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Sunday, January 1, 2017

Paying attention to pain

Have you ever stopped to consider the process of healing? It is a process, to say the least, for no healing ever comes instantaneously. In fact, if it does, that is called a miracle! Healing begins the moment there is an injury. There is no need of healing until the injury has occurred, right? The moment you cut yourself, the body sets into motion processes designed to "wall off" the bleeding. Even the pain you feel is intended to get you to pay attention to the cut - to guard it from further "insult" such as dirt. As those cells begin to mend, there is much "debris" which must be removed in order for the cells to knit back together. They never go back together in quite the same way, though. In fact, they leave noticeable signs there has been an injury. Maybe this is to remind us that injury is possible when we do something that same way again, or maybe it is to remind us of the greatness of our Creator in healing what no one else could mend!

Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Oh, give me back my joy again;
you have broken me—now let me rejoice. Don’t keep looking at my sins.  Remove the stain of my guilt. Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.
(Psalm 51:7-10 NLT)

Beth Moore reminds us that it is a "vibrant relationship with Jesus" that keeps us moving toward healing - keeping the process moving along, so to speak. As we wax and wane in our commitment to spend time with him, our spiritual health and those places wounded within us don't heal all that well. In fact, they "fester" a little until we cannot but help to pay attention to the process of healing we have neglected so long. Most of the pain we experience is really designed to get us to pay attention to that area in our life and to allow Jesus to do the work (the process) of healing. Scabs cover a wound, but under that scab there is a consistent work of healing taking place. Try to remove the scab too soon and the healing just has to begin again. It is much easier to allow a scab to form, take whatever time it needs to disconnect, and then reveal the new tissue underneath!

Have you ever noticed that as long as the scab is there, we keep looking at that area? We pay attention to it - our attention is drawn to the "damaged area" - hardly noticing all the healthy areas around it! We think looking at it over and over again will change it! As long as I have been in this world, there is one thing I have observed - the wound doesn't heal any faster by me watching it non-stop! Sure, I pay attention to it, ensuring it gets the "right attention", but I don't focus on it as though it were the only part of me that mattered! Too many times we only focused on the wounds and forget about all the rest of us that is functioning pretty well. God will heal that wounded area when we focus on what he tells us to focus on, paying attention to not interfere with the process of healing, and then let him do the rest. He is the "process worker" doing what needs to be done beneath that "scab".

We might be tempted to rip the scab off too early, but trust me on this one - that just lengthens the healing process even longer. We might be tempted to just ignore the wound, but when we do, it festers and that makes healing harder and leaves bigger scars. We might just want to pay attention to the niggling of pain, take the wound to Jesus, and then allow him to begin the process of repair so desperately needed. Just sayin!