“It is like a festering sore,” she said. “It’s just going to keep bubbling; you’ve got to do something about it before the infection spreads. It isn’t going to get better on its own.”
This is an interesting dynamic for sure. Lately I have been the one speaking in spiritual similes, and I am not sure how I feel about the sudden role reversal. But it is accurate, this description. Sore and stinking pretty much sums up my attitude these last two days. My anger is bubbling, refusing the healing that I know I need.
The grossest part is the way I have been treating this wound. Red and puss filled I present it like some kind of righteous badge. “Look at what has been done to me.” The pain pulses through it and around it to the rhythm of my heart. Theirfault Theirfault Theirfault. When bumped tears roll down my cheeks. Angered flesh mirrors the way I have convinced myself I am entitled to feel. The truth is I have been nursing this infection, unwilling to clean it out. I want to ensure my pain stays with me. A constant reminder of my wound.
The people closest to me begin to smell the rot that is in this wound. My husband, my sisters, they warn me of the infection they sense, it is evident in almost every conversation we have. The poison seems to be spreading to places it does not belong. I had planned on keeping it contained, I thought I was controlling it, but it is damaging things I never intended it to get close to. Spots of red flesh are cropping up in seemingly unrelated places, and the hurt is threatening to invade my veins, join my very blood on a path straight to my heart.
Still I protest. I have a right to this infection. I have a right to feel this wound. I was hurt after all. If I allow this to heal it will be as though I was never wounded in the first place. Isn’t that the point of healing? I hear the Spirit whisper. I am tempted to tell God to shut up.
I feel like it happens just moments before the infection joins the path of no return. I decide it is time to let go of the pain, and let the Lord clean out my wound. I am well aware it is only His prompting that allows me to ask. It is my nature to cling to this angry wound until it destroys me. It is a little scary, asking the Great Physician to clean me out. I am ashamed at how long it has taken me to ask, how bad I let it get. I know from experience that this is certain to sting. It does sting. This wound is cleansed with an apology that humbles me. In order to release this stench I also must release my pride. My pride it turns out, has been fueling the infection of anger.
As I release my own pride and allow God to pour healing into my wound I can suddenly breathe again. It turns out I had been holding my breath against my own righteous stench, and I didn’t even know it. The Healer leaves my wound raw but clean. The sting was temporary and gave way to relief. I was not aware of how bad I was hurting. How much of that hurt was the infection, and how little the actual wound.
I am left with a pile of clean white cloth, instructions to tend the wound. Keep it bandaged, change them often, watch carefully for signs of infection. The wound is still there, but it is healing. It is not my responsibility to heal the original wound, but it is my responsibility to protect from infection.
“It turns out I had been holding my breath against my own righteous stench, and I didn’t even know it.”
For me this was the best line in your strong, Spirit filled post.
An excellent metaphor. Your wounds, your pain, your love, your hardships, all of them great teachers. The obstacle of truth is always the one who prefers the sweetness of life to the harsh realities. But to know and appreciate the light of God fully, the depths of dark must be seen fully. Grace is sufficient to cover all who come humbled before the Almighty, but some of us will suffer more for our tenacity and curiousity and desire to know our source. Some deny everything, every pleasure, every sweetness to know their source, their God, directly. Even if only to gaze upon God for a brief moment. Your thoughts exhibit that resolve that all of us have to greater or lesser extent. Have you ever seen the peace in the face and the eyes of a wanderer after God who has met many obstacles, but overcome all hatred and anger by grace?
It cannot be forced. It is well enough that you recognize it for what it is. That recognition is the light that shines on the darkness, exposing falseness of character. There’s always some initial impetus that gets us looking for thruth, and getting to that peace of mind was mine, but I never suspected anything to do with God, or anything like that. It came about, as you say without invitation. Grace is a total mystery. I have friends who are devout in their faith, but they do not fully know grace yet by their own admissions. And why I’ll never know because they do struggle for it. I think we just got to try living right until we finally hit a wall that we know is impossible to penetrate, and then give up, knowing we gave all we had…and that surrender is what was prescribed to allow grace to intercede on our behalf. It’s a giving up that can’t be calculated, or faked just to get the goodies of grace. They are born of our wounds, and our best attempt to heal them, and finally, our failure. It may be of controversy to some, but I have said before that there is no recipe or mix of words and emotions that can facilitate God’s grace in our life. It happens when it happens and when we need it, and not a minute sooner. But even this I don’t know for sure. I don’t know much of anything for sure anyways. : ) Be blessed.
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