I watched him cower to the ground as he held his hand. He held it close and looked down as I began to walk towards him. The morning had started like every other, but one step on a skateboard with a slip and fall ended with his hand grazing a rogue nail in the base of his bed. I saw the whole thing and knew instantly that this wound was going to be a little deeper than a scratch.
As I walked towards him, tears began to well as he drew the courage to look at his hand. Blood was flowing and his panic began to set in. He drew his hand in even tighter into his chest as I led him to the bathroom to coerce him into letting me look at it.
Isn't that always how it works? The fear of looking at the wound overwhelms our desire to treat the wound.
As I sat him down, I quickly grabbed a wet rag to clear away the blood so I could know what I was dealing with. It was deep. He was panicking and I was in my "mom" mode of making sure he felt peace but knowing this wound would need something more invasive than a bandaid and Neosporin. I cleaned up the blood and began to put pressure on it as it would not quit bleeding. This was a great job for my son as he needed something to focus on.
"Hold that rag tight on your thumb, buddy. I'm going to take care of you."
We quickly grabbed our things and hopped in the car. I could tell the shock of the initial hit was wearing off and the pain of the wound was starting to elevate. What I found more interesting was the increase of fear over what would need to be done to heal his bleeding hand. He began to panic over the thought of stitches. After all, this was all so unknown to him. Our first trip to the ER, his first encounter with stitches. His first wound that needed something more excessive than a Scooby doo bandaid. If left up to him, he would have turned around and gone back home in hopes that he could wrap it up and have it magically disappear.
Don't we all do this with our wounds? And I mean the sin kind of wounding. The sin of our families, the sin from others, our own sin, the sin from this world. This brokenness and the wounds that are inflicted. Eminem said it eloquently in a rap lyric from one of his songs, "It's a steal knife in my windpipe." While I don't think Eminem was specifically talking about sin, it really was the perfect imagery for it. Most of the time, we think about Sin in the idea of our own. In other words, we think more about our own sins, rather than how other's sin has wounded us. Sin is damaging. We all know this. It is the disease that infects this world. It is what Jesus died on the cross for to save us from.
But quite frankly, It feels like a steel knife in your windpipe when someone sins against you. It is a direct assault. Not necessarily from your own doing, but from someone else. A wound we didn't see coming. These tend to be the wounds that we cower down and hold onto as to not panic from the reality of the blow. There is no explanation, nothing we can do to keep it from happening again, unless we go into self protection mode. Using a bandaid and Neosporin (maybe) when we actually need something more invasive to stop the bleeding.
But as we all know, wounds do not magically disappear. Severe wounds, if left untreated, can lead to further damage, even death. So here we are, holding our pain in, covering it up and hoping it will magically disappear.
Because, after all, the fear of looking at the wound overwhelms our desire to treat the wound.
We pulled in the front row of the parking lot to the Emergency Room. The Lord was near and smoothing our way to treatment. (psalm 142:3 When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who know my way)
I signed him in and we were immediately taken back. As they sat him on the bed and checked his vitals, I could see the fear mounting up in his eyes. He was trying to stay strong, but I knew he was waiting for everyone to leave to release his anxiety.
There is something so sacred with a mom experiencing the unabridged, guards down moments with her children. Whether it produces anger, anxiety, joy, laughter. We get to witness the "let-down, the release" in our children. Whether good or ugly, it is sacred. It's a chance to experience a glimpse of the unconditional, never failing love of our Heavenly Father. Our good God who says, give me your let down. Give me your release. I can take it and I will never let go. (Psalm 144:2, Psalm 139, psalm 107:14-16, to name a few)
Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all you who remain of the house of Israel, you whom I have upheld since you were conceived, and have carried since your birth. Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he. I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue." Isaiah 46:3-4
It was a teaching hospital, so there were several doctors coming in to examine and inspect the severity of the wound and determine how the wound would need to be healed properly. Our sweet boy held my hand as we sat and answered questions and talked about what happened. They finally decided that he would need two stitches and some derma-bond. But before they could close it up, they had to clean it out.
Maybe this is what is so scary. I know it was scary for my son. He was hearing that they were going to need look at it. Touch it. And not just touch it, but be somewhat invasive in order to clean it. After all, if they didn't clean it out, it would lead to the possibility of infection down the road.
I kept thinking, "I wonder how many people are walking around with some shoddy, closed up infected wounds. After all, sin will have the same ramifications as an infection producing, rusted nail.
I wonder how many people have simply "shoved it under the rug." How many people have taken the blow of sin, and quickly had to learn how to walk with a limp. Because here is some truth. We all have sinned, and we have all been sinned against. We handle it in different ways, but what is true about every single person in this world is that we have to HANDLE IT.
I wonder, how do you handle it?
Maybe it's a coping mechanism. Maybe it's food or drink or humor to distract. Maybe it's boiled up anger. Maybe it comes out in your relationships? Maybe it comes out in other areas of your life to overcompensate what had tried to cripple you long ago? How do you handle it? How do you handle that sin, those wounds? Because remember, they just don't magically disappear.
So there we were, cleaning out the wound as he gripped my hand, tears streaming down his face. Thankful for modern medicine, they proceeded with stitches under the care of some pain numbing shots.
You know, it seems like the healing process looks like this:
Pain from the wound. Moment of rest before the clean out. Pain from the clean out. Moment of rest before the shot. Pain from the shot. Moment of rest from the pain because of the shot. Moment of pain from the visual of the stitches. Moment of rest from the numbness. Then a dull pain from the the pain meds wearing off and the stitches holding your wound together.
This process alone can feel daunting. But then again, is the pain and process greater than the unhealed wound you've been carrying around, quite possibly for a good portion of your life?
In this moment, my son could not understand how this was "healing." It was painful. It was intrusive. It did not feel good and it truly was terrifying to him. All I could do was hold his hand, pull him in and remind him that this had to be done so that his skin would heal up perfect and whole again with the possibility of a tiny scar. But what he needed to know was, the scar would only be a memory of what happened. It would not hurt like it hurt when the wound formed. The healing would make sure of that.
I have found that people tend to want to live in the pain of the wound rather than doing the work of the healing to alleviate the pain. I certainly can relate with this. After all, I spent many years cowered over, holding my wounds as they began to bleed out. I was covering spouts as new leaks began to burst open. I had two options: Bleed out, or go through the intrusive process of healing.
Life or death.
When I began to go through the healing process of dealing with my past wounding, the story of Eustace, the boy who turned into a dragon as a result of his own greed and selfishness came to mind. As he tried to tear his dragon skin off on his own, it simply came back thicker and knobbier than before. He was helpless as all of his efforts to turn himself back into a boy were futile. That is , until Aslan the Lion, came. Greater measurements were needed to turn Eustace back into the boy he was. I imagine our wounding in life contributes to our sort of dragon skin. We try a million ways to take it off or pretend like it's not there, but as the years go on, it just gets thicker and knobbier..
“Then the lion said — but I don’t know if it spoke — You will have to let me undress you. I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it.
“The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off. You know — if you’ve ever picked the scab of a sore place. It hurts like billy-oh but it is such fun to see it coming away.”
“I know exactly what you mean,” said Edmund.
“Well, he peeled the beastly stuff right off – just as I thought I’d done it myself the other three times, only they hadn’t hurt – and there it was lying on the grass, only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly-looking than the others had been. And there was I smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been. Then he caught hold of me – I didn’t like that much for I was very tender underneath now that I’d no skin on — and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone from my arm. And then I saw why. I’d turned into a boy again. After a bit the lion took me out and dressed me . . . in new clothes."
After I read this excerpt, I cried. The kind of large hot tears that are produced in our greatest releases. I realized that if I ever wanted to come back to myself, If I ever wanted to be healed, I was going to need the Lord to look at it. Touch it. Invade it.
And it hurt.
Watching my son go through this process of stitches, I was reminded of what this looked like in my life. Except it wasn't my thumb. It was an open heart surgery of sorts, and the Lord was stitching me back up again. The wounds that had broken me and left me feeling worthless and empty, He was clearing it out and binding me up. (Isaiah 61)
Sweet one, I cannot sit here and tell you that the healing is without pain. It is uncomfortable. It means, being known by others. It means being known to yourself and letting the Lord cut in and remove some layers for new skin to form.
But what I can tell you from personal experience, is the kind of freedom you feel when the stitches are taken out and new skin closes the wound.
"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1
It is a broken chains, unburdened, kind of freedom. It is a healed and whole feeling. But of course, this does not mean the scar is not there. Many times a scar is necessary in the process. Sometimes the wound is so great and so deep that there is no way to not have one. But like I told my son, the scar would only be a memory of what happened. It would not hurt like it hurt when the wound formed. The healing would make sure of that.
After all, "A scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, "I survived." Quote from "Little Bee"
"He brought them out of darkness and the deepest gloom and broke away their chains. Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, for he breaks down gates of bronze and cuts through bars of Iron. Psalm 107: 14-16
You have a God who is so In love with you, that not even bars of iron and bronze can keep Him from your heart. He will stop at nothing to have all of you. He will stop at nothing to heal those dark wounds and bind you up. He is the God who shouts "SHE IS MINE! HE IS MINE!" He will not sit back and watch you bleed out. Our great surgeon who cuts in, heals and binds you up. He brings beauty from our ashes and there is no pain too great for him.
Freedom and healing is attainable my friends. Do not let the enemy tell you otherwise.
I am happy to report that his stitches are out and our son is on the road to full recovery.
Maybe you might start your road to recovery today? The Lord is going before you and fighting for you. Come taste the freedom. It's time to stand up and let your Jesus heal those wounds; the enemy doesn't get the opportunity to chain you down anymore. Jesus made sure of that on the cross.