in Psalms, repeat it to ourselves, hide it in our hearts and saturate our minds with its truth, we will know and come to believe, even in the midst of our deepest pain, that He will heal our broken hearts and bind up our sorrows, so that we may be fully restored to life.
            Trust Him to do it, for His heart is tender toward you, and He is faithful!

Until next week,

Thanks for joining me!