What if you’ve stuffed the pain of the past but it keeps jumping out again to interfere with your life? Or maybe you’ve prayed over and over again asking God to heal you but nothing seems to happen. Does it mean that you are doing something wrong or that God is mad at you because it’s not happening? I don’t believe it.
I believe that God wants every one of us to be healed from past hurts; he wants us to finally be able to let go of the shame that chases us. For reasons unknown to us, he doesn’t choose to spontaneously heal most of us from our traumas. He knows what is best, and for most of us it seems that what is best is to work through our issues, to understand what happened to us and to come to a place of acceptance. For me, on the other side of that acceptance there is a land of peace that feels like healing and wholeness and joy and effectiveness. There is still pain; I think there will always be pain, but it is healed pain. It is pain with the shame removed, and without shame the pain has no power to cripple me.
If I had to guess about why God doesn’t just dispense doses of magic Jesus potion to instantly heal us of our traumas, my guess would be that he wants us to experience the incredible growth, maturity and “ah hah” moments that come with walking through the past with him. If he had just surgically removed the shame from my life with no effort on my part, I would have missed out on all the really cool discoveries I’ve made about life and myself and God. I also may not have felt as close to God as I do now, having experienced so many deep emotional moments with him as he stayed beside me on this journey through my past. And perhaps I would not have been able to reach out to people for help, or to help others get past their own hurts, if I was just instantly healed. If there is one thing I have learned about God, it is that he is relational and he wants us to be relational too. He speaks to us through other people.
In writing my memoir, I have been brave enough to leap into the chaos of the past because Jesus has gone with me to illuminate the truth. I have been able to get glimpses of how much he loves me. How he has been sad with me through the pain and joyful with me as I have been able to reckon with the past. I can understand that while I have made mistakes, I don’t have to hold on to the condemnation I have carried.