Sunday, January 26, 2014

Wounded Healers...

This morning I am in a reflecting mood. I remember a talk given by Rick Warren over 15 years ago; and the thesis of the talk has echoed numerous times along my journey. The talk is based on the passage of Scripture in Genesis 32, where Jacob wrestles with God. Before the match is over, two things happen to Jacob: 1) God touches Jacob's hip so that as they wrestled, Jacob's hip came out of socket. The Bible says that from then on, Jacob walked with a limp. 2) God blesses Jacob and changes Jacob's name to Israel.

The words I remember Rick Warren speak are these: "If you want to be used by God, you will walk with a limp for the rest of your life."

Warren goes onto teach the idea that God uses us through our sufferings and weaknesses to help others navigate through this difficult journey called life.

I think God uses us though our suffering for many reasons:
1. It clarifies the source of strength in our life. The 1st Step in the 12 Step Recovery Movement is acknowledging that we are powerless, and that our life has become unmanageable. We can achieve a lot from our own will power and intelligence. But in the end, we will always come up short. We cannot do life alone (at least not happily & successfully). We need help from a higher source.
2. It humbles us before Him, and opens us up to further spiritual formation. God is continuously working on his masterpiece that we call me. This is not said out of arrogance; but a heart filled with grace.  Ephesians says:
    For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. 
3. It humbles us before others, and opens us up to true community.  To love and be loved. To know and be known.  We may become friends with people by being initially attracted to them by their intelligence, humor, or success; but the strong roots of friendship are grown only when the shared experiences of struggle are shared.
4. It reminds us that our primary role is to serve. God will definitely use our gifts and strengths; but the sharing of our sufferings with others has great power to change lives as well.

Where in life have you suffered?  
Have you turned the experience over to God, and sought out true and deep healing? 
Ask God to meet you where you suffer.
Ask him to touch you and heal you.
Ask him to bless you and use you to be a source of healing for others.

Georges Rouault
Next Time:  I'll share some of my personal struggles...maybe. :-)

Rick Warren article on How to Lead through Weakness
The Wounded Healer by Henri Nouwen

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