This morning I watched as my husband, Jonny, limped down the stairs and into the living room, his leg obviously hurting him. Just two days ago he had a squamous cell carcinoma the size of a silver dollar removed from his shin. Those days as a California surfer have caught up to his previously unprotected yet deliciously golden brown skin and now skin cancer is a word we have been fitting into our language like a rock on our tongues. The good news: this type of skin cancer is fairly common and can be completely removed without any worry of it returning. The bad news: They have to dig and scrape and burn and cut away everything that has the inkling of possibly being the cancer, and,
So as Jonny limped this morning, Scarlett asked her Daddy if his leg was feeling a little better? Jonny responded by saying, "No, it hurts." Scarlett, not understanding how this is possible, says, "No, is it feeling a liiiittle bit better?" and Jonny said again, "No, it hurts." Scarlett ended up mumbling something about it feeling better, making it obvious that her dad just wasn't understating her question. This is understandable because we have taught her that the body, our bodies, are magnificent creations by God that are designed to heal themselves. Cuts scab over and mend, bruises change color and fade, colds run their course changing coughing fits to deep unhindered breaths. She is familiar with the intrusion of pain and then it's gradual lessening as the body does it's work repairing and restoring, but she believes that with healing comes the recession of pain. So, now we are trying to figure out
1. how to explain to her that sometimes, even oftentimes, healing hurts more than the incision
2. how to teach her to be able to get through it.
As I sat in my sunny spot in the other room, I kept hearing that conversation on repeat in my head as I thought about the truth, that I have often found, of those two words,
Physical pain doesn't make me nervous. Don't get me wrong, I would give up government secrets if I were being tortured, but, I've never been the person who is eagerly grabbing for pain medications, even through surgeries, childbirth or my back going out. Emotional pain, on the other hand, does make me anxious. I fear losing someone that I know and love, whether in death or even estrangement, and it's that type of injury that makes me worry that if because of the great pain, then there must be an absence of healing. I find myself wondering if I will remain bruised or broken emotionally for the rest of my life, unable to fully heal or recover. You can even hear me voicing these worries in my song "The Damaged" (watch a live video of this song here: The Damaged- Live Performance Video) on my latest cd "Current." But, I have spent much of my life hiding the word of God in my heart, shoving it deep inside each crevasse, for those moments in life when I can't see a way through. When the pain blinds and deafens. So, up from the depths of my heart, I pulled and withdrew two verses that had been lodged there:
"For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."- 1 Corinthians 1:18
"God’s word is alive and working. It is sharper than the sharpest sword and cuts all the way into us. It cuts deep to the place where the soul and the spirit are joined. God’s word cuts to the center of our joints and our bones. It judges the thoughts and feelings in our hearts."- Hebrews 4:12 (You may remember me writing about this verse a while back in a blog called Knots That Bind #7)
The point of our healing begins at the cross. Through the word of the cross, and our acceptance of it, the word begins its cutting, pointing out the places where we have been decaying and being eaten alive by sin. Sin that perhaps began much like my husbands skin cancer- 1 rogue cancer cell that began multiplying, then it's offspring that began dividing and finally an uncontrolled multiplication of cells that need to be removed to avoid death- this sin also needs to be found, biopsied, poked and prodded to see it as it truly is and then cut out in order for salvation/healing to occur. The cross is the incision, it is the removal, the gathering back up and binding.
The cross is our healing.
The cross hurts.
But, because of the cross, we have something that makes all of life not only bearable, but even joyful.
What is it about Jonny's hurting/healing leg that doesn't leave him despondent?
He knows the outcome of the pain. He knows that the pain will eventually subside and the leg will be healed, back to it's old self, this time without the cancer within it. He has hope.
Hope: the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.
Hope: to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence.
Hope: to believe, desire, or trust.
Hope: to place trust; rely in.
This, also, is what we have through the cross. The cross was a flag thrust into the ground where we can clearly see, "This is where healing begins." We don't have to worry that because of the sharp stabs and smothering aches of pain, that healing is not occurring. The cross promises that healing is occurring and that is a hope we can dig our fingers into, that we can wind around our wrists and waists for those moments of torturous falling.
Yes, sometimes healing hurts, but, when it is stitched and bound in hope, we can hobble through the living room knowing that although there is pain today, it will subside, it's echo growing more faint, and someday our hobble will lessen, until eventually, we are, once again, repaired and restored.