Is this helpful?
Have I said too much?
He said yes, then no, respectively. He seemed lightened.
And while I worried that perhaps I had said too much,
I added one more thing.
This may be too much for you to think about right now,
I told him, so let it fly by if that’s the case. The first book of the Bible I memorized is the one I’ve taken to every surgery, every scoping, every MRI, every infusion. James. How I hate his missive.
“My brothers, consider it pure joy whenever you fall into all kinds of trials because you know that the testing of your faith produces patience, and let patience finish its work so that you may be perfect and complete lacking in nothing.”
Oh yes, I do hate James. There’s no forgiving him.
But he’s simply naming the engine, the mechanism by which we learn the deeper lessons of life, of truth, of God. And it’s an engine fueled by pain and suffering.
I hate that.
If all things are possible with God, then why isn’t there a plan B by which you deepen and mature, I don’t know, through eating chocolate – or even through drinking green smoothies every morning?
It’s fueled by suffering, by pain, by tears.
Here’s the reality. Every healer is a wounded healer. Through the pain you are enduring daily, through the wounds it will leave behind in you will pour forth healing to others in pain. You won’t even have to try. You will know, they will know. You’ll be able to help people with a look that others who don’t know what it is to suffer will never even touch with a thousand offered words of comfort.
It’s not something for anyone to aspire to. I don’t recruit for this ministry. I wish it had never come to me. I would teach people how to read Greek sentences and parse Hebrew verbs. I would teach them how to memorize Scripture like the book of James and pray to God they would never be able to relate to half of what James says about suffering.
Nevertheless, blessing will flow from your cursing.
Now we were standing in the bookstore.
I bought him a copy of Henri Nouwen’s book Wounded Healer, telling him to take and read when he sensed it was time, and to bring it back if it just wasn’t doing anything for him.
Then I prayed over him and his wife in this mutually shared journey of pain.
And then he took a breath…