Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
One of the most extraordinary figures in American politics was Rose Kennedy, mother of nine children including President John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy. Both these men were tragically killed in sensational circumstances. Rose Kennedy died aged 104.
But what interests me especially is something she said about ‘time healing all wounds’. She is reported to have said, “I do not agree that time heals all wounds. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it never goes away”. Powerful words I thought from a mother’s deep grief.
So, what do you think of this phrase, Time heals all wounds. Let’s have a look at it.
Learning to Live Through Pain
The saying has been passed down from generation to generation and is often quoted especially at a time of grief or loss. We don’t know what to say to a friend who is deeply distressed at news of the passing of a friend. So we blurt out this trite saying, Oh don’t worry—time heals all wounds. But does it? Sometimes, but not always. And then we say something else trying to be helpful, Give it time. Things will get easier. It will get better with time. Just hang in there. But I don’t think those comments are very helpful at all.
Sometimes it’s better to say nothing at all and stand with that person in their time of grief. Silence is awkward and we often rush to fill it by saying something inappropriate. Our friends may be suffocating in emotional pain and they don’t need some silly phrases thrown at them—they need your love and support. Sometimes pain remains with us forever—some wounds remain a lifetime. Some wounds are too deep to heal. Some wounds are too painful to forget. These wounds are forever etched in our soul. And you get that sinking feeling every time you remember.
That void will never be gone. And the wound will never be gone. But one day you’ll be able to live with that hurt. You’ll be able to move on with that pain still inside of you. It can be done. The passage of time may take the edge off the pain.
“He [God] heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3 – NIV)
Sometimes—I’m sorry to say—in life things actually get worse before they get better. Time can go slowly. And the wounds of life persist—like grief or bereavement. Your grief is yours and nobody else can tell you how to respond.
So it’s OK to feel hurt and anger. Learning to live through the experience is very important. You don’t want to get emotionally stuck. It’s good to reach out to a close friend who can keep your confidence. Share your deep feelings with that person. Or keep a journal—write down your feelings at the end of each day. Someone said, “Our wounds are often the openings into the best and most beautiful part of us”.
God Is the Healer
There is another perspective I suggest. It’s turning to God. The Bible says, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3 – NIV). God is the healer—not time itself. It is the grace and love of God in Jesus Christ that removes the heartache and gives us peace instead of emotional pain. You can be released from terrible grief—but it may not happen overnight. God does use the gift of time to allow a divine process to happen. His love in our heart enables us to slowly get better. God heals the brokenhearted—the original meaning of this word is ‘shattered’ or ‘crippled’. The Hebrew word for heart is ‘lev’—meaning the mind and will, the inner man or woman. God can heal the crippled soul.
It is sad to know many have been traumatised or abandoned, especially in their childhood. And they struggle with various kinds of anxiety, depression, anger, bitterness, isolation, guilt and fear. Or they are perfectionists, trying constantly to win the approval of others, and never quite making it.
If we are injured in our body, we seek medical help. We usually don’t hesitate. But when we are crippled in spirit or soul, we have too much pride. That’s when we should pray and believe in a loving Heavenly Father who loves you enough to send his Son to take all your problems to the cross—for you.
It’s only God’s grace and love that can remove the heartache you feel. And Jesus knows about your pain and wants to walk with you through that experience. Don’t let your inner pain remain buried for years—it can be dealt with in a constructive way with God’s help. Remember Psalm 147:3, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds”.