Over the years I’ve always admired the apparent ease that teenagers and even young children display when they ride on their skateboards. When Gemma and I lived in the north of England, I decided that I’d like to try and learn how to do the same, so I bought myself not only one but two different skateboards.
I soon discovered that even standing still on one isn’t easy! I was working in the ministry office at Ellel Grange at the time, so during one lunch break I did some practice on the tarmac outside the main entrance. It wasn’t long before the skateboard moved forward, and I fell backwards injuring my right elbow.
If records of accidents are kept for past years, somewhere in the Accident Book for that year will be a record of my accident with the description, ‘fell off skateboard’. I was probably a bit ambitious and reckless trying to learn to skateboard when I was nearly sixty!
Some five years after the above accident, I still have recurrent tenderness and pain in my right elbow. I seem to be particularly prone to keep knocking that tender place and aggravating the injury. It almost seems to attract knocks at times.
We can all experience something similar with our inner wounds, those knocks and bruises to our hearts we’ve all received as we’ve gone through life. Just living in a world full of other wounded people carries a continual possibility of further injury, and we have a spiritual enemy who loves to target those vulnerable places. I’ve been trying to cushion my elbow from further knocks and injury with a tubular bandage. It’s natural for us to want to protect the sore and tender places of our hearts in the same way, but I know that my own attempts at self-protection usually only involve avoiding or withdrawing from possible sources of pain and never bring real healing. That’s been particularly true in my life in trying to protect myself from the pain of rejection.
Really, avoidance and withdrawal are a kind of hiding, just as when Adam and Eve tried to cover their shame and hide in the trees from God. It’s so easy to feel ashamed of our wounds, to try and cover them up and give all the right Christian responses when someone asks us how we are. Recently, I’ve been discovering afresh how close my Heavenly Father is when I come to Him honestly and put into words the issues I’ve been struggling with. He was there all the time waiting for me to speak to Him.
Sometimes, a loving parent will say to their child when they’re hurt, “Come to Mummy, or Daddy, and let them kiss it better”. You may never have experienced such loving care when you were a child, and that itself may be intensely painful. But you have a loving Heavenly Father who invites you to come to Him and allow Him to bandage and heal the sore and wounded places of your heart.
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