The science news website LiveScience.com had posted a rather disturbing photo. It is a picture of a ghastly wound inflicted on a whitetail deer. The deer had been shot through his ribcage with an arrow. The arrow fractured or completely broke five of the deer’s ribs. Yet, somehow, the heroic deer managed to repair the devastating wound. Bone almost completely encased the arrow and splinted the broken bones back together.
Many years later a hunter killed the deer in North Carolina. At the time he spotted the deer, a four-point buck, it looked perfectly normal on the outside. But when the hunter flayed and butchered the deer, he revealed the horrendous wound from a previous attempt on its life.
It’s hard to imagine that this deer’s old injury could possibly be survivable, or that life could ever be tolerable again. Yet, somehow, the deer lived and managed to recover. Though, I’m sure life was never quite the same.
This image of a deer’s appalling wound made me think of those wounds which people suffer. Most do not have such wounds in their bodies, but certainly they do in their souls. These inner wounds may penetrate us so deeply that we may wonder if we’ll ever survive or recover. They may make us doubt that life will ever be worth living.
Yet I’m convinced that – as this brave animal survived – we can recover and flourish again as well. God has given our bodies amazing recuperative powers. But the body’s power to recover is not even close to the soul’s ability to survive trauma and grow as a result.
Now, it’s true that our lives may never be the same again after trauma. But we don’t want them to be the same. For the wounds which God allows us to suffer will ultimately free us from our selfish attitudes and childish outlook.
Wounds deepen our experience and open our eyes to the pain others bear. They cause us to grow and bring us to maturity.
Ultimate healing will never be achieved in this life. Not until we reach heaven will God dry every tear from our eyes (Revelation 21:4). Until then, He must leave us with a little pain – to make us more compassionate, more heaven-focused, and more Christ-like.
May I make one other point? This deer’s recovery also demonstrates that strength should be measured in one’s ability to absorb pain, not to inflict it. Too many people get a wicked kick out of wounding other people with their words. They interpret such abuse as “flexing their muscles.” But there’s no glory in dishing out pain. It takes little effort to do so – and even less intelligence.
However, it takes tremendous strength to absorb and bear such pain. It takes amazing grace to go on with life with such gaping wounds in one’s soul. And it is far more honorable to choose not to retaliate or return evil for evil, especially when one’s own heart is hurting. Such heroes do so because they do not wish to make others suffer as they do. This attitude aligns most perfectly with the heart and soul of our Lord Jesus – who carried our griefs and bore out sorrows (Isaiah 53:4-5).
“For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you and left you an example for you to follow in His steps. For He committed no sin, nor was any deceit in His mouth. And while He was reviled, He did not revile in return. While suffering He uttered no threats. Instead, He kept entrusting His soul to God who judges righteously” (1 Peter 2:21-23).
Dear heavenly Father, the abuse I suffer and the pain I feel seems more than I can bear. Give me grace and strength to endure. Keep me focused on Jesus and all that He suffered for me. Help me to grow stronger and more Christ-like from the wounds which life inflicts upon me. Amen.
Information from: https://www.livescience.com/62819-deer-ribcage-arrow.html
Image in article by Jackie Stegall. Taken from TYWKIWDBI