Healing Your Wounds
“On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17 NIV)
I know a lot of people that have been in the hospital over the last month or two. My sister just gave birth last week, a close friend of mine has his grandfather in the hospital with heart trouble, we have friends who have a three year old with cancer, Matt Chandler (a family friend and pastor in Dallas) is having brain surgery on Friday, and my grandfather is receiving radiation treatment from his own bout with cancer. Despite all of these people having to experience pain at the hands of doctors, I still like doctors and want one in my own life.
What seems like an obvious statement doesn’t always translate when it comes to God and how He goes about healing us. Early in Mark 2, Jesus heals a paralytic man by telling him, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” After healing this man, he calls another well-known sinner to follow him named Levi (otherwise known as Matthew). This is the context where Jesus compares the work he was sent to do to that of a doctor. He has just proven that he has the power to heal people of physical ailments, but more importantly he shows that he has the great authority of healing spiritual ones. But just like the treatment some of my friends and family members have received recently, the treatment Jesus administers sometimes involves God inflicting pain upon us so that we might be healed.
I believe that pain is a result of a fallen world and our sinful nature, but I also believe that God can use pain to both redeem and refine us as adopted children. But I sometimes hear people complain about pain and suffering in this world and blame it on the One who has the power to heal us. This makes no more sense than my sister blaming the doctor for her pregnancy (unless the her husband was the doctor, which he is not). In fact, Scripture says that God Himself feels pain when we feel pain, much like a parent grieves for their child when they are deeply injured. Jeremiah 8:21-22 says, “Since my people are crushed, I am crushed; I mourn, and horror grips me. Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people?”
This verse signifies why God had to take it upon Himself to fix our wounds through the person of Christ. These verses are also why Jesus is sometimes referred to as “The Great Physician.” But just like any good doctor, this often involves using instruments of pain to bring about healing. Radiation looks like it is a terribly painful experience. Chemotherapy looks equally dreadful. Brain surgery does not sound exciting, and I wouldn’t want that 4-inch epidural needle in my back on a regular basis. Heck, I even cringe when I have to spray Bactine on my scrapes and open cuts. But all of these agents of pain are ultimately means for good.
So, is there something in your life that is painful at the moment? Have you railed against God for the hurts you have experienced in your lifetime? Have you been guilty of blaming the Great Physician for your sickness when He is mourning it with you? Then maybe you can take great joy in the fact that our world is not run by a distant God who is removed from your experience, but that you have a doctor that is crushed that you are crushed, and wants to bring healing to your wounds no matter how painful the treatment might be.