Do you ever take time to look back at your Facebook memories?
I do. Most of my social media memories are old blogs or videos I posted years before. But occasionally, a picture will pop up that reminds me of something funny that happened, an adventure Jamie and I went on, or even something difficult we went through.
A few days ago, Jamie and I were driving when he told me about a memory on his timeline. He wasn't thrilled. Instead, it reminded him that he spent most of last Fall recovering from a benign tumor that had to be removed from his toe.
It started in late August and early September. Almost out of the blue, he had incredible pain. Then, a white spot began to form on his big toe…almost like a blister.
At first, the doctor thought it was a stress fracture. As it grew worse, they thought he was fighting an infection and put him on antibiotics. Nothing helped.
Even though Jamie lives with the daily pain of his disability, he said the tumor on his toe was the most painful thing he's ever experienced. Finally, unable to bear the pain any longer, he went to a foot specialist who said, "There's a fluid-filled cyst in the toe."
The only solution was to face the problem and undergo surgery to remove the cyst/tumor. Right there in the office, he had emergency surgery.
Here's the thing: even though he had to stay off his foot for the next few weeks so that the wound would heal correctly, the intense pain in his toe went away when the tumor was removed.
Often, the same thing is true in our lives. Daily, we walk around in pain, struggling with issues and attitudes, completely unaware of where the problem is coming from.
Then the Holy Spirit, by God's grace and love, says, "The root of the problem is here…you need to go through the Biblical steps of Finding Healing to remove the issue causing the pain."
Do we always want to go through the process?
Is it for our good?
Next to salvation, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit, emotional and mental healing is one of God's greatest gifts to His children.
It gives us freedom from our past and new hope for the future. It allows us to find deliverance from bondages and lies that literally hold us captive and keeping us from experiencing the abundant life that God has for us.
It is one of the central reasons that Jesus came to earth and died on the cross for our sins.
Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:4-5, NIV)
Jesus came so that we could experience healing.
And yet, often, like my brother had to endure surgery to remove the cause of the extreme pain in his toe, the process of removing what is causing pain in our hearts and minds is often painful.
Many times, because we don't want to face the pain—Christians avoid what will bring them healing.
I understand this.
Oftentimes, before the Holy Spirit has healed an area that was causing me pain and keeping me from being all that He wants me to be, my first reaction is: "I don't want to do this."
Usually, it means facing a truth about my past that I don't want to face because I know it will hurt.
I know that during this last round of inner healing, there were times when I would be angry that the Holy Spirit uncovered a lie or showed me the truth because it hurt so incredibly badly. I'd say in the middle of the pain, "I could have gone my whole life without knowing that. Why would You show me something that hurts so much?"
But every time, the answer was, "Because I want to heal you."
After I'd cried and journaled and talked about the issue with someone I trusted until I was all talked out, I'd realize: Now that I knew the truth, this lie couldn't hurt me anymore. I could now embrace the real truth and walk in freedom.
Even though pain was involved, on the other side, there was healing.
Today, I don't know what wounds you are facing.
I don't know the issues in your life that the Holy Spirit may be asking you to address and overcome.
What I know is this: There's no greater gift you can give yourself than responding to God's offer of healing.
Don't let the fear of painful memories or rocking the boat from the truth that God wants to uncover keep you in bondage.
Will there be pain?
Yes. For a little while.
Could learning the truth cause problems?
Yes. However, it won't really cause the problems. It will just uncover existing problems and reveal ways to find solutions.
In the end, any pain or difficulty you go through will be worth the effort to gain freedom and healing.
Just like the surgeon's scalpel brought pain as it removed the tumor, God's healing allows temporary pain to remove the pain that is crippling our lives and keeping us from spiritual and emotional healing.
When we allow the Holy Spirit to do His work, we will find that the Great Physician is able to carry us through the pain, through our recovery and bring us to a place of unimaginable healing and freedom.
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Adessa Holden is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God specializing in Women's Ministry. Together with her brother, Jamie, they manage 4One Ministries and travel the East Coast speaking, holding conferences, and producing Men's and Women's resources that provide practical Biblical teaching for everyday life.
When asked about herself, she'll tell you "I'm a women's minister, a sister, and a daughter. I love to laugh and spend time with people. My favorite things are chocolate, the ocean, sandals and white capris, anything purple, summertime and riding in the car listening to music. It is my absolute honor and privilege to serve Jesus and women through this ministry."