Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything (James 1:2-4 NIV).
Friend to Friend
“You shouldn’t pick either one,” her mom replied.
I glanced back at Brooke as she tried to wipe away the bloody evidence that she had done both.
Little girls aren’t the only ones who pick at scabs. We big girls do it, too. Maybe we don’t pick at the brown crusty scabs that form over flesh wounds, but we do pick at bitter rusty scabs that form over soul wounds. Either way, picking at scabs keeps wounds from healing, and keeps us stuck from moving forward.
One day Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast. While he was there, He stopped by what was called The Sheep Gate Pool or Pool of Bethesda. The pool was surrounded by five covered colonnades or verandas where a great number of physically compromised people used to gather—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. They believed that from time to time an angel would come down from heaven and stir the waters. The first one in the water after such a stirring would be healed. So, there they sat, day-after-day, waiting for the mysterious rippling.
A man who had been lame for thirty-eight years caught Jesus’ eye. He walked over asked him, “Do you want to get well?” (John 5:6)
That is a strange question; or it is?
Sometimes we can grow comfortable being stuck in a bad story. Sure, there are heartaches and heartbreaks, disappointment and disillusionment, fear and fragile emotions, but at least we know what to expect out of life. Wounds can become like old friends that we wear as a badge of honor in some strange way. Sometimes it’s easier to cling to a bad story than embrace the redemption of a new one because the old one fits like a well-worn shoe. I’ve worn that old shoe with the floppy sole myself.
For the lame man by the pool, healing would mean a drastic lifestyle change. He would have to get a job and become a responsible part of the community. He would have to stand on his own two feet literally and figuratively. Begging is all he’d ever known. Do I want to get well? Hmmm. I’m not sure. At least I know what to expect in this condition. Let me think about that.
The first step to healing from past trauma, no matter how we received it, is to decide that we want to get well and move past it—that we want a better story. We may not have deserved or caused the wound, but that’s what we got. It may not be fair, but those are the facts.
James wrote, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything (1:2-4).
That looks good on paper, but it’s the “let perseverance finish its work” that trips me up. We will never move to mature, complete, lacking nothing if we stay stuck in the pain rather than move forward in the process of healing.
Even though the man never did answer Jesus’ question, Jesus stepped over his excuses and said, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk” (John 5:8). And he did.
Jesus had a knack for telling people to do what they didn’t think they could.
Stretch out the fingers of your withered hand.
Stand up straight and unbend your back.
Roll the stone away and let the dead man out.
Open your blind eyes and tell me what you see.
We all have some kind of condition. Maybe it’s not as visible as the lame man by the pool, but we have something in our stories we’d like to change. And Jesus asks the question…do you really want to live differently than you are right now. It’s paralyzing to live in the past. Jesus provides the way to move forward—to pick up our emotional mats and walk. 2020 has been a rough year, but this could be the year to leave the past in the past, to take up our mat of a hurtful past, and walk! Let’s do it together.
LORD, I really want to stop picking at this emotional scab or hurt and shame. As I move into a new year, I want to be healed of anything that has been holding me back. Show me if I have any past hurt or shame that I’ve been picking at and give me the power to open my hands and let it go.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
Read Isaiah 43:18, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.” (NIV) What former thing is God calling you to let go of today?
More from the Girlfriends
Sharon’s newest book will be released January 26, 2021. Click here to learn about preorder bonuses with free goodies!
Many of us feel broken. Our mistakes, the pain others have caused us, and circumstances outside our control taunt us every day, though we long to turn a new page. In When You Don’t Like Your Story, bestselling author Sharon Jaynes challenges us to ask: What if God doesn’t want us to rip out of difficult stories but repurpose them for good? What if your worst chapters could become your greatest victories?
What has been done to you and what has been done through you does not disqualify you from God’s best for your life. It qualifies you for an even greater purpose than you would have ever know without it. In fact, the worst parts of your story might just be what God uses the most. So sink deep into God’s life-changing truths. The next chapter is just beginning. Includes a Bible study guide.
© 2021 by Insert Sharon Jaynes. All rights reserved.