November 17, 2020
You Deserve to Stop Suffering
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When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, Do you want to be healed? John 5:6 (ESV)
I walked into my appointment with my counselor, Jim, wishing Id canceled. I just didnt feel up to tackling the topic of forgiveness that day.
So much felt unsettled in my life. Not only were my husband Art and I separated, but there were also layers of complicated realities that prevented us from being able to sit down and process the fallout after his betrayal. I was devastated. Shattered. And so caught off guard that this nightmare was my real life. I couldnt even open my mouth without a flood of emotion rushing out.
As I sat in Jims office, I felt utterly unmotivated to talk and overly motivated to cry.
Lysa, do you have the desire to heal from this?
I nodded my head yes. I did want to heal. From the marital devastation. From the shock of all the unpredictable ways people had reacted to what happened.
But how could I possibly start healing when there was no resolution or restitution or reconciliation with Art or others who had hurt me?
I thought those who did wrong things would realize they were wrong. And then surely they would say they were sorry and seek to make things right between us. Then, I would consider forgiveness. And then I could possibly heal.
As Jim kept talking, I started to realize I might never feel like things were fair. Even if the people who hurt me suddenly became repentant and owned all theyd done, that wouldnt undo what happened. That wouldnt instantly heal me or make any of this feel right.
And based on their reactions so far, they werent going to apologize any time soon.
Therefore, I had to separate my healing from their choices. My ability to heal cannot depend on anyones choices but my own.
It reminded me of something I learned during a trip to the Holy Land when my guide taught about the only two healing miracles recorded in the book of John that Jesus performed in Jerusalem. Only two!
The first was a healing at the pool of Bethesda.
In John 5, we read about a lame man who thought he needed the cooperation of other people to help him get to the water when the angels stirred it, according to the superstition believed by many. So, when Jesus came and asked him the question we find in our key verse, Do you want to be healed? the mans response was surprising. He gave Jesus an excuse based on the fact that no one would help him into the water.
Isnt it amazing that the man was so focused on what others needed to do that he almost missed what Jesus could do?
Without one word about the other people, Jesus instructed him to get up, pick up his mat and walk. The Bible then says, At once the man was cured (John 5:9a, NIV). The healing didnt involve anyone but the paralyzed man and Jesus.
The other healing miracle is found in John 9 with a blind man. In this story, we find the disciples wanting to know whose actions caused this mans blindness. Surely someone was at fault. But Jesus blew that assumption apart. He didnt place blame or shame on anyone. He said this mans blindness happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him (John 9:3, NIV). Jesus then spat onto the ground, mixed up some mud and rubbed it onto the blind mans eyes, instructing him to go and wash in the pool of Siloam. Notice that Jesus didnt make healing contingent on other people doing or owning anything.
Jesus gave the instruction. The blind man obeyed. Jesus healed. The blind man moved forward. My guide in Jerusalem that day said one of these miracles showed us a new way to walk, and the other showed us a new way to see.
I couldnt grab my journal to record this revelation fast enough. I wrote, For me to move forward, for me to see beyond this current darkness, is between me and the Lord. I dont need to wait on others to do anything. I must simply obey what God is asking of me right now. God has given me a new way to walk. And God has given me a new way to see. Its forgiveness. And it is beautiful.
Oh, friend, what if we stopped waiting for things to feel right and fair and placed our healing in the hands of Jesus instead?
Our ability to heal cannot depend on others wanting our forgiveness, but only on our willingness to give it.
Our ability to heal also cannot depend on them receiving adequate consequences for their disobedience, but only on our obedience to trust Gods justice whether we ever see it or not. We can trust sin has built-in consequences. We dont have to see it to know that the other person will eventually have to face what theyve done. My healing is my choice. And your healing? Its with the utmost compassion that I say your healing is your choice too.
I know how incredibly hard all of this is. But Im finding what I learned both in Israel and in my counselors office to be true.
We can heal. We can forgive. We can trust God. And none of those beautiful realities can be held hostage by another person.
You deserve to stop suffering because of what other people have done to you, sweet friend. And todays a good day to let that process start.
Lord, I confess that forgiveness and healing feel incredibly hard to choose sometimes, but I know You will give me the strength to walk through these processes. Thank You for inviting me to see and walk in a new, healed way today. Thank You for making me more like You. In Jesus Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 147:3, He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. (NIV)
Dont miss this! Join Lysa TerKeurst (virtually) at her home for a special 30 minute message of healing, redemption and how to move forward from hurt in relationships that we all need right now. Watch the free livestream on her Facebook at 7 p.m. ET tonight here.
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REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Have you ever found yourself stuck in a place of believing your ability to heal is dependent on other people and their choices? What kind of hope did you find in todays devotion? Share your thoughts in the comments.
2020 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.