The Dutch priest Henri Nouwen spoke of being “wounded healers” for His kingdom. When I first heard that simple phrase, something inside me drew back in reverent fear and awe. An awesome calling, to be sure, albeit far more elevated than I ever desired to climb.
Last winter my King brought me to a crossroads. It was a diverging of path which many far braver, far stronger saints than I have trod. If given time to ponder, I would readily have confessed that I did not qualify for that pathway. As much as I admired the witness of those believers, I was hoping for a road more in line with “happily ever after” than “though He slay me, yet I will hope in Him” (Job 13:15). Yet His call to me refused to be reworded or revised:
Will you let me hurt you, my child? And instead of cringing away from the blow, will you open up all the wider and allow the fiery wound to sear you to the very core of your soul? Will you be broken for me? Will you bear these wounds not as marks of shame but shadows of future glory?
Will you be my wounded healer?
As many of you know, I was married in the fall of 2007. Early in 2008 my husband forced me to leave our home. Our merciful God knows all that I did and went through to keep the marriage alive. Because of His grace, my offering of my life and my love was not and will never be wasted. But a marriage requires two people. Against the counsel of our families, counselors, and pastors, my husband divorced me.
In one of the glorious paradoxes of the Christian life, even as I lost everything, I had lost nothing (Romans 8:31, 32). The Lord mercifully and faithfully provided for me. He also protected me—not from pain, rejection, or even evil, yet His care remained evident. He held me close and assured me that He would not let me drown. When reality became worse than my most-feared nightmare, He let me feel His nearness in the darkness.