Lutheran Church Extension Fund

When you're hurting, Jesus still heals!

Monthly theme: Resilience

Reading time: two minutes

The Boo-Boo Bunny lives in our freezer.

She’s a little pink, fuzzy critter with a plastic frozen cube inside her. When one of the grandkids takes a tumble and comes up crying, we head for the Boo-Boo Bunny. A bump, a scrape, a couple of good hugs, some words of comfort and assurance, and a healing touch from the Bunny and, remarkably, amazingly, with a couple of tears still dripping down the cheek, we’re back outside and at it again.

That’s resilience. Not perfectly healed, (it still hurts a little), but back in the action.

At a time I really needed it, I found a term by Francis Schaeffer that made a big difference for me. It describes the power of the gospel to make a transformative influence in our lives, spiritually, emotionally, relationally, in every way really.

Schaeffer called it “substantial healing.” Not complete… yet. Not restored to perfection, to Eden, as we will be one day. But significant. Real. Substantial.

Last week we talked about recognizing when you’re hurting. It’s the first step to resilience, the capacity to get up a get going again in spite of the wounds we experience in ministry.

The next step is the substantial healing that comes through the gospel of Christ.

Part of it is remembering the sufferings of Christ and of the apostles, prophets and martyrs that went before us. Part of it is simply remembering that He knows our sorrows and is present in the pain.

But the greatest part of it is the forgiveness of sins; to be forgiven for the ways we hurt ourselves. And to learn to forgive when we’ve been wronged.

It’s substantial healing. The wounds turn to scars. You can get moving again with that kind of healing.

We forgive. We try to forget. Even when we can’t, substantially healed in a real and powerful way by the work of God Himself, we move on.

When you’ve been hurt by your hectic schedule, by the unreasonable expectations of ministry, by the words or the actions of the people you depend on, the gospel of forgiving grace is real healing balm.

So how do you know if you’ve been “substantially healed” by the Lord’s kindness?

Here’s a couple of simple clues to watch for.

If the bad mood that’s been hanging around a relationship clears up and a sunnier, lighter atmosphere has moved in, you’ve experienced substantial healing.

If your thought life, once stuck in the bitterness that often accompanies hurt, has moved on and thoughts of resentment and revenge have moved away, you’ve experienced substantial healing.

If exhaustion has been replaced by vitality, you’ve been substantially healed.

If the “shoulds” that run through your mind and heart have been replaced by peace and joy, you’ve been substantially healed.

Sometimes we need the ministry of a mentor, a friend, a father confessor, or a pastoral counselor to get us to the place of substantial healing. I’ll share more about that next week.

But I pray that the love of a Savior will see you through your times of brokenness and bring you more fully to the joy of ministry, substantially healed.

Thanks for reading.