Friday, June 5, 2015

Healing in Revealing

“I will restore to you the years that the locusts have eaten” (Joel 2:25).  This verse is speaking of the plagues sent to Egypt by the Lord. Moreover, it speaks to each of us of the toll life has taken on us. Every one has experienced loss of life or treasure, including health and wealth. For some our innocence has been stolen in violent and scurrilous ways.

I served as Chaplain for two psychiatric hospitals where I counseled numerous patients who have been violated severely in life. My experience has indicated that a large portion of all women hospitalized have at some time been raped as children or adults through incest.  These violations are scarring and traumatizing, especially when perpetrated by alleged loved ones.  Often, the victim is threatened to promise to keep it secret, under pain of death or injury.  Years of troubled life may go by with this secret only causing pain and discord internally and externally. Unresolved molestation does not go away unless healed by God. This requires courage and openness to re-injury or pain.

I suggest a process like grieving, as these losses involve grief over loss of innocence or purity.  It starts with Steal, Conceal, Feel, Reveal, Heal, and Release and Reveal again. Why so many reveals?  Many counselors tell us that we must reveal a secret to begin to heal. The revealing must begin even though the victim will feel pain again, but the secret stops. This is not telling a secret but revealing a wrong, a crime.  Bringing an injury, a sore, into the open, begins the healing process. That which is done in darkness will be brought into the light. The Lord turns my darkness into light” (2Sam 22:29).  The psalmist says, “my God turns my darkness into light.”  How does God do this?  Job 12:22 says, “He reveals the deep things of darkness and brings deep shadows into the light.”  This may be scary, but nothing done in darkness can be hidden- it will be revealed.  This is good news, but admittedly scary as we will need to face it and it may be out of our control in so doing. But God is good and faithful and will provide a way through so we can stand up under it (1Cor. 10:13).

The psalmist in Ps 103 praises the God “who forgives all our sins and heals all of our diseases, and who lifts our lives from the pit and who fills us with love and compassion.”  What a promise- God will heal. In fact some of the last words of the OT in Malachi 4:2 are "But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall.” This verse is speaking of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, who has come with healing of sins and sorrows. He has come to make us new, promising that the old will be gone when we trust in Him as our Lord and Savior. He heals all!!

God is saying REVEAL it to me and see what I will do. I will heal you He says. In healing we need to feel the pain again. But God is in the pain with us. He tells us in Isaiah 43 "Fear not for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”  The Holy One will heal and protect you through the trauma. All treatment for PTSD speaks of re-experiencing the trauma. Therapists start with less intense feelings and gradually increase the exposure. For it is in Re-experiencing that we are released, because they cannot hurt you again.

So as you REVEAL you are HEALED. Now release the pain to Christ. Allow God to take the pain and bring forgiveness. This step brings release perhaps from the prison of our memories. Perhaps it does not bring forgetting, but God wants us to forgive as he has forgiven us. He has given us the ministry of reconciliation so that we may first be reconciled to him and then to others, even those who have injured us.  This reconciliation might not be personally going to the perpetrator, as this might not be safe, advisable or they may be gone. But God will restore us as we seek reconciliation from him and others. Perhaps prayer, confession to a counselor or other godly person will be a good beginning. Then possibly a letter or journaling or even a personal meeting with the perpetrator, accompanied by safe friends, will bring confrontation and release and perhaps reconciliation.

Now you are coming through the trial and trauma, day by day.  At some point it will be time to share your testimony of healing openly and even publicly that you and others can be healed. Your testimony may allow others to begin their process of healing and you will be part of the process.

God says that He will work all things together for good for those who love Him and are called by Him (Romans 8:28). He will make good happen to you and others even through bad and injurious things. He did not cause the trouble, but He will make good of it if you trust him. To Him be the glory.

Isaiah 61:7-8New International Version (NIV)

Instead of your shame
    you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
    you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
    and everlasting joy will be yours.
“For I, the Lord, love justice;
    I hate robbery and wrongdoing.
In my faithfulness I will reward my people
    and make an everlasting covenant with them.

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