Letters to the Wounded {#1}

And after sharing Letters to the Wound {#2} this week? …. I went back in the archives and pulled out Letters to the Wounded {#1}.


ear Wounded,

You were bleeding quiet in my inbox.

I read your letter slow, line by line, the way one follows the trail of smearing salty red back to find the gash, to the place where the skin weeps blood.

I read your words, the ones about doubting God and I felt along your questions, and I see it, where you hurt. I read how ones who claim  Christ’s name thrust the sharp point and inflicted the injury and I winced and I read of the silence when you pounded heaven’s gate and something inside me twisted tight and broke, and I read your story, again, again.

I have your blood on my hands.

I am wounded with you.

I’ve got your bloodied story on my hands and I’ve got my own messy, gory past and I too live wounded — wounded by life and this aching strangle of sickness and dying dreams; wounded by the church and the licks of thoughtless tongues, infighting, and hard, indifferent hearts.

Wounded by God.

There. I said it. I don’t know if I could have if you hadn’t been brave enough to say it first.

You wrote me —- well, a collective you, several in one day, all with different scenes in that one play ending with the same last line, “How to believe?” —- and you didn’t even know why you bothered to write me a letter really and I smiled and nodded because I get that.

What can any flesh and bones embodied in time really say when it’s your spirit that is groping about to feel His Spirit?

Yes, this is Spirit work. But I can wholly listen to your story. Tell bits of mine.

My own story of doubt and fist shaking and shoulder shuddering sobs and wrestling with God and revelation and pilgrimage. I can tell you what I doubt and why I doubt and who I doubt. We can share our stories, because I think story, not argument, may reveal there is a God who wrote Himself into the human story with the words ‘In the Beginning’, and a God Who stays with us throughout each page and paragraph until the last chapter.

Your story had a saved mother and a skeptical father.

And a voracious cancer that gutted her body and your last fierce vestiges of belief until nothing was left of either.

I could feel the caustic burn of her death as I read your words and my throat swelled. Her in all her beauty and monumental faith shrivelling away and how she never seemed to feel any comfort of the Lord at all. She had said so.

How you’d like to get your hands on God and throttle His audacious, negligent neck — wound Him just a bit. There. You said that too.

But even if you could just grab hold of the absent God’s neck — just prove that He really existed — maybe that would go a long ways to healing?

I don’t know why your luminous mother had to die a heinous death like that and why your family has had to ache like this and why Christians have failed to love you.

And I don’t know why my sister was killed, why my two nephews were both born with fatal diseases and we buried them within 18 months of each other, why prayers didn’t save my Dad, my parent’s marriage,  who we all once were.

All these tears and burial plots and echoing hospital halls — how long, oh God, how long? Why don’t You show us Your hand, Your face — even Your bending neck?

The wounded people —- who can blame us for asking: Is there really a Doctor in the house? Are You here? Do you hear?

We say we just want evidence, we just want just one iota of tangible, undeniable proof that God’s close.

But maybe proof of His existence would satisfy us little, be little more than cold comfort and maybe this is what God really knows.

Maybe more than scientific, conclusive evidence of God, maybe the dark depths of us really long for the filling of a wounded, weeping God who doesn’t write answers in the starts but writes His love in our scars. With His scars.

Maybe in ditches and by death beds, maybe we aren’t seeking evidence of God as much as we are seeking an experience with God.

And maybe that is precisely what God has given, day after day, right here in the midst and the mess —- not hard evidence, but a holy experience.

And that’s what I’m experiencing as I keeping writing down 1000 endless gifts.

The uncontainable God reveals Himself in the smallest containers of grace.

… the first light through the window

the sole sparrow on the telephone line

the cold glass of water and the laughter after lunch

the blankets at the end of the day…

And writing thanks for the seemingly trite let me see that nothing is trite, that the small is sacred and the Doctor in the house binds up our wounds with scraps of daily mercy. He is the sacred in our everyday and I have found He is real in the daily common and the hallowed, ordinary now, and I still doubt and who. I. doubt. is. me.

This is a long story and I will tell more of it, but it began like this:

I had lived embittered at what I judged the injustices of this world — but how I had missed that grace was the greatest injustice of all?

And He gave the grace to us.

And us wounded ones who have lost parts of ourselves in the battle, who walk around with gaping, bleeding emptiness, who feel the longing for something we have lost but can never seem to find, perhaps that aching is itself an answer from God?

That our craving for Him is a way of experiencing Him. And in our hungering for God, we are slowly healed by God.

And know this: We won’t wash our hands. We cry with you and we remember you and we carry your woundedness with us and our heart will beat with your bleeding heart.

And The Wounded Healer with the scars, He bleeds with us all.



Letters to the Wounded {#2}
Because When it’s a Bummer, it might be Perfect
What Everyone Who Feels Like a Loser Really Needs
Dispatch from a Near Drowning, and a Love Note to Self-Loathers