“For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin
” (Hebrews 14:15). Our High Priest has this understanding of who we are, and how we hurt, because He walked where we walk and felt every emotion that we will ever feel. He Himself has been wounded by life and by others. Zechariah speaks prophetically of the coming Messiah who answers the question, “What are these wounds in thine hands?” by saying, “Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends
.” He has been wounded, too, not for His own sake but for ours. Isaiah tells us, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed
.” He can fully and completely heal us because He Himself is a wounded healer. Only hurt people can heal.
Amy Carmichael wrote:
Hast thou no scar?
No hidden scar on foot, or side, or hand?
I hear thee sung as mighty in the land;
I hear them hail thy bright, ascendant star.
Hast thou no scar?
Hast thou no wound?
Yet I was wounded by the archers; spent,
Leaned Me against a tree to die; and rent
By ravening beasts that compassed Me, I swooned.
Hast thou no wound?
No wound? No scar?
Yet, as the Master shall the servant be,
And pierced are the feet that follow Me.
But thine are whole; can he have followed far
Who hast no wound or scar?
So it is that in His world, it is the wounded and scarred He calls to Himself. For they, like Him, have known the agony and despair, yet in dying to self live again in Him.
Just as the runaway check mark identifies a Nike runner and golden arches identify McDonald’s, scars are the trademark of Jesus Christ. After the resurrection, Thomas saw Jesus appear in the room without opening the door. He heard His voice. It was only when he saw the scars that he said, “My Lord and my God!” We are recognized as His by our scars.
Jesus Christ trafficked in every emotion. He explored the vast treasury of pain so that when we cry He could truly say, “I understand. I have been there.”
When He was falsely accused and the crowd that had been crying “Blessed is he…” had changed their song to “Crucify him!” He could say from the cross, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
When a penitent thief, dying next to Him, cried out He had a word of assurance: “…Verily I say unto thee, this day…”
There was a word of provision for a heartbroken, grieving mother, “Woman, behold thy son. Son, behold thy mother.”
He even understood the feeling of being God-forsaken. He cried, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
He knew physical need. He said, “I thirst…”
He even knew what it was to commit what appeared to be an impossible situation into the hands of a loving God. “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” Notice, here He said, “my spirit.” It’s an important thing to release your spirit into the hands of God. If something cannot affect your spirit, it cannot affect your destiny.
At some time in our lives every individual will experience the stabbing heartbreak of betrayal by a trusted loved one or friend. Our reaction as the one betrayed determines our future success in life. A betrayal can be a blessing. We give far too much glory to the devil, the world, the flesh for the circumstances in our lives. We blame our enemies when we are under attack. Yet, great peace and quietness become ours when we refuse to recognize second causes in our life. God is sovereign. He is our Father. This is first and foremost. He allows, He overrules, or He sanctifies. Whatever comes your way falls into those three categories: He allows it – He overrules it – or He sanctifies it and makes it serve us. Always remember, God is sovereign.
In the blessedness of quietness David endured, with a patient spirit, the cursing of Shimei. He forbade any evil be done to him. This was the loving hand of God working good through Shimei’s evil. His men saw it and marveled at David’s strength.
Joseph was betrayed – betrayed by his brother, betrayed by Potiphar’s wife, betrayed by a fellow-prisoner. Joseph should have been, could have been, mortally wounded in his inner man by the things that had happened to him to such a degree that he would perish under the bitterness. He had been so often personally rejected it could have literally destroyed him. Yet, he had a dream and he never forgot his God. The secret of his sanity, the triumphant conqueroring patience he possessed is revealed in his words to his brethren, “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive”(Genesis 50:20).
If you have a word from God, anything that happens to you between then and its fulfillment is temporary. His Word will always come to pass despite the pain and pressure of the time in between.
You might find yourself now in a situation where you are perplexed over the betrayal of a friend or a disappointment at church or work or in your family. If you can only grasp this simple truth, it will make all the difference in your world. God is sovereign. He could have overruled it if He so desired. However, He allowed it to happen so rejoice in the blessing as He is owning you as His own and preparing you for the comfort and the blessing of others. “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” (II Corinthians 1:3-4).
He has graced your life with the glorious privilege of sharing with you the most intimate of the sufferings of Jesus Christ – the fellowship of betrayal. Jesus had need of the betrayal in His own life so God in His own faithfulness may have chosen our betrayals. He knew full well that had the choice been ours we would never have chosen a betrayer.
Following his Damascus road experience, Paul lived a life of God’s will worked out in humanity. One time he was heading for Bithynia when God said, “Don’t go.” He tried to go again. God said, “Don’t go.” Finally, he had a vision of Macedonia and followed it. Paul had wanted to go east; God wanted him to go west. Paul was very human. He had personal desire and ambition. He also was committed to the God who rules and overrules what ultimately ends up in our lives. Paul went on in the next verses to remind us that we are chosen, adopted, and accepted:
“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved” (Ephesians 1:3-6).
Notice the three words Paul used in this passage. We are chosen, adopted, accepted. That is the God-ordained chain of events for all of us. He chooses us, He adopts us, He accepts us.
When you are chosen, you are specifically selected. Does your stomach still drop when you remember grade school playground games when teams were being chosen and you weren’t first? David was forgotten by his father, ignored by his brothers. He was definitely last in the line. However, sometimes God chooses from the back of the line and those who the world might label losers become winners in His kingdom.
God chooses us to use us. A key can be cut and carefully designed but it is totally useless until someone picks it up and uses it. We should rejoice when we get in God’s hands. He slips us in where He wants us. We must be committed to His hand in restful trust. Can you imagine having to chase a key that doesn’t want to go in its designated slot and open up the door it’s designed to open? Please remember, too, that frequency of usage has nothing to do with the significance of design or purpose. Some keys are used more than others. But, when that particular key is needed, no other will do. It’s what being chosen means.
There are three Greek words that are used for adoption in the scriptures. In this particular passage the word actually refers to a son and infers that it is a full-grown person, mature in purpose and person. In our role as His adopted children, He does not deal with us as runny-nosed babies or spoon-fed infants. He sees us as grown ups. He sees me becoming – He doesn’t see me failing.
Even when we do fail, acceptance steps in. He does not boot us out. He loves us. The verb “accepted” means that while I’m standing here in my fear, He accepts me as I am and invites me to grow beyond my failure. He moves in my direction. He pursues me in grace. That’s what it means to be accepted in the beloved.
Jesus Christ heals and delivers beyond our dreams to a place where His expectations of us are fulfilled. Jesus Christ – The Wounded Healer – chooses, adopts, accepts. It’s how He feels about us.