When my daughter was three years old, she fell down our stairs. Her ongoing tears told me she had broken her arm. A few hours later an x-ray confirmed my deduction; she had broken both bones in her left forearm. So, we were ushered into the casting room of the orthopedic office.
I watched the tech gently slide a breathable cloth sleeve onto my daughter’s arm. Then she carefully wrapped the arm with a long strip of cotton, overlapping layers as she went, and securing some padding between my daughter’s index finger and thumb. Lastly, strips of wet fiberglass (pink, of course) were wrapped around the arm and allowed to dry to form the hard outer shell of the cast.
This memory came to mind this morning as I was reflecting on that worn out verse that says,”[God] heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds,”(Psalm 147:3). Clearly, this verse is talking about God healing emotional hurts, but my thoughts took me elsewhere. I thought about the healing process of physically broken and wounded people.
The casting process is multifaceted. There are several steps that have to be done in a certain order for the cast to serve it’s function in healing a bone. Casting takes precision and patience. The broken bone will heal correctly if the cast is put on correctly and left on for the correct amount of time.
I’m not up on my wound care, but it’s probably safe to say that process of healing open wounds requires similar diligence – washing, applying ointments, bandaging, taping, etc. Repeating these steps in the correct order for the correct amount of time will most likely result in healing of the skin.
Both processes are slow.
Kind of like how God heals our broken hearts and emotional wounds. Slowly.
Sometimes days and weeks and months and years may pass without us sensing that we are being healed in any way. As with the casted broken bone, all we can do is wait. There is nothing for us to do to expedite the process. God will heal our broken hearts with the fiberglass of time.
Other times we cooperate with God in the healing of our emotional wounds, daily doing our part to change bandages and apply more antiseptic. We have a role to play in our emotional healing – cleaning out closets, tossing what we don’t need, and replacing those items with things we’ve been missing all our lives. And after awhile, God heals our once festering wounds with the ointments of time and our own hard work.
All of it hurts.
But we live in a fallen world – where bones and skin sometimes break but hearts break much more frequently.
The thing about that verse, though, is that it clearly establishes God as the author of our healing. He does it. HE does it. Which means healing doesn’t originate with us. WE don’t have to figure it all out. Yes, He may ask for our cooperation in the healing process, but the power and wisdom and prerogative are all His.
We can rest.
Which, ironically, is exactly what our bodies and souls need to do when they are broken.