Ministering to the Wounded

I prayed about a specific scripture and direction for this topic. As I prayed, I just felt like God sweetly reminded me of all the times He spoke to me when I was sitting with the sick. He has used so many passages of scriptures and sweet verses to carry me through times that seemed super dark.   Instead of giving me one piece of scripture to focus on, He helped me remember the many. So, this journey will have many stops. I hope you don’t mind.  Open your Bibles and get ready to flip some pages. 

In my experience there seem to be 2 kinds of wounds.  Some are physically wounded and sitting with them while they heal is a medicine they need. I believe that the friends who came to visit in the hospitals and then sit with the recovering patient on the couch at home are truly life givers.  Those days and nights alone can rob and steal and take a sick person to a dark and despairing place.  A good conversation about something other than their illness is needful.  We can also find out what they delight in and do that with them.  Play games to take their minds off the time.  I always take a deck of cards to the hospital.  Read the Bible out loud to them.  Buy them an audio Bible perhaps. There was a time when I listened to the word on cassette tape and it protected me from my thought life. This may be a time for encouraging your patient to separate from secular shows and music (for a time) to protect their thought life.  

Others have a hurt in the heart or ego. Sometimes a physical illness can lead to our being spiritually and emotionally unbalanced.  In these circumstances, I say, Get in the word! Nothing cuts pride like God’s living sharper than any 2-edged sword.  2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God1may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

In the same way those who are wounded in heart need to be encouraged and edified.  

“How beautiful upon the mountains 
are the feet of him who brings good news, 
who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, 
who publishes salvation, 
who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns.’”

I find Isaiah 52:7 to be right on time for these situations.  I pray God will allow me to again be the bearer of good news and publish peace.  To say to anyone who needs to hear it “your God reigns”!  

Coming alongside those who have lost their strength and encourage them.

1 “Come, everyone who thirsts, 
come to the waters; 
and he who has no money, 
come, buy and eat! 
Come, buy wine and milk 
without money and without price. 
2  Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, 
and your labor for that which does not satisfy? 
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, 
and delight yourselves in rich food. 
3  Incline your ear, and come to me; 
hear, that your soul may live; 
and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, 
my steadfast, sure love for David. 
4  Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples, 
a leader and commander for the peoples. 
5  Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know, 
and a nation that did not know you shall run to you, 
because of the Lordyour God, and of the Holy One of Israel, 
for he has glorified you. 
6  “Seek the Lordwhile he may be found; 
call upon him while he is near; 
7  let the wicked forsake his way, 
and the unrighteous man his thoughts; 
let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, 
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 
8  For my thoughts are not your thoughts, 
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. 

Isaiah 55 in the first 8 verses invites us to come, incline, listen, and behold.  This chapter later says we can count on His word accomplishing what He intends it to do.  In times of devastating illness sitting by my husband and lovingly supporting him was a very big challenge to me.  I don’t naturally slow down and be still so the pace of convalescence ministry cuts against the grain of my flesh. It reveals my selfishness and my shallow woman made love.  Without Christ, I am not longsuffering.  I need His word to do the work in my own life and in the life of the wounded.  

3  to grant to those who mourn in Zion— 
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, 
the oil of gladness instead of mourning, 
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; 
that they may be called oaks of righteousness, 
the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified

In Isaiah 61:3 we see the garment of praise mentioned and the idea of a garment of praise being given for a spirit of heaviness. I don’t know if these two are supposed to be mutually exclusive. I’m not sure that one may be equally exchanged for the other.  I think Isaiah intends to tell us that one may help with the other.  Like ibuprofen helps with pain but it isn’t an even exchange.  It doesn’t provide a cure. In the same way, praise may not take away the suffering we experience when we are sick, but it will change our perspective or heart toward the wound.

23  Some went down to the sea in ships, 
doing business on the great waters;
24  they saw the deeds of the Lord, 
his wondrous works in the deep. 
25  For he commanded and raised the stormy wind, 
which lifted up the waves of the sea. 
26  They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths; 
their courage melted away in their evil plight; 
27  they reeled and staggered like drunken men 
and were at their wits’ end. 
28  Then they cried to the Lordin their trouble, 
and he delivered them from their distress. 
29  He made the storm be still, 
and the waves of the sea were hushed. 
30  Then they were glad that the waters3were quiet, 
and he brought them to their desired haven. 
31  Let them thank the Lordfor his steadfast love, 
for his wondrous works to the children of man! 
32  Let them extol him in the congregation of the people, 
and praise him in the assembly of the elders. 

I also love psalm 107. In a great struggle of my life, my sister gave verses 23-32 to me and they lifted my head and encouraged my heart. This psalm references God taking us out of distress when we call on him in vs. 6, 13, 19, and 28.  It beginsin vs 1 with describing the steadfast love of god, and it ends the same way. 

How do we keep our minds stayed on Him and wrestle through these 2 hurdles?  

“But the Lord God helps me; 
therefore I have not been disgraced; 
therefore I have set my face like a flint, 
and I know that I shall not be put to shame.”

I can’t think of a better encouragement than Isaiah 50:7 to support us here.  He helps us stay focused on the things that matter. 

We can’t fall into self-pity but consider the needs of others as more important than your own as we are encouraged to do in Philippians 2:3-4: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”  

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.”  We must walk in compassion as Colossians 3:12 tells us to, but really this paragraph from verses 12-17 will help us to wait on the Lord to restore a loved one. Waiting is no joke. God can do amazing things in our hearts through this process if we are yielded to him.

“In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.”  In Ephesians 5:28-30 married folks are encouraged to love each other’s bodies like their own.  This passage is addressed to husbands but we find this idea of oneness other places in the Bible so we can’t ignore that focusing on the wellness of a spouse will benefit us as well.  This helped me to change the dressing on my husband’s wounds as if I were taking good care of my own body.  

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 
5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. 
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. 
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 
11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
12 “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for jso they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

The Beatitudes from the sermon on the mount have ministered to me and strengthened me during times of my husband’s illness.  I want to be merciful and meek the way He is.  

I certainly don’t have a recipe for supporting the wounded, but I have a list of scriptures that Jesus has given me to help me through.  I couldn’t have done it without Him.  I wouldn’t have.  I’m too selfish.  He enables and empowers by His spirit and gives us a supernatural love.  I considered giving examples and telling stories about the times He used these scriptures in my heart as I support my husband through Crohn’s disease, but it would be too much to read.  He is faithful.  If we dive into His word it will sustain and satisfy us sufficient for the ministry He asks us to participate in.  

I’ll be praying that He increase your hunger for The Word as you read this and that your hearts will be encouraged to continue bringing your wounded to the Throne of Grace. 

Hi girls, I’m Carissa Reeves! I’m married 17 years to Steve and together we have 4 arrows in our quiver.  We were married 4 years before we felt called to serve Him however He would lead.  It has been such a wild ride.  He has taken us on a journey of paramount joy and suffering.  We left the US in 2006 to live in Hungary, Ethiopia, Trenton NJ (which was the most foreign for this South Carolina girl) and finally in China for 8 years.  We returned from the field a year ago and are enjoying a new season of growing in Him.  Currently we live in Philly and I’m teaching high school chemistry at a Christian school.   My husband, Steve, is the missions pastor at the church that loved and cared for us all those years on the field.  Our children all attend the school/church where we work.  I hope the testimony I share this week shows how sweetly and powerfully He provided for our family in a season of fear.  I’m praying for you all as you receive this blog. 

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