Will Thou Be Made Whole?
"The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?" Proverbs 18:14
You can have a sickness or weakness in your body, yet still be emboldened by your spirit to endure and even prosper. However, who can carry around or lift up a wounded spirit? The implication is that no one can...but there is one who will.
"He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds." Psalm 147:3
My children and I used to watch a series that they loved growing up called The Donut Man. The premise of The Donut Man was that every person is born with something missing in their lives which can only be filled by God. If I reflect on it, I can still hear my children singing, "Life without Jesus is like a donut, cause there's a hole in the middle of your heart." LOL
It is true that we are each born with that type of "hole" because what we need and innately seek is to be made whole through reconciliation with the Creator who made us. I have found it interesting that even adopted children- having been placed in loving homes - often still want to know who their birth parents are. Even in the natural, there is a yearning to know more about and connect with where we come from.
Whether we know it or not, attempting to fill this "hole" is what drives everything we do in life outside of coming to Christ. People spend their entire lives trying to, but to no avail. And it doesn't have to be something illicit they turn to like fornication, alcohol, drugs, stealing, etc. It can be something as seemingly benign as good works, relationships with others, or religious ritual.
In describing the vanity of this type of effort, Augustine wrote in his book Confessions:
“I carried about me a cut and bleeding soul, that could not bear to be carried by me, and where I could put it, I could not discover. Not in pleasant groves, not in games and singing, nor in the fragrant corners of a garden. Not in the company of a dinner table, not in the delights of the bed: not even in my books and poetry. It floundered in a void and fell back on me. I remained a haunted spot, which gave me no rest, from which I could not escape. For where could my heart flee from my heart? Where could I escape myself? Where would I not dog my own footsteps?”There is only one conclusion he could make:
“Dear Lord, You have made us for Yourself and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in You.”Anything to which we turn in an effort to fill that hole (other than Christ) will never satisfy. It will make us restless in life until we put our hope in Christ (Psalm Chapter 42). I mention this and a number of people will gloss over it thinking, "Yes, that is true. Only Jesus fills the hole in our lives." Even so, many will try to find something else to fill the void. They walk around as professing believers, but still with gaping wounds within, always seeking something or someone to fill it. Yet this should not be. If Jesus alone fills the hole, and we claim to have Christ, then why are we still carrying these wounds or expecting others to fill them (and being let down when they don't)?
There is a song by Steven Curtis Chapman called "Long Way Home" where the lyrics state in part:
And there's a bag of regrets
Should of beens and not yets
I keep on dragging around
And I can hardly wait till the dayI get to lay them all down
Isn't the day we get to "lay all of these burdens down" the day when we come to Jesus (Matthew 11:28-30)? We don't have to wait for some day "when we all get to Heaven" to be freed and healed from that which spiritually plagues us. It is a wrong impression that we must keep nursing these hurts, burdens, and abuses after we have entered into salvation. If we do not understand that Jesus is the burden-lifter, wound-binder, a heart-healer, and soul-restorer, then we haven't come to know Him as we should.
Pilgrim's Progress: Journey to Heaven". In the movie, a man named Christian is saddled with a huge burden that seems impossible to carry. In fact, he gets no rest from it. It is with him everywhere he goes, even in his sleeping hours.
Seeking refuge and help for the destruction that he senses is coming - not only for himself, but for his family - he starts on a road to find an answer. At one point he comes to Mount Salvation and as he kneels down before the cross, his burdens miraculously unravel and fall down on the ground. He is then free for the first time in his life as he cries out in thanksgiving to God saying, "You have given me rest by your sorrow, and life by your death."
That was by far not the end of Christian's journey, but in that one scene we see what so many Christians do not seem to understand. We may come to Jesus with a bleeding soul, but we don't have to stay that way. He is waiting to heal us if we would just trust Him and lay those burdens down at His feet...even right now.
Why go on one moment longer carrying what you were not designed to shoulder and what God tells you that you cannot bear on your own (Proverbs 18:14)? Aren't you tired of circling in the same wilderness of rejection and bitterness which continue to haunt you, in spite of the smiling face you wear in public? It is not just words when Jesus says that He will indeed make you free (John 8:36).
Not only is it good for us to be made whole, but we cannot be effective ministers for Christ if we have a bleeding soul within us. In spite of possible good intentions and no matter how much we may witness to others, we will wind up gathering people up unto ourselves instead of to Christ. We will use people (their presence, their encouragements, their accolades, their love, their gifts, their prayers, etc.) - even unintentionally - as a crutch to help us fill our void. Because nothing will ever be enough, this leads to a cycle of continual disappointments, depression, and failed relationships. We become the walking wounded, always feeling that others are responsible for bringing healing to us, thus making even our view of salvation self-centered. As my pastor used to say (and I paraphrase), "When are you going to stop always being the one in need of prayer and actually become an answer to prayer for someone else?"
We also need to be able to recognize when this is in operation in others for it will be a significant physical, emotional, and spiritual drain. This has been referred to as spiritual vampirism, for it sucks the life right out of you (Proverbs 17:22). This is often present in those who have a spirit of rejection/abandonment as they are constantly in need of reassurance, comforting, and nurturing. No matter how much you give, it is never enough; it's like trying to fill a black hole. While some individuals do this in ignorance and just need to be directed to the Lord to be made whole, it is also a tactic of the enemy to distract you and stymy your spiritual growth. We must understand that some people just don't want to be made whole. Instead, they would rather have you make them the center of your world, which is idolatry. They might even try to make you feel like you are not being a Christian if you do not prioritize their needs in your life. Do not let Satan deceive you by using your zealousness for good works as a snare to bind you to others in inordinate ways.
"Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? And your labour for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David." Isaiah 55:1-3
Those in Christ do not have to walk around with bleeding souls. Those who do need to learn Christ anew (Matthew 11:29). We must know that the Lord is our Shepherd and He desires to restore our souls (Psalm 23:3). He knows our wounds and He alone has the balm for them. There is healing in Jesus and in Him we find rest...when we trust Him.