I Have This Rock

I have this rock. It’s has a flat side and a rounded side. It’s about the shape and size of a hand with the thumb tucked in. There are hints of green and streaks of gray that run through it. I’ve kept on a shelf for over twenty years, and it is basically worthless, it’s just a rock.

But this rock has value to me because there are memories attached to it. It reminds me of a summer day vacationing in Colorado. A down day where we didn’t run off to do something. Hours watching a mountain stream dance in the sunlight and play on the rocks. Time spent rubbing smooth this greenish rock found in the stream while my son tried to catch some trout.

Memories are like that. They attach themselves to things, to sounds, to smells, to colors, to names, to rocks, and to our own hearts. I don’t even have to touch or hold the rock for the memories to return, just think about that silly worthless rock, and there they are.

Not all memories are good ones, are they? Some are filled with pain, heartache, dread, shame, guilt, anger, or revulsion. We hear a song from by-gone days and that terrible thing we want to forget rushes back in. Perhaps we’ve tried shoving the memory down but like a balloon in a swimming pool but it keeps popping to the surface. Or maybe we’ve tried to imagine the memory away, pretending that it’s not there, that it didn’t happen. But it never really ever goes anywhere. Some try to bury the pain with all manner of things like work, hobbies, shopping, games, sex, or alcohol and drugs. Anything to keep us busy, to keep our mind somewhere but there. But in the end, the memory, pain, heartache, etc., is still there.

There is an observation in the Psalms, “He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds (sorrows).” (Psalm 147:3, NASB95) So often when we think of healing it is only about physical illnesses, diseases, and traumas. But the Lord also cares about our heart.

Jesus took as His mission statement a passage from Isaiah. “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;” (Isaiah 61:1, NASB95)

When we talk about healing hearts and healing of memories, or more specifically, the pain a memory brings. Healing of this sort is not about forgetting, it’s about decoupling the experience from the painful and debilitating feelings. Removing those things that keep us bound up in fear or cause us to doubt or react in ways we often don’t understand ourselves.

Just like physical healing, sometimes Jesus works swiftly and miraculously. Sometimes there is a journey of faith involved. Sometimes He uses the skills of others to help us explore our hearts. Often the healing comes through recognizing our own sin and forgiving others of their sin.

The point is, just like physical pain, to recognize something is wrong and take it to Jesus. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their sorrows. Including yours.

Dale Heinold
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