I was thinking about the different kinds of wounds today. I’ve long since come to understand that we are all living as wounded souls in one way or another. Everyone has a deeper story, and nothing is as it appears on the surface. I thought there must be as many different processes of healing as there are wounds. And, for as many times and ways I have tried to heal myself, I know the one constant that remains in any true and complete healing, is the One true Healer ... God. No matter how many times I have foolishly rejected His way, His faithfulness to heal us comes in as many different forms, time frames and processes as the wounds themselves. We have only to call upon His name. But the timing is His… and there’s the rub. I cannot count the times I have called upon His name only to find that He has said “wait,” and my vending machine mentality of God seems to get jammed. How many times have I impatiently said “I want it now,” and, for lack of the desired Divine response, taken matters into my own hands? … as though I could do better. Forgive me, Lord.
I was reminded of my mother’s ‘open wound’ healing after her surgery to remove her large intestine when she was 87 years old. Her abdominal incision would not heal. It had become abscessed and the infection nearly stole her life. When the doctor explained the repulsive process of the open wound healing, I was aghast. I had never heard of this before. Aren’t all incisions just sewed shut? The answer was no. My immediate response was to reject this form of healing. Painful. Disgusting. Too long. Unacceptable. I did not know that some incisions must literally remain open and very gradually heal from the inside out. The process of continually packing, cleansing and nurturing the wound several times a day would require constant care and supervision.
So, it is no wonder how deeply moved I was when I read this prayer of Mechthild of Magdeburg, a medieval mystic nun from the 12th century. To me, her words will remain in my heart as a vivid reminder of the way Christ himself will lay into our open physical, emotional or spiritual wounds to heal us the way only He can do. We have only to ask, and wait.
I will tear the heart of my soul in two
And you must lay therein.
You must lay yourself
In the wounds of my soul.”
Mechthild of Magdeburg
1 Peter 5:10 (JB Phillips)
... and after you have borne these sufferings a very little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to share his eternal splendor through Christ, will himself make you whole and secure and strong. All power is his forever and ever, amen!