Last month I was blessed with the opportunity to go on a senior retreat with my school and although I had an enjoyable time with my friends, I traveled back down the mountain feeling disappointed and angry with God. I approached the retreat with an expectation that God would transform my heart and heal me from my pain, but I left just as broken as I came. I needed God to show up and He didn’t. I have been praying for two years for God to heal me from my trauma, but as of two weeks ago I was still having panic attacks for the same reasons and it has left me questioning God and asking, “Where are you when I need you the most?” Well, He gave me my answer at Shepherd Church’s youth group the following night when He responded to my doubt with the reassuring words, “I never left."
"When you are surrounded by pain and in desperation for healing do not forsake the One who has never forsaken you,"
One thing I’ve learned this past month is that no matter how much we wish it did, healing doesn’t happen overnight. Healing is a process that begins once we address the root of our pain, but sometimes those roots are deeper than they may appear and before we can reach the root, God has to dig up the weeds that surround it. This means that in order for God to restore our hearts through healing, He first needs to reveal the hidden broken aspects of our lives that also need to be mended. Just because we don’t see immediate results does not mean that God is not at work in our suffering, and during the times where doubt is loud we must grasp onto the faithful character of God. The Bible assures us that God is faithful to His promises (Hebrews 10:23) and because of that we can find comfort in the promise of healing that is found in Christ, “By His wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5), God does not promise us that we might be healed, He doesn’t even say we will be healed, this verse promises that because of Christ we have already been healed. When you are surrounded by pain and in desperation for healing do not forsake the One who has never forsaken you, instead recount all the times you have experienced God’s healing and trust that He will remain faithful to His promise.
"Sometimes we become so numb to our trauma that instead of overcoming it we define ourselves by it."
Mark chapter 5 depicts the life of a woman who was desperate for healing. This nameless woman had been bleeding for twelve years and when she heard of Jesus, she followed him through a crowd because she believed that if she could just touch the edge of his robe, she would be healed. Now if we look deeper into this story I think a lot of us will see a reflection of ourselves in this woman. For a start, the Bible does not define her by a name, instead she is known by her pain. Sometimes we become so numb to our trauma that instead of overcoming it we define ourselves by it. A lot of us refuse to surrender our trauma to God because we don’t remember who we were before we were broken. We label ourselves as abused, victim, depressed, and sick when God has already named us survivor, strong, beloved, and healed.
"What do you do when healing seems hopeless?"
The next verse that I want to focus on is verse 26 which says that the woman, “had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.” Just like her I searched for healing in people, whether it was my therapist, “how to…” books, or advice from other sexual assault survivors, every attempt at healing left me feeling more broken than before and asking myself “what do I do now?” What do you do when the chemo fails and the cancer is back? What do you do when the pills don’t work and the doctors don’t have an answer? What do you do when your marriage has become too broken for counselors to fix? What do you do when you're grieving the loss of a friend or family member? What do you do when healing seems hopeless? Well, I think we should follow the woman’s example in the passage. In her most desperate moment she chose to pursue Jesus through the crowd because she knew that what was impossible with men, was undeniably possible with God. We must pursue God with the same faith. Just like the woman pursued Christ through the crowd we must pursue Christ through our crisis. Where people fail Christ succeeds and where we are wounded Christ will heal, all we need to do is fearlessly pursue him.
"Pursue God so boldly that your demons tremble and have a faith so powerful that your mountains move."
The last thing I need you to notice is Jesus’ response to the woman after He heals her, “He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” Jesus’ almighty power is not what He attributed to the woman’s healing...her faith was. Jesus says that because of her FAITH she was healed, and millions of years later our faith can and will heal us too. Pursue God so boldly that your demons tremble and have a faith so powerful that your mountains move. I promise that if you seek God in your desperation, He will bring you restoration. You just need to take the first step and have faith that He will.
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”