I’ve always been a bookworm, so in my search for wholeness it was only natural that I would seek out books on the subject. I’ve found many that were helpful, and one of them is Healed Without Scars by David G. Evans.
Evans, a Baptist pastor, knows firsthand about emotional wounding. When he was a child, his parents’ marriage broke up because of his father’s alcoholism. After the divorce his father moved out of the house– and out of his life. His grandfather, a godly man, stepped in as father figure. When his grandfather passed away, Evans felt as if he had lost two fathers: “Everything about my life was clouded by my father’s absence.” This void created deep emotional wounds.
I could relate to his story, because my own father was a closet alcoholic (something I did not discover until I was in my thirties). Dad was sometimes verbally abusive and emotionally distant; he was often physically absent as well because he was a workaholic. He saw his role as provider, and he excelled at that. But his brokenness prevented him from being the father I needed, and that wounded me deeply.
Let’s face it, we live in a fallen world and no one gets through this life unscathed. Evans writes, “All of us have experienced having our hearts wounded. We brought some of the hurt on ourselves, while other hurts were forced upon us. Because we are unable to fix our own emotional pain, most of us have learned to cope with it.”
Unfortunately, our efforts only mask the pain. This often leads to poor choices, sinful behaviors, even addictions– and our pain only worsens. But God’s desire is for you to be whole. That’s what Evans’ book is all about: discovering the path to wholeness in Christ.
“The reality of these circumstances cannot be erased,” Evans says, “but the pain, wounds, and scars can be. God wants to heal your wounds and remove your scars so that you can say, ‘I remember it, but it doesn’t hurt anymore.’ ” Throughout the book, Evans uses his own story and the stories of others he’s ministered to as illustrations. He also includes numerous biblical examples as well.
One point he makes is that healing begins when we are honest about our past, our feelings, and the effect our negative experiences have had on our lives. We cannot expect change if we are hiding our hurts. God knows all about it, and healing begins in our relationship with Him.
I grew up a “good Catholic boy,” but my impression of God was distorted because of my damaged relationship with my father. Our view of God is often incorrect because of this “father filter,” and so as a child I saw God as an angry figure, eager to punish me for the slightest mistake. God was distant, just like my earthly father.
It wasn’t until I was in my late teens that someone shared the gospel with me and I discovered a God who loved me and sent His Son to die for me. The young woman who spoke with me had told me that even if I were the only person on the face of the earth, Jesus still would have come and given His life for me, because I was worth it. Although she didn’t know it, I was suicidal at the time, and her statement absolutely astounded me. How could God love me that much when I didn’t even love myself?
Although I didn’t fully understand what she was sharing, I said yes when she asked if I wanted to pray with her and ask Jesus to be my Savior. Afterward she told me that I would know the truth of what she had said because things would start changing in my life.
And they did…s-l-o-w-l-y. It would be quite awhile before I reached a point where I could bring it all to Him. But the more I grew as a Christian, the more I sought release and relief from the deep wounds in my life. Of course I begged God for an instant, miraculous healing, but that didn’t happen. As Evans notes, “Healing and wholeness often come to us progressively as we sustain a relationship with the Father through Jesus Christ.”
The key word here is progressive. I had many years of pain accumulated, and it would take time to work through all the issues in my life. “Healing may come instantly,” says Evans, “but being delivered from our scars is usually a process that requires persistent faith.”
Again, notice the words process and persistent. My healing was a journey that took many years, but I’m at a point now where I can tell you it was worth it. Please don’t let the idea of process frighten you. Continue on your own journey, step by step. Trust God to help you find the resources and guidance you need.
Evans closes Healed Without Scars with these words: “Jesus will do for you what you are unable to do for yourself. God sent Jesus to heal your mind, will, and emotions, which have been fragmented by your negative experiences. He will free you from the captivity of the past that holds you back from a full life.”
It’s my prayer that you will find the healing and wholeness you seek. Jesus did it for me, and He can do it for you, too!
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