From the Heart

Recently I was talking with someone from another ministry who had heard about our daughter’s divorce. It had been a particularly difficult day and I was hurting a good deal when she called. I know she wanted to encourage me, but immediately she began quoting scripture and talking about the spiritual battle.

Now normally, that is where I live, but that particular day my heart was breaking. I so wanted someone to just put their arms around me. I needed to feel an emotional connection at that moment.

Instead I felt badly that I was feeling pain. I told myself I should have been stronger. Why wasn’t I quoting scripture and speaking faith like she was. I scolded myself and resolved to shake off the pain and move on. Yet when I got off the phone, all my resolve melted away. I spent several minutes just crying. The pain of all of it just seemed overwhelming.

The Lord met me there that day and comforted my breaking heart. As I sensed His love and the depth of His understanding of my pain, I realized how many times I had failed to respond to the pain of those who sought my help.

It is often easy to become academic about marriage healing after many years. When the pain is gone, the answers remain. It is the Word of the Lord and faith that make all the difference in a stand, but the pain is real. Over the years that pain had grown dull in my memory. God has used this experience in my life to remind me once again of how very painful divorce is.

When I was standing for our marriage, I was honest with the Lord about my pain. It never bothered Him when I sobbed my heart out or expressed my anger and frustration over our situation. He was always there, loving and encouraging me. In the end, He always brought me back to His Word and strengthened my faith, but He never discouraged my need to express emotions to Him.

Perhaps the key is just that, taking our pain to Him and leaving it there. Bottling it up inside doesn’t help anyone. It comes out one way or another. Denying it isn’t the answer either. Pain is real and it doesn’t go away on its own.

So I guess we must all find the balance between recognizing the pain of wounding and learning to walk in faith in spite of it. It is good to have people in our lives who will cry with us and then encourage us to stand up strong again.

In Luke 7 Jesus came upon a funeral. “And when He came near the gate of the city, behold, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the city was with her. When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, ‘Do not weep.’ Then He came and touched the open coffin, and those who carried him stood still. And He said, ‘Young man, I say to you, arise.’ So he who was dead sat up and began to speak. And He presented him to his mother” Luke 7:11-15.

Jesus brought healing and restored life, but first He had compassion on the widow. He acknowledged her pain. Let that be a lesson for all of us who seek the manifestation of His healing for marriage and family. May we never minimize the pain for it is very real. We can all rejoice, though, that the same One who feels our pain paid the price for our victory and healing. Let Him touch your broken heart today. You can trust Him. Love, Marilyn

“He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3 

The Purpose of Scars

Many times I am asked, “Does the pain ever stop? Do the scars ever go away?” I can tell you that truly the pain does stop, but the scars remain.

Several years ago I had emergency surgery right after one of our conventions. I had a ruptured hernia that trapped part of my small intestine. Today I still have the scar from the surgery, but the pain is totally gone. I was looking at that scar the other day and wondering, what is the purpose of a scar?

When Jesus heals us He could take away the scar as well. In some cases, maybe that has happened, but most of the time the scar remains. Whether it be a physical healing or an emotional one, long after the pain is gone the scar is still there.

As I was thinking about this the words of the song came back to me “His nail-scarred hands…”. Even Jesus bears for all eternity the scars left behind by the nails. That immediately made me think of Thomas when he doubted that Jesus was alive. Jesus said to him, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Jesus’ scars provided proof to Thomas that He indeed had risen from the dead.

As I have pondered this issue of scars, I have come to some conclusions. I think scars are like markers – they are there to remind us not of the pain but of the victory

Jesus didn’t show Thomas His scars to remind him of the cross. He showed them to Thomas to prove to him of the victory of His resurrection. So we have a choice. We can either look at scars and remember the pain or we can look at scars and be reminded of the victory.

When I look at the scar from my surgery, I remember all the ways the Lord was with me that day. I am reminded of how His hand orchestrated the day and brought me to just the right place at the right time. I remember how bad the pain was, but I remember even more how wonderful it was to wake from surgery and realize the pain was gone. Thank God for all He provided that day to bring about my total healing!

One night all of our family was sitting together after dinner and for some reason all our kids started talking about the different scars they had acquired during childhood. One by one they pointed to them and shared what had happened to cause them. Then their spouses joined in with their stories. As we listened to their conversation I was taken back to those days gone by and  all those injuries. I remembered the blood and the tears and the seemingly endless band aids we went through. Yet now they were all laughing as they went over each of those traumas. The pain was gone, the wounds had healed, and now the scars were just a visual testimony to that healing.

Emotional injuries are the same. They leave scars in our lives, but those scars can become testimonies to our faithful Lord if we permit them. Lord, may we allow You to heal our wounds so that one day our scars become testimonies to Your greatness! Love, Marilyn

“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.”  Isaiah 53:5

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 137:3