“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10 (ESV)
A few years ago, my step-daughter wrote a song, “Nasty Scab”. In her song she speaks about a hurt caused by someone in her past, and how every time she thinks of that person it’s just like ripping off a nasty scab – an infection that never seems to heal – one that causes pain every time it’s touched. I love the simple depth of her lyrics, and think most of us can probably relate.
When we fail to deal with a hurt from our past, it leads to an infection in our heart – sometimes, we don’t even know it’s there. For me, the hurt caused by a person in my past was buried so deep, I didn’t even know its manifestation was preventing me from experiencing life. I had just sealed off that part of my heart – that part of my soul – and refused to let it ever breathe again.
It’s not difficult to live that way – almost all of us to do it to some extent. Once we’ve been hurt, we learn to keep people at a safe distance. We don’t allow anyone too close – especially anyone who might have the potential to hurt us that way again. Sometimes, there are moments when we think we might feel something – something that reminds us that we are not fully alive – that there’s more we could be experiencing – more we could be feeling. More we could be living.
But out of fear, we ignore the urge to seek recovery, and instead push the “something” far from our thoughts and continue partially living in a phony existence, while the hurt festers in our soul.
I was this girl.
What I didn’t realize, was that by ignoring my need for healing, I was preventing myself from living. I didn’t realize that the part of my heart that was sealed off from feeling hurt again, was also sealed off from feeling love again. There was no way for love to come in, because there was no way for the infection to come out.
In fact, the only way to get the infection out was to open the wound again…
Through a series of events, God allowed the abscess in my heart to swell and finally expel the hurt that was buried so deep in my soul. I would be lying to you if I said it was not painful. It was excruciating. But my gentle Surgeon was patient and understanding. He stayed with me, and held my hand and wiped my tears, as He tenderly washed away the painful memories that tainted my heart.
God knew something I didn’t. He knew I would not be able to live completely, until I could love completely.
It was impossible for me to love God and others with my whole heart, because my whole heart wasn’t available. Part of it had been closed up and sealed off. I was in desperate need of open heart surgery. Light needed to be shed in that dark spot, so God could wash away all of the broken debris that was littering my heart. Once the wound was open and everything was out, it didn’t ache anymore. The pain was gone.
For the first time in a very long time, I could feel again. I could feel everything. It was real. I could feel love and I could feel sorrow, but it didn’t matter because all of it meant that I was alive! I was completely alive. I could love God with all my heart, and all my soul, and all my strength because I was whole.
That was several years ago. My wound is not gone – but healed. A scar now resides in its place. Like most scars, it has faded with time, but it will never go away completely. I’m okay with that though because that particular scar changed my life…completely.
You are the Master Surgeon, the One who heals all wounds. Your hand is gentle and steady and trustworthy. Thank you for performing surgeries that our hearts so often need. Please help us to look at our scars with gratitude – that you would love us enough to rescue us and restore us. Please help us to trust you more, so that we may live our whole life more completely.
In Your Most Precious and Holy Name,