Deep Wounds

A lady in my neighborhood takes in a few children whose parents work.  Some of them go off to school from her home on the bus.  Others are there all day.  Many times in the morning as I leave she is sitting out front with the younger child while the older ones wait for the bus.  Yesterday as I drove past a little boy that I’ll estimate at four years of age was standing in the driveway, distraught and crying over and over again, “Mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy….”  I’d never seen him that distraught before.  I stopped and commented, “He’s not having a good day.”  The care-giver looked up from the magazine she was reading and said, “Oh, his parents have just separated and he’s having a tough time.”  She went back to her reading.

As I drove away, I prayed for that little boy and for his parents.  I have had enough people in my office and in my circle of friends who have expressed the deep wounds from a father who has left or who was unavailable.  I know that mothers can abandon their families just like fathers.  I have known people who bear that wound also.  But this day that little boy with an open, bleeding wound that was gushing frantic tears for his mother (probably because dad wasn’t around) told me his world was completely upside down.  I’m sure that mom had to be at work and was probably dealing with her own set of traumas from what was playing out in their family.   I wondered about the emotional marks that this event would leave on that little boy’s life as he grew to be a man.  At four, he probably wouldn’t even be able to remember yesterday, but I imagine the mark it leaves will be indelible, especially if his parents don’t get back together.

The truth is that all of us bear wounds to our souls.  The experience of that little boy is a picture of the pain many of us have borne. For some it is that the affection expressed by a parent or other significant adult was not what we needed to satisfy our thirst for approval.   Others were wounded by friends on the playground or colleagues at work who violated trust or diminished our self-worth in one way or the other.   When we are wounded, we hide the hurts and the scars because it is so painful and we think it makes us abnormal.  Then in the strangest times the scab is torn from the wound and we find ourselves reacting to life in ways that don’t make sense.

 Eugene Peterson wrote a book on the Psalms of Ascent titled, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society.  I like that title.  For me it describes the Christian life in a nutshell.  We all are broken, wounded people.  The process of becoming more like Christ—being molded into His image is a long involved process.  We would like for the Holy Spirit to bring instant healing to our wounds, but often it requires a long road.  I advocate that every person who is serious about knowing Christ and fully becoming what He wants us to be find regular exposure to another believer(s) who help us stay on the track of becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ.  If we are not in relationships that focus on this process we never deal with those deep hurts that we carry, things that stunt us or scar us in ways we may never remember.  To know God as a loving Father who will never leave us, who loves us in ways we cannot imagine, who is wildly in love with who we are and is excited about who we are becoming cannot be discovered in a short time.  It takes that long obedience–a counter-point to an instantaneous culture.  My prayer for that little four-year-old boy is not just that his parents might reconcile and that he knows love.  My prayer for him, as it is for myself, is that we will know enough of God to walk a long road of obedience that lets His sacred presence slowly heal the hurts we bear so that we might fully become what He created us to be.

I hope that is true for you as well.


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