To witness, we must have wounds

| Liz kelly | July 22, 2019 | 0 Comments
Wounds of Christ reaching out to help

iStock/jgroup

A spectacular young, single woman — intelligent, articulate, lovely, poised — comes to visit with me to talk about prayer and how she can go deeper in healing. She has suffered a number of serious traumas, and they have created some sizable wounds. And while much healing has already taken place, and she has fearlessly and responsibly pursued healing from many angles, she’s a little concerned about her past, especially with respect to a future spouse. How much can these wounds really be healed? Is she just “damaged goods”?

Healing is a complex maneuver, full of surprises, delays and more pain than we’d like. And often enough, deep healing doesn’t look the way we think it will.

When I was young, I thought healing in Christ meant a scar-free existence, a kind of blissful annihilation of all wounds — those I’d received and those I’d created in others. After all, there is no way to partially raise Lazarus from the dead. Jesus touched lepers and they were cured completely — no scar or indication of any kind was left behind that they had once suffered such an illness. Scripture specifically notes that the lame walked, and in some cases danced, after Jesus had healed them. There is no mention of them limping away with a cane.

But for most of us, healing does not come all at once but in bits and pieces, in waves and occasional storms. This side of heaven, some of our wounds may not be completely healed. What are we to make of it when Jesus does not close up our wounds or remove every evidence of its ever having existed?

I will not speculate about what the glorified body of Christ is, but we can safely say that if Jesus’ wounds from the crucifixion were still apparent even after his resurrection ­— as we know they were, for the doubting Thomas needed to place his hand in Christ’s side — if the wounds of Jesus were still visible and even open, even en route to his ascension, then ours might remain so, too. We needn’t fear the scars that the wounds we suffer on this earth leave behind.

No doubt the fullness of healing in heaven far exceeds and completes what we experience on earth, but wouldn’t it be just like Jesus to use our wounds in the same way he used his own, so that doubt is put to rest and new fervor and faith can take its place? We must be credible witnesses — not just to Jesus — but to the resurrected Christ. To witness as he witnessed, open wounds and all.

Catherine Doherty writes that today’s youth will seek out Christians specifically “in search of the wounds of Christ which alone can heal them. Our modern generation must touch before it will believe. We must have those wounds to show them, so that they can touch them and be touched and healed by Christ.”

Jesus wasn’t damaged goods on Good Friday, nor on the morning of Easter. He was on his way to full glorification. Maybe, in that mystical way in which we all participate in the body of Christ, my young friend is too. And maybe one day soon, someone will need the witness of her woundedness that hopes in future glorification. Her wounds will point us in the direction of, not the hatred that put Christ on the cross, but the power, glory and immanent love that brought him forth from the tomb complete with holes in his hands, feet and side.

Lord, there is an unexpected, delicate work of mercy in the wounds we suffer. Help me to offer those wounds I still carry in such a way that the doubting and indifferent may be moved to faith and greater healing.

Kelly is the author of six books, including “Jesus Approaches” and the “Jesus Approaches Take-Home Retreat.” Visit her website at lizk.org.

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Category: Your Heart His Home