He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
Not too long ago, I noticed this quote on a friend's Facebook profile page:
Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. — Plato
I had not heard that quote before—and perhaps it's famous, and I'm just now tuning in—but it definitely made me pause. How true, Plato. How true.
The next time I was around a lot of people that week, I scanned the crowd. "I wonder who is dealing with something heavy and hurtful today," I thought. "And … I wonder if people can tell that I am not doing so well either."
At any one given moment in time, someone somewhere is undergoing something. Yeah, profound wording, huh? But you know what? It's true. Pain is pain. Suffering is suffering. What may be a big deal for one person may not be for the next. But we should not treat another's wounds as if they are not hurtful to them. This is not kind, and it is not how we are instructed to treat one another according to Scripture (Colossians 3:12).
I think about the times in my life that have been hard—times when it's been obvious to others, and times when I've tried to hide my hurts away and not tell anyone how I'm feeling or what is breaking my heart.
But we were never made to suffer alone—to bleed out, if you will, in silence. To live out our days denying what it is that afflicts us, that causes us pain, that makes us curl up so that we are "protected" and that no one can get inside to hurt us anymore. Where is the healing in that? Where is the restoration? Where is the living?
I must say that I am just as guilty as the next person in comparing wounds and judging someone else's pain. "Oh, get over it!" "Puh-leese. There are much bigger things in life to get upset about." "If they only knew what real suffering was." And so forth. Now, rewind to a painful time in your life and then press play. How would it make you feel to hear someone say some of these judgmental comments to you when you have been hurting the most?
Thankfully, the Great Shepherd doesn't tend to his flock (you and me) in the thoughtless way that we might with each other. No, he lovingly and tenderly cares for our wounds—whether they're major or minor, whether they're real or imagined, whether they're self-inflicted or a result of something out of our control. It makes no difference. He simply cares and makes provision for his sheep:
He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake (Psalms 23:3).
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me (Psalms 51:12).
‘But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,' declares the LORD," because you are called an outcast, Zion for whom no one cares' (Jeremiah 30:17).
Reading these passages is like a soothing balm being applied to your soul, isn't it? No self-medication, no self-help book, no radio call-in hour, no television show with a "Dr." in the title can ever compare with how the Father heals his children. Remember that today as you encounter others who are in need of his healing and restoration in their lives as well.
Intersecting Faith & Life:
With a strong faith and the support of friends and loved ones, surfer Bethany Hamilton made an amazing comeback after losing her arm in a shark attack in 2003. Today, the 19-year-old surfer has learned to balance on her board and surf in a whole new way. She brings her story of healing and restoration to a family with physically-challenged children on ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition this coming Sunday night, May 2, 2010. Check your local listings for times.