In one of my recent sermons, I mentioned this quote from the book The Wounded Healer by Henri Nouwen. I can’t stop thinking about it, so I’m bringing it up again:
“The more I think about loneliness, the more that I think that the wound of loneliness is like the Grand Canyon--a deep incision on the surface of our existence which has become an inexhaustible source of beauty and self-understanding.”
What Nouwen says about loneliness is true, I believe, of many pains and struggles we face in our lives. Suffering is a reality of being human.
What makes the Christian hope special is not that it takes away pains like loneliness or sadness, but instead that it allows us to share them with one another in a way that accentuates the beauty in our struggles. In sharing our hurt with one another, we find a “mutual deepening of hope,” and it’s beautiful, like the sun warming the shades orange and rust on a canyon’s jagged edge. After all, “sharing weakness,” Nouwen writes, “becomes a reminder to one and all of the coming strength.”
May we be strong this week together, sharing in the strength of the Wounded Healer, Jesus. And may you be challenged to consider this week how the challenges you face may lead to “self-understanding” or “strength” through the grace of Jesus.
Because, after all, we do know this: “by his wounds,” his deep and inexhaustibly beautiful wounds, “we are healed” (Is. 53:5).
Nouwen, Henri. The Wounded Healer: Ministry in Contemporary Society. New York: Doubleday, 1979.
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