This week I watched a film set in the period of the crusades. The plot was very weak but the battle scenes were dramatic - the sort of thing my 16 year-old son would enjoy.
During the film a knight, played by Jeremy Irons, is hit in the side by an arrow whilst fighting to protect his son. In order to carry on with the battle he breaks the shaft of the arrow leaving its head in his side. After the fight he has to go through a lot of pain to have that arrowhead removed.
We live in a battle zone. A preacher I heard recently referred to Christians as being a colony of heaven on earth. It's a fantastic image. But being part of that colony places us in a position of being at war with the one the Lord Jesus described as the prince of this world (Jn 12:31) and sometimes, if we haven't kept our guard up, we get hit by his arrows (Eph 6:16).
It's all too easy to be hurt by things said and done by the people around us. Sometimes these things are inflicted on us with malice, more often through thoughtlessness or ignorance. I went through a time earlier this year when it seemed as though every week somebody made a comment which brought painful memories from my past back to the forefront of my mind. It was a very difficult time. None of these people intended to hurt me - they had no idea their words were causing me problems. But the devil used the opportunity to inflict a lot of psychological pain.
I had made the mistake of breaking off the shafts of the arrows of past hurts but leaving the heads in the wound so that people didn't know there was a problem, but every time the sore spot was touched it caused a great deal of pain. The tendency when we're hurting is to curl up and protect the painful place but that doesn't solve anything. Nor does pretending there is no pain and trying to carry on stoically. The arrowhead has to be removed. Until it is, we will continue to be vulnerable to the same hurts over and over again.
Dealing With The Arrows
So how do we do this? How do we deal with the hurts from our past that continue to impact negatively on today?
There is only one solution and that is to bring them into the prayer closet, to Jesus our Healer, to show Him the wound and ask Him to touch it. It is as valid to pray for emotional or psychological healing as it is to pray for physical healing. We have souls as well as bodies. What happens from the point at which we open our pain up to the Lord will vary depending on the individual and the particular problem. Each of us is walking our own unique path and the steps the Lord leads us through will be specific to our own journey. The important thing is that we do follow the leadings of the Master or we will not reach the place of peace.
Prayer College Assignment
Do you find yourself over-reacting to certain comments or actions from other people? That could well be an indicator of an unhealed hurt from the past. The first step in resolving this is to bring it before the Lord in prayer and ask Him to deal with it. Jesus is both compassionate (Matt 14:14) and gentle (Matt 11:29). There is nothing that compares with the beauty of His touch. From that point He will lead you to the place of wholeness. There may be mountain tops and valleys on the way. There will be people you need to forgive and people He will bring into your life to encourage you and support you. There will be places of rest and challenging rugged terrain. But the journey that starts in the prayer closet and is offered daily to the Lord will reach the place of peace.