If I could choose any famous person from the past to share a conversation and a cup of coffee with, it would be C.S. Lewis. I love the way that he is able to capture spiritual truths and put meat on them so that we can sink our teeth in and savor their true flavor. His words are so current, so relevant, so timeless that even now I refer to him in the present tense as if he were still alive.
And so, in an effort to grasp an illustration as to what God has been revealing lately, I reference my yet-unmet friend, C.S. Lewis:
“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
If I have learned anything in the past few months, it has been how little I knew before about true healing.
We go to God asking Him to heal the scab that we can so easily see from the outside. What we don’t know at the time of our request is that He has no intention of placing an exterior bandage to an interior problem. So while we think the problem is an easy fix, a simple “kiss to our boo boo”, He has something so much more grueling and utterly amazing in mind.
By the time a bruise or wound shows on the outside, there has already been damage beneath the skin that we didn’t even know was there. Something in need of emergency surgery where cutting and transplanting and transfusions are needed before a part of us dies.
We had no idea.
But we cry out in the misery of the obvious scab, as if that were our biggest concern. We ask Him to fix us because we are in pain, but we have no inclination that healing will require even greater pain. Because, as horrific as it sounds, this impending surgery will be done while we are wide awake. We can close our eyes, but if we are sincere in our desire for true healing, we will feel every part of the procedure. No anesthesia. This is a surgery that will require our full knowledge.
And if we’re brave enough to open our eyes in the process, we will see things we would otherwise not have noticed. Like the fact that when we are able to feel the depth of the pain in this ordeal of healing, when we are attune to every ache, we are also able to feel something else.
Our Surgeon’s hands. So familiar with His patient, His creation, His child. Hands that have a plan, that know the outcome of this surgery. Hands that are confident, knowledgeable, practiced and do only the best work. Hands that will only stop when the procedure is complete.
Somewhere in the middle of the surgery, when our eyes begin to take in as much as our feelings are experiencing, we begin to see glimpses of something changing. Healing is happening right before us, right IN us, and the pain somehow not only becomes manageable, but beautiful. We see it as purposeful and necessary and good.
And as the once bloody, ugly mess of brokenness begins to morph into something new, we realize that something has actually replaced the desire for healing alone. We discover that experiencing the hands of our Great Physician at work within us, His presence and love the meaningful part of the process, are what we long for even more. That we are able to endure the surgery, no matter how long it takes if it means that God is doing His perfect work in it.
Healing becomes not the goal, but the means by which I see God more clearly for who He truly is. I see His love in ways I never would have before if I had opted only for a bandaid.
And suddenly, the surgery table no longer feels so cold on my back. The warmth in my heart and the transformation of my mind are all I can feel in the hands of my able Surgeon….