Good Day Kingdom Friends!
Today I’d like to consider a dynamic in the service to the Lord that I believe all will encounter if you haven’t already. If you don’t fall into this category, as the saying goes, “just keep on living.” [smile] The dynamic I’m referring to is when you have been wounded in your service to the Lord. The wounding many times may come from the very people you have been assigned to. When this is the source of the attack, it can often cause greater injury than if it were to come from an outside source. The wound may come at a time in which you feel that you have been accused or held in suspicion by the ones you are called to serve as a Watchman. The injury may arise from someone misinterpreting your actions or movements because they do not understand how the Lord is working in you personally or corporately, and so they lash out or speak against you and your ministry. Wounds can come when you are shut out and rejected by the very people you considered allies or friends.
This can be a difficult circumstance to find yourself in, and it requires God’s grace, maturity, and humility to work through the various emotions and responses we are tempted to undergo. However, if we allow the Lord to work in us and seek Him to know His mind, even in this, He will redeem us from the situation.
Proverbs 18:14 The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?
It is always more difficult to handle a hurt, disappointment, or betrayal when it is committed by someone that we trust or someone that is close to us. Those instances will cause a deeper wound. We must be careful to identify and acknowledge when a wound has come and be intentional about healing the wound.
I would contend that it is challenging to fight effectively when an injury has been sustained. Of course, we can all continue serving in spite of being wounded. It is a common mentality and belief that you just take the blows and keep it moving. As an old coach used to tell me, “Just rub some dirt on it and get back up!” But it is a dangerous proposition to continue to fight when we are wounded. If we ignore that we are bleeding and deny that a wound is present, the wound can become infected and alter our ministry and our prayer. By denying the wound or attempting to press past it without acknowledging we have been wounded and without taking the time to treat the wound and heal, we open the door for the spirits of pride, rejection, and even bitterness to enter. Pride will cause us to believe that we do not need anyone or that that person or group of people was never in our corner. Pride and rejection will cause you to be suspicious of everyone you come in contact with and cause you to isolate yourself and reject counsel and guidance in the future.
Bitterness will alter the way we perceive people as a whole, from their motives and intentions to statements they make and the actions they take. It will cause us to question everything we experience and become critical, competitive, angry, and insecure. Bitterness will cause you to hold other people responsible for the wound that was caused by someone else. Bitterness will surely infect your attitude, your ability to discern intentions and motives accurately and it will ultimately hold you captive and unable to move forward in your walk with the Lord and how He is able to use you. When bitterness takes root in our hearts, we can cause hurt and damage to others.
“Look after each other so that not one of you will fail to find God’s best blessings. Watch out that no bitterness takes root among you, for as it springs up it causes deep trouble, hurting many in their spiritual lives.” Hebrews 12:15 (TLB emphasis added)
These spirits, and more, will prevent us from showing genuine love to those around us. It will taint and pervert love into control, manipulation, competition, suspicion, tale-bearing, and division. It will cause us to create cliques with the excuse of needing to have a circle of “safe” people. These spirits cause us to become overbearing, arrogant, manipulative, and just plain mean.
When we operate out of a wounded spirit, we run the risk of praying and prophesying out of hurt, rejection, arrogance, anger, and bitterness. Our prayers and words can cause pain to people instead of bringing light and life to them if we are not careful to take the time to heal from our injuries that we have sustained. When we continue to try to function with a wound, there is a risk of being wounded further as our weaknesses and vulnerable areas are exposed. The enemy will always pursue when he is aware that we carry an unattended wound, and he will attempt to cause further injury to possibly incapacitate us all together.
Let us also not ignore the fact that Jezebel is continually at work attempting to attack the true prophets as well. Jezebel can operate in the Body of Christ, as well as on the job, in our family, in our circle of friends, and bring false accusation to the Lord’s prophets. If those we are assigned to are not discerning and are allowing themselves to be bewitched, it can cause them to hold you in suspicion and bring division. When the Lord continually gives us a hard word for His people, it is easy for the people to accept another who brings smooth words and words of comfort, encouragement, and prosperity. Jeremiah encountered this dynamic with Hananiah in Jeremiah 28. However, a continual smooth word without accurate instruction, warnings, and correction will ultimately lead to deception and destruction.
In order to heal, many times is it necessary to retreat to a cave for a time to allow the Lord to hide us, protect us, and minister healing to us. Healing comes in many forms, including spending time alone with the Lord in worship, prayer, and study; receiving godly counsel; and even attending a gathering with trusted individuals who can minister healing and deliverance to you in a safe environment. The only way that we will be able to recognize that we are in need of healing is if we humble ourselves to admit that we were hurt by the accusations, rejection, apathy, or misplaced suspicion. If we allow pride to overtake us, we will deny the pain and continue in service hurt and potentially causing injury to others in the Body. Humility will not only save you but will also protect the rest of the Body when you wisely allow healing to take place outside of the public eye. There are few, if any, who are able to continue to minister and serve while in pain, while undergoing attack, while wounded, without bleeding on those he/she is attempting to minister to.
For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” Isaiah 30:15a
To be clear, retreating to a cave does not imply that you should completely isolate yourself and cut yourself off from every person. When the isolation is a result of our own hurt and withdrawal instead of the Lord moving us, we become a target for the enemy in our weakness. Remember Elijah when he was running from the threat of Jezebel, he believed that he was the only one left in the earth standing for the Lord. Isolation of our own volition is a dangerous place and makes it easy for deception to enter to make us believe that we are all alone. It exposes us for assassination by the enemy.
Retreating to a cave that is by the Lord’s doing is a place of comfort, support, healing, and protection. The Lord will surround us with people that we can trust and who care for our souls and will serve to minister healing and renewal of our souls. Elijah had angels attending to his wounds and providing nourishment and encouragement. But we must be humble enough to ask for the help.
As Apostle Axel Sippach says, “The cave experience can either be the tomb that buries you or the womb that births you. The decisions that you make during your cave season will determine the outcome.” He advises that it is important to continue to pursue purpose while processing pain.
We must keep moving forward in our walk with the Lord. David tells us in Psalm 23:4, “Yea, though I walk through the valley….” This indicates that even though our progress and movement will need to be slower during this time of healing, we must continue to move, even if it is slowing from running to walking, or from walking to crawling. We continue to move through our valleys as opposed to laying down to give up and die. For as long as we are breathing, there is still purpose to accomplish in each one of us.
The wisest strategy for healing is to first pray for those who have wounded us. I recognize that this is the response that may be furthest from our instincts, but it is the most effective response to keep the seeds such as hurt, betrayal, rejection, and abandonment from taking root and growing into bitterness. In Psalm 109:4 David shows us this response. “In return for my love, they are my accusers, But I give myself to prayer.” (NKJV emphasis added) The first best response is to run to the Lord in prayer and allow Him to begin to heal us, as well as work on our behalf in the situation.
Part of the healing process requires rest. To properly rest, we must separate from the noise and distractions and quiet our mind, heart, and body. To properly rest, we must first acknowledge our wound and then we must surrender our pain to the Lord and allow Him to heal us. To begin the healing process we must forgive those who have injured us. This can be a difficult task, especially when we believe that our hands were clean. But there is always a lesson to be learned, insight to be gained, and strategy for future interactions. It is essential that we surrender our desire to be right or to retaliate in exchange for the righteousness of Christ to show mercy and grace through us and redeem the situation.
In the healing, we can gain insight as to the reason the injury came and even whether it was intentional or unintended. The Lord will grace us with understanding of the people who caused the wound and reveal their own wounds when He can trust us to pray for them with clean hands, a pure heart, and an untainted desire to forgive and heal. In the healing, we obtain strength so that when we return to our position, we are able to withstand the enemy and we will be even more effective in our service. In the healing, we are able to gain strategy to come against and defeat the enemy who attempts to bring an assault in the future.
Beloved, take comfort in the knowledge that the Lord sees all and knows all. He knew this situation would arise well before it appeared on the horizon. He knows exactly what you need to heal and when you need it. Lean into the Lord and His restoration. Allow Him to bind up your wounds. Do not think that taking the time to heal will cause the window to close on an opportunity you are seeking. He will redeem the time and work in your favor to re-position you when His timing has been perfected in you. In His perfect timing, an even greater reward will be your portion because you will be at full strength to handle the assignment.