It is impossible to go through life without hurting someone or being hurt by another person….even if it is unintended. Regardless of whether we are the “hurter” and the “hurtee”, as believers, it is likely we go through a rough patch – experience some wilderness – until we are restored.
This wilderness experience is not simply reserved for the victim but also for the perpetrator of the hurt. While the victim may land in the wilderness as a result of anger, resentment, bitterness and so forth, the perpetrator may experience their own wilderness because of perpetual self- condemnation and an inability to grant self-forgiveness. Here is the thing, whether we are the hurter or the hurtee, our ability to escape the jaws of the wilderness depends on how determined we are to fully surrender our hurt to Christ.
Just as it is important to know what to do when in the wilderness to survive, we must know what to do to move past our hurts.
When I got hurt, I chose to remain a victim. Instead of surrendering my hurts to Christ, I took matters into my own hands and purposed in my heart and mind that I was never going to put myself in a position to be hurt again – so I guarded my heart and built a fortress around my mind. I ensured that nothing moved me deeply and so segregated emotions, feelings, and sensitivity from all things. Nothing was going to penetrate my shield…….not even God! In effect, I told God, “You can control everything else, but I control my heart, so shoo…go away”. I was at the wheel and I almost drove my life right off a cliff by making decisions based on my hurts. As a result of choosing to be a perpetual victim of my past hurts rather than surrender it to Him, I ended up victimizing the people I came into contact with.
Whilst the natural tendency after being hurt is to take control and guard our own hearts out of fear, the bible shows us a better way for our hearts to be guarded.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6 – 7
Thus it is the peace of God which comes through prayer and supplication that guards our hearts and keeps us alive until we escape the wilderness and are restored to our oasis.
Upon learning how to survive, we must become action minded and start to look for a way out. We pick up the trail back to our oasis when we stop our self-pity, self-righteousness, and self-focus but instead focus our attention on our guide, Jesus. When we pay attention to what He tells us though His word, we get jolted with the reality that all have hurt and all have been hurt. That no one has been hurt more than God (through our sin and disobedience) and no man more than Jesus when he lived. But then we also get jolted with the truth that He has paid the price for all we could ever do, say or feel. That through Him, we are restored and are the head and not the tail. When we focus on Jesus, we start to trust Him and allow Him to lead us out of our wilderness.
This is exactly what Jesus did as a man when experiencing His own wilderness. What if Jesus had not trusted God but allowed His experience and emotions to lead Him? What if He had focused on all the wrongs that were done to Him – the insult, the ridicule, the scourging, and the betrayal – none of which He deserved? What if He had not surrendered fully to God? He would not have been glorified and would not be sitting at the right-hand side of God now, and we may still be living under the law.
But He did fully surrender to God and won victory for all the hurt that could ever come our way!
The trust we build in Jesus is what allows us to lay all our hurts and burdens on Him in humility and prayer while taking all the necessary steps to find closure as He leads us – perhaps through counseling. In time, we find that our ashes are turned into beauty and have been made into new beings – with the muck of the past and its impact on our lives washed away. Truly, the old passes away and everything becomes new.
“If only my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14
So, why surrender our hurts to God? He alone can heal us and will refine us. No one else can.
Food for Thought: I find my oasis when I choose to focus on God rather than on my hurts