What do I do with the pain?” a woman I was mentoring asked.
She was referring to emotional and psychological wounds from her childhood for which she had not yet found healing. It would not have bothered her except that she felt hindered in her effectiveness for God’s kingdom.
Perhaps you are asking the same question.
The truth is there are no one-size-fits-all solutions.
God’s healing process is unique to His shaping process in our lives, and the answer is as individualized as we are. Although we can never know exactly how healing will unfold in our lives, there are some guiding principles we can apply.
Let’s begin with a biblical framework.
Liberty for the Captives
Jesus began His ministry, reading from the ancient scrolls of Isaiah 61:1: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners” (NASB).
The Hebrew word for broken is shabar[i]. It means to rend violently, wreck, crush, shatter, and cripple. Because we live in a fallen world, we must contend with hurtful words and events, unhealthy family dynamics, and physical and emotional trauma — all of which can leave us deeply wounded.
It is good news indeed that a major focus of Jesus’ ministry is healing broken hearts and shattered lives. Many scriptures support the biblical basis for emotional healing, revealing the power of God’s Word and truth in the process. “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3, NASB).[ii]
Because God’s Word is alive, it has the power to transform. Think back to the book of Genesis and the creation story. God spoke and life began. That same life-giving power and creative force is at work when God speaks to us in personal ways or during times of listening prayer. With a word, He can call into existence the love we lacked in childhood, dismantling destructive coping mechanisms, restoring our shattered sense of self.
The first step in the healing process comes by choosing to spend time in God’s presence and inviting Him into your pain. Trust Him to complete what He has begun, and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. You might also find it helpful to talk with trusted spiritual companions, a mentor, or others who know you well and desire God’s best for you. If your emotional trauma is severe, you might consider professional counseling.
Regardless of God’s individualized path for you, know that He alone brings healing, whether it is through others, His Word, or His Spirit. But we must respond to His invitation and participate in the process.
Learn more about healing wounds of the soul in my article “Inviting God In to the Pain.”