They search the sources of the rivers and bring hidden things to light.
~Job 28:11 NIV~
I went to the dentist today. A few weeks ago, I had broken a tooth and although it didn’t really hurt and it wasn’t visible to anyone else, I knew that it would do damage if I didn’t get it taken care of. Much like the sin that holds us back from true relationship with God, if there is no tangible painful consequence (at least one that is visible to others), we often seek to work around the issue until we have the time and energy to deal with the healing or repair needed.
As I traveled to the doctor’s office this morning, whose name was oddly biblical, I thought about the areas of brokenness in my life that are keeping me from moving forward. No one else can see them. No one else really knows about them and they’re really only hurting me or so I believe. So does this mean that they aren’t really bad things? Well, no. It really doesn’t. Actually, it means that they are probably worse than those things which are exposed for God to work on. Nothing is hidden from him, but the idea that if no one else knows I’m having this problem, then I’m not causing any trouble is a sure way to put some serious distance between you and God. But it’s not like He’s going to look the other way just because it’s only affecting your walk. He doesn’t want any of His children to fail. What hurts you, hurts Him. Not so much because you are sinning, but because you aren’t allowing His love to cover whatever brokenness exists in you that draws you to that sin.
What is hidden is so much more damaging and insidious than that which is out in the open. That has been proven time and again. Of all of the family issues that we see, it is clear that those which someone seeks to cover up are those which do the most damage. Thinking in terms of my own experience, it was recently revealed to me that I had been molested as a child. I had always had strange memories of things that had happened to me and had just dismissed them as the product of an oddly focused imagination. The whole thing was confirmed, however; at the worst possible time. During a funeral for one of my dearest relatives, the perpetrator approached me and asked me to forgive him. Now, thirty-five years down the road, the news that someone has violated you comes as somewhat of a shock. So I did the only thing I could do, I patted him on the shoulder, told him all was forgiven and then quickly got away from him.
The whole thing threw me off base and I spent the time that I should have spent grieving for my relative, grieving instead for the innocence that I had lost so many years before I would have even realized I had anything to lose. And that brokenness, though no one could see it and it didn’t cause any visible pain, did damage over the years that I didn’t even realize it was doing. Having been raped when I was in my early twenties, I already understood the pain of covering something up so that no one else would know what had been done to me. The sudden realization that there was more damage that I needed to somehow hide was almost unbearable.
I think when we have that kind of brokenness in us and we’ve hidden it for so long, we tend to have a reflexive need to continue to have something to hide. And even if we’ve been delivered from that original brokenness, sometimes we have a hard time accepting that God really doesn’t see it as a huge flaw in His creation. Some of it is shame, some of it is guilt, and a big part of it is pride. When we’ve been damaged, we scramble to pick up all the pieces and shove them back into place before anyone notices that something is missing. We hurt silently, we cry when no one is looking, and we yearn for someone to just make those feelings go away. Yet the One who can take away that pain, we push away. It’s something I’m not sure I’ll ever understand. The only logical explanation for it is that the devil is working so hard to keep us from the healing we need that when he sees weakness in us, he comes at us with everything he’s got because he knows that once God starts doing His thing, we’ll be good as new. He knows that if he bombards us with things that stir up feelings of guilt and shame that we’ll never feel like we can go before the Throne of Grace and bow before our Father to ask Him to heal us. He knows exactly how long it takes us to get back on our feet when we’ve been knocked down. But the wonderful things is, he’ll give up on us eventually. God NEVER will.
So when that thing you can’t seem to fix just won’t go away, there really is only one solution. You have to speak God’s word, you have to seek God’s grace, and you have to believe who He is and what He can and will do in your life if you let Him. You must be steadfast even when it feels pointless to keep trying. Especially when it feels like nothing is happening to turn things around. You must trust in Him. He will not fail you. He’s here to fix what’s broken.
It is the Lord your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him.
~Deuteronomy 13:4 NIV~