One morning back in 2011, Monique Jeffrey, of Rose Bay, Australia was sitting up in bed checking her email when she sneezed.
As her head flung forward she experiences excruciating pain in her neck. Her C1 and C2 vertebrae had collapsed. She had to spend weeks in a neck brace and follow them up with more weeks of physical therapy to recover from what doctors considered a freak accident. Fast forward to 2017. On day while joking with some co-workers in her office, she laughed hard and guess what happened. The same two vertebrae collapsed again. This time, however, doctors installed a “halo” over her head (the kind that screws into the patient’s skull) which holds her neck in traction and keeps her from moving her head. She’ll be in this device so long that her neck muscles will atrophy and require months of physical therapy to restore them. All this pain came from actions as harmless and natural as a sneeze and a laugh.
Without being insensitive to this poor woman’s plight, may I make a simple observation? Having fractured her neck twice by doing something otherwise harmless might indicate that the bones of her neck are not strong enough or that the motions of her body (when laughing or sneezing) create a whiplash effect in her neck. Either way, the cause of the fracture lies in Monique and in no one else. She cannot accuse others, “You did this to me! You made me break my neck!”
This reminds me that sometimes the very cause of us getting offended and hurt lies within us. As a person who carries around a lot of hurt, I know that inner pain can misinterpret harmless remarks into offensive words. Things spoken with the best intentions can be misconstrued for the person with a wounded heart. And, until we find healing for ourselves the world will remain a terribly prickly place for us. Everything – a baby’s cry, someone’s laughter, a person’s loud music, the thunder of a Harley – will stab at us and be offensive to us if our heart is covered with open wounds.
Counselors and therapists can be a tremendous help and I’d encourage any hurting person to see them. But ultimately, true healing is found in our heavenly Father’s loving embrace. To rest upon God’s breast and understand His unconditional love for us, to know that He delights in us – as a mother delights in her little baby (even though the child has no accomplishments to her credit and does nothing but dirty her diapers), and to know that God has custom-designed us and fashioned us according to His own specifications (so that we do not have to adjust ourselves to meet someone else’s ideal) – can be a transforming and healing experience.
Whatever the needs of your heart are, the Lover of your soul can meet and satisfy them fully and forever. It all begins by being reconciled to the God that many consider their enemy. But He is not the enemy. That’s the devil’s lie. God yearns for nothing more than to lavish His love upon you, to know you personally, and to bring relief and peace to your stormy soul.
“The LORD appeared to us from afar, saying: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love and have drawn you with unfailing kindness. I will build you up again, and you … will be rebuilt. Again you will make happy music and dance joyfully” (Jeremiah 31:3-4).
Dear Father in heaven, please let me fall into Your loving embrace. Please forgive my sins and reconcile me to Yourself. Please speak peace to the storm that rages in my heart and flood my heart with Your peace. Please heal my wounded soul – and make me a healer to others. Amen.
If you are dealing with this issue, you do not need to face the challenge alone. Jesus has conquered every challenge so you can move from your present situation to a life of overcoming hope. Invite him to lead you in your journey. He will forgive, comfort, and heal you.
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