As Taylor Swift says it,
“Band-aids don’t fix bullet holes.”
Ain’t that the truth?
– We’ve established that each of us has a soul.
– That our soul’s deepest longing is for reconnection with its Maker, its Father.
– That a messy soul needs de-cluttering.
But what about the broken soul?
The soul that’s been left bruised or hemorrhaging?
Is there hope for a blistered soul that has formed calluses of protection?
“Band-aids don’t fix bullet holes.”
No amount of activity or distraction can stop the bleeding.
Cliches and pat answers aren’t sufficient and fall empty on the ears of a hurting soul.
This is why we turn to anything that we think will take that deep pain away. We self-medicate the cuts that medicine can’t touch.
We apply band-aids to our bullet holes with:
– unhealthy relationships
– cram-packed schedules
– anything that will take our minds off of our souls that are crying out for mending.
AND WE HAVE NO IDEA THAT OUR “CURES” ARE CREATING WOUNDS AND SICKNESS OF THEIR OWN.
As a “soul survivor”, I have known the deep, incessant ache of a broken and unhealthy soul.
I have felt the wounds left by others and the gashes I have inflicted on myself. Life and circumstance have left me bloody many times.
But no matter how many band-aids I slapped over the surface, regardless of the variety of self-medication I tried to apply to my soul’s pain, those bullet holes constantly reminded me that they were still there.
The soul will not be ignored.
It needs the healing touch of its Great Physician.
But practically speaking, how does that happen? How can we know and experience true healing?
From personal experience I can tell you where it started for me.
In my “cussing” closet.
At my most broken, when, as David put it in the Psalms, my soul was sick within me, I would retreat to my closet and scream out the pain that my battered soul was suffering.
Face down on the carpet. Vomiting tears like my body was trying to rid itself of poison.
My soul was sick with grief, with disappointment, with regret.
And I knew that there was nothing more that I could try to heal it by myself.
I recognized my diseased soul for what it was and cried to God for help.
I’d like to say that God healed my soul right then and there, but that would be a deceptive fairy tale of a story.
The truth is, my journey to healing has taken years. It has been excruciating at times, like a surgery without anesthesia. Repairing damage that I’d forgotten was even there. Flushing out wounds and removing the debris wasn’t always pleasant, but it was so necessary for true healing.
“Band-aids don’t fix bullet holes”
There were bullets that needed to be taken out and residual damage that needed to be addressed.
Then, and only then, could any kind of dressing be applied.
As I look back at all of the examples of Jesus healing people in the New Testament, I see the principles that seem to be necessary for knowing true healing.
– We have to be aware that our soul is broken and we have to want it fixed.
In John 5, Jesus sees a man who has been paralyzed for 38 years. He asks him, “Do you want to get well?”
Seems like a strange question to ask an infirmed person. But Jesus recognized that this man had learned to live in this state. Healing would mean a complete change in his life. Was he willing to give up sitting and begging to get up and start living? Was he willing to trust Jesus to heal him?
Is our sick soul ready for a change? Are we ready to “get up and walk”, trusting Jesus to give us what we need to start on the journey to healing?
This man decided to trust Jesus at His word and got up, grabbing his mat and walking into a brand new life of healing.
– We need to immerse ourselves in the healing power of God’s Word and Presence.
Matthew 8: 5-17 – When Jesus returned to Capernaum, a Roman officer came and pleaded with him, “Lord, my young servant lies in bed, paralyzed and in terrible pain.”
Jesus said, “I will come and heal him.”
But the officer said, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come into my home. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed. I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ‘Go,’ and they go, or ‘Come,’ and they come. And if I say to my slaves, ‘Do this,’ they do it.”
When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to those who were following him, he said, “I tell you the truth, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel! … Then Jesus said to the Roman officer, “Go back home. Because you believed, it has happened.” And the young servant was healed that same hour.
When Jesus arrived at Peter’s house, Peter’s mother-in-law was sick in bed with a high fever. But when Jesus touched her hand, the fever left her. Then she got up and prepared a meal for him.
That evening many demon-possessed people were brought to Jesus. He cast out the evil spirits with a simple command, and he healed all the sick. This fulfilled the word of the Lord through the prophet Isaiah, who said,
“He took our sicknesses
and removed our diseases.“
John 4:46-53 –
Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death.
“Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.”
The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”
“Go,” Jesus replied, “your son will live.”
The man took Jesus at his word and departed. While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, “Yesterday, at one in the afternoon, the fever left him.”
Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he and his whole household believed.
Jesus is still in the business of healing. Of miracles. His Word still breathes life into us. His presence and touch still heal us at the core.
When we read God’s promises of love and restoration and take them to heart, our souls begin to respond like a patient to treatment.
When we see Jesus’ heart toward the broken and His active participation in their healing, we begin to understand His care for us and our souls begin to drink in the salve of His touch on our lives.
– We need to take up our “mat” and walk.
Like the man at the pool, Jesus asks us to get up in faith (the man didn’t know he could walk until he trusted Jesus at his word and actually got up) and to take our “mat” with us and follow Him for our next steps.
Leave that place of pain that our soul has become so accustomed to with no intention of lying back down there again.
All of the people that Jesus touched and healed with his words and presence got a glimpse of the power of the Great Physician.
While Jesus was healing their physical wounds and illnesses, their souls were being changed and healed, too.
– Tell others about your journey to healing and Who is making it all happen.
Over and over again, when Jesus impacted the life of a person through healing in the New Testament, the former patients would share with others what the Great Physician had done for them.
One beautiful example was when Jesus met the woman at the well (John 4). Her soul was no doubt riddled with wounds that were caused both by others and her own choices.
But after meeting Jesus, after listening to His intimate knowledge of her and her life, after experiencing His love and His offer of life to her, she began to experience a healing so deep and profound that she had to go and tell others.
This confirmed her own experience.
It offered hope and healing to others.
It gave credit to the Healer.
In the healing of my own soul (that no doubt will continue for the rest of my life), I’ve discovered that when I recount to others what Jesus has done for me, my faith is revived all over again. And when they hear the “rags to riches” saga of my soul, they want that healing, too.
Band-aids will never fix bullet holes.
But I know Someone who can….
Psalm 147:3 – He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds.
(*Do you have more questions or want to discuss this on a more personal level? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you!)