In the Healing Business

I wound because I am wounded. 

I have been wrestling with the depth of that statement in recent days. I hurt people because I am broken. My actions & words often wound other people.  Why do we say or do things that cause such pain to those we claim to love? God has been teaching me that it is because I am in need of healing. The damage I cause is most often the result of my own degeneracy.  I need Jesus to repair my brokenness.  But here's what God is also teaching me: healing often takes time. And personal healing sometimes requires a lifetime.

When Jesus was on earth, there were times that he healed people instantaneously. He touched them (or spoke the word) and they were immediately and completely healed.  Blind eyes could suddenly see. Diseased skin was immediately cleansed.  Dormant limbs were fully restored.  The activity of Jesus often produced instant and direct healing.

At other times, healing came over time. I am not necessarily referring to physical healing here but healing of the heart. Think about a person like Simon Peter.  Peter was perhaps the most up-and-down follower of Jesus in the NT.  On one hand, he was brash, impetuous, loud, aggressive, brazen, crass, vulgar, and impatient. Yet on the other hand, he was broken, devoted, reliable, humble, and committed. His story is marked by both tremendous faith and extreme doubt, momentous milestones and colossal failures, awe-inspiring loyalty and immense betrayal. His life with Jesus could be summed up with this phrase: a work in progress.

I am fascinated with the story of a guy who could commit so many major blunders at some of the most crucial times in the life of Jesus and yet he is the same person Jesus selects to preach one of the most important messages in the history of the church.  During times Jesus needed Peter the most, he was absent and yet when it was time for God to select a disciple to deliver one of the most critical sermons of the first century, Peter was the first pick of the draft.

Not devoted John - the disciple Jesus loved and was there at the cross when Jesus died. Not dependable Andrew - the disciple always bringing someone else to Jesus. Not steady James - the disciple who always seemed to be in the inner circle without calling attention to himself. Not any of the other disciples who seemed to cause less chaos than Peter.  God chose Peter - the same Peter who vehemently and coarsely denied Jesus a few weeks earlier. 

What does this reality say about Peter? He was a broken person being healed by Jesus.

What does it say about Jesus? He is in the business of healing and using broken people for His purposes and glory.

There is no real evidence that Peter's healing ever reached completion on this earth. The last biographical information we have about him from the Bible indicates that he was still a work in progress until the end.  At the end of John's gospel when Jesus offers him radical forgiveness and informs him that he will play one of the most significant roles in the development of the church, he selfishly worries more about his buddy John's destiny than his own. And later in the book of Acts, we discover that Peter goes toe-to-toe with the theological heavyweight champion Paul. He was an audacious troublemaker his entire story.

Only late in his ministry when he pens his letters do we get a glimpse of a Jesus follower who is finally reaching a place of fulfillment and healing. And from church history, we learn that Peter did suffer at the end of his life in a way that pointed people to Jesus and not the sailor-turned-saint who didn't seem to mind a little confrontation, controversy, and self-recognition. 

The story of Peter reminds me that Jesus is in the healing business.  Peter repaired broken nets. Jesus repairs broken people.  Sometimes Jesus heals instantaneously.  At other times, Jesus heals gradually.

I wound because I am wounded. But the good news is this: Jesus heals.  He is in the business of repairing hearts. And with redemption comes healing - the healing of my own heart and hopefully (and eventually) the healing of those I have wounded.

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