The Wounded Healer
25 So the other disciples told him [Thomas], “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nail in his hands and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” 27 Then he [Jesus] said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” (John 20:25 & 27)
“Jesus has risen indeed!” We are going through the season of Eastertide after a big celebration of Easter Sunday. We know that Jesus died on the cross for our sins and has risen from the dead. We know Jesus won from the captivity of the oppressor. We know Jesus is the Lord, the Savior, the Healer, the Liberator, the Comforter, etc. But so what? If our mind never changes, our lives never change.
As soon as we are done with the Easter celebration, we bring our problems back into the center of our life again. We may return to our everyday life as Jesus’ disciples returned to their hometown after Jesus died on the cross. You shouted and praised the Lord, likely saying “Jesus is risen, indeed!” You may think, ‘so what?’ It is like the people who shouted waiving palm leaves, “Hosanna the Highest,” had changed their minds quickly and shouted, “Crucify him.” It is not only in the scripture story but also in our own stories, like repeating the pattern of jumping from a sinful life up into a graceful life.
Many of you have experienced being wounded directly or indirectly, personally or publicly, physically or emotionally, or by all things together. But, no one has been wounded more than Jesus has been physically, emotionally, and spiritually. In physics, no one doubts that Jesus was wounded on both hands and both feet by nails in addition to being beaten by the whip. Emotionally, Jesus got hurt by being rejected by the people in their hometown, betrayed by his disciples, and many of the people ridiculed him publicly. The Prophet Isaiah says, “He was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity; and as one from who others hide their faces he was despised, and we held him of no account” (Isaiah 53:3).
And, in spirit, Jesus was finally forsaken by God on the cross. Even though it was God’s Will, and even though Jesus prayed, “it will be done by your Will,” the forsakenness by God must have been his deepest wound. He said to God on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). Jesus became the Wounded Healer, as Henri J. M. Nouwen wrote in his book, “The Wounded Healer.” Even though we get wound in everyday life, we may become the wounded healers through our wounds, as did Jesus.
Nevertheless, we perhaps can see only our wound as if it seems to be more extensive and more profound. And then, we suffer from our deeper wounds everyday, sometimes complaining, “Why me?” “Why is it only me? Everyone else looks happy. Why am I not happy?” You may think, ‘’why do you have family issues; why do you have medical health issues; why do you have relationship issues; why only you?’ If you feel that only you are suffering from your wounds, I say, “Please look at your wound from a different perspective.” Just pay a little attention to why Jesus had been wounded. Jesus also did nothing wrong, but he was wounded by many. Perhaps, we also add to his wound in everyday life.
I sometimes think that perhaps, God allows us to get wounded so that we may notice God’s grace more through our wounds. Jesus understands about our wounds because he had the experience of being wounded. But, what about us? Why could we not understand Jesus’ wound even though we have experienced wounds, such as rejection, betrayal, shame, and even physical wounds? The disciple Thomas couldn’t believe that Jesus was risen and came to them and even though the other disciples saw Jesus, Thomas wouldn’t believe it unless he saw the wounds on his hands and feet for himself. Jesus, who knew Thomas’ mind, came to Thomas and showed the wounds on his hands and feet. Finally, Thomas believed in his resurrection. Like this, our wounds, perhaps, are evidence that God loves us, as if Thomas received a special grace through seeing Jesus’ wounds directly.
I have experienced many difficulties in life, getting more profound and more significant wounds through the years. However, since I believe in Jesus, my Savior, I can regard my wounds as evidence of God’s love. It is like a sign of the child of God. I’m growing in faith stronger through my wounds. As Jesus is the Wounded Healer, I am growing closer to Jesus through my wounds. I hope you also may see your wounds as evidence of God’s grace and love. By the grace of God, you may rejoice in your life even though you have wounds. Perhaps you would be a channel of grace as I feel that way.
The picture is from https://jesuslife.tistory.com/1807