Well think about it. If you became a "bull in a china shop," what would the china think of you?
It is impossible but that the release of divine corrective revelation, zeal and anger should lead to anything other than wounding and rejection by those who have yet to taste the sword of soul-separation. This is the third factor wilderness saints must face.
Such wounding actually occurs on two levels. First, we are wounded within ourselves. The severing of spirit from soul is a painful affair for one's own mind and emotions. Our soul suffers within as a direct result of the Spirit's blade.
But following our own inner piercing, we must face the external hurt by those around us who can't understand or respond to this new corrective fissionary release of power through us. This goes beyond simple misunderstanding to personal and congregational confrontation and finally rejection, including in some cases public excommunication.
This two dimensional affliction is well mirrored in two cryptic prophetic passages:
Faithful are the wounds of a friend. Pr. 27:6
I was wounded in the house of my friends. Zech. 13:6
The first saying speaks to our inner wounding by our "friend," who is none other than the Lord. Truly, it is He Himself who has cut us by His piercing word.
The second word speaks to the "after wounding" at the hands of our friends, the mainstream saints. This is the rejection we receive on behalf of the Lord because of the energy released in us by His inner severing.
Not only this, but it also speaks to a further wounding we may receive at the hands of our newfound wilderness friends! This is the rejection we receive should we--as we saw last time--be led by the Spirit back into a mainstream environment. Wilderness friends stuck on their negative corrective vision and zealous anger toward the mainstream, seeing us return to the mainstream, may begin to judge and shun us as "compromisers of the truth" (inflicting the very same judgment they suffered at the hands of the mainstream.)
Regardless, in all these situations, it is finally of the Lord (not the devil) that we are wounded--whether directly by His sword, or indirectly because of His fire within us bringing rejection from the mainstream, or because of His tempering in us bringing rejection from hothead wilderness "radicals." It all follows in the pattern of the Father's will to bruise our Lord (Isa. 53:10), though carried out by satan--and so is part of our path of sonship.
"Wilt Thou Be Made Whole?"
Knowing it is really the Lord behind our rejection and banishment helps turn a "minus" into a "plus" for us. It offers hope that our wounding has a higher purpose for our good. But just as the preceding wilderness factors have had a corresponding higher challenge, so the Lord's wounding also carries a greater critical wilderness challenge. Hosea makes this important statement:
"It is He that has smitten us, and it is He that will bind us up."
It is precisely here on Hosea's word of "binding up," that we face our third major challenge as wilderness saints for overcoming into the Lord's wholeness. It is the challenge of the willingness to be made whole.
It's hard enough to endure the wounding resulting from the Lord's purposes. But just as hard, and possibly harder, is the endurance it takes to be healed. The truth is, it does cost something to be made whole again out of the Lord's smiting.
Once we have been wounded and rejected, we have to face a whole new set of feelings and attitudes. Surfacing from our affliction, these raw feelings reveal to us deeper areas of heart needing cleansing and deliverance. This is the design behind the hurt in the first place--to more deeply expose our inner ugliness so we may be purged.
Do we think that the Father just likes to see us suffer for sport? Is that why He puts all His daring wilderness saints through such deep trauma? No! Everything our divine Friend does toward us is for our salvation--even His wounding.
But here is where the third challenge begins. The trouble again is that most of us who have proven willing to pay the initial prices of rejection for the Lord's sake harbor a deeper unwillingness to pay the further prices necessary to becoming inwardly healed and restored to the capacity for vibrant loving relationship.
This is where those darker areas of heart take their toll. After a few rounds of rejection, we can begin to look at our pain as a badge to be worn. "See what prices I have paid for the Lord!" And so, we grow into cherishing our rejectedness. Then we are led by our pain (not the Lord) to seek out those of like woundedness, building our wilderness fellowship on the mutual nurturing of our rejections--which cements into open bitterness toward "the church."
There is nothing worse than a fellowship of wilderness saints in which the main staple of "testimony" is the re-hashing of all the evils each outcast has endured at the hands of mainstream people. (Many of you know first hand what I am talking about.)
Hebrews: The Challenge to Wilderness Healing
Hebrews has something to say about this. Hebrews is a no-nonsense book written by a wilderness author to wilderness people. Listen to this:
All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.--See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God, that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled. Heb. 12:11-13, 15
The exhortation here to inner healing against bitterness is directly related to the Father's discipline, which includes His wounding of us in the house of our friends. The writer is saying our disciplinary affliction can bring forth one of two results. It can bring forth the healed fruit of righteousness, or it may only bring forth bitterness. The fruit of inner healing is not guaranteed, but depends on our attitude toward our wounding.
Earlier, Hosea told us that after the Lord wounds us, he "binds us up." Yes, He does heal. But Hebrews is telling us this healing is conditional. The writer has to exhort "Therefore, strengthen--make straight--" and "let it rather be healed" (KJV). If the promised inner healing is automatic, why then does he have to exhort us to create our own "mental splint" toward our brokenness and to "let" the lame part of us be healed? It's because our healing is not automatic. It's because our own desire to be healed factors into it, and the writer doesn't take for granted that we may truly want to be healed!
Why is it so many wilderness saints remain wounded and then embittered? It's because after we have paid the first prices due to the sword, we don't want to pay the further prices to overcome our darker nature revealed by the sword--prices which are required to be made whole again. These include: giving up the false friend of self pity; giving up commiseration with others over our sufferings; and giving up our badge of unique identity in Christ defined by our sufferings--a religious identity that is just as offensive to the Lord as the identity of the uncrucified soul. We are constantly called to look beyond ourselves. Answering that call in the face of pain at every turn is the price of healing.
The Patience of Healing
The emotional pain of rejection and loss of companionship from the Lord's mainstream is intensely real and deep. Such pain is not overcome in a day, or a week, or a month. It takes years for these injuries to heal. This is because the lessons to be learned through the healing process take time.
Healing from rejection and betrayal is not something the Father performs in a vacuum. It is part of our larger instruction into Christ's full image. In the course of healing, we are learning lessons from the Father's own Heart each step of the way. It's these lessons through healing that complete us into His Image. Healing is a journey that requires a continual turning of one's heart into the Father until it is accomplished. It is a process requiring as much endurance as the wounding from which we need to be healed.
But the journey to healing may promise to be so long that we don't want to travel any further to find it. We can get used to our pain and even find a morbid comfort in it. And if we do, we become a walking testimony to rejection for the rest of our days. We will not come into the ultimate destiny of sonship for which we imagine we have already suffered.
New Meadow Neck, RI
First Love Ministry
- a ministry of Anglemar Fellowship
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Page created October 5, 2008