It’s no secret that when Royal Consort Prince Albert died at the age of 42, his wife, Queen Victoria entered into deep mourning for the rest of her life. She wore black every single day until she died because she missed her beloved Albert so very much.
Soon after he died, people of course extended their offerings of care and condolences to the newly widowed Queen. Among them was President Abraham Lincoln.
A few months ago, I was at Windsor Castle in England and read a letter that the tall, bearded President known for his top hat had written to his regal friend. What he had penned to Queen Victoria over a hundred years ago was delivered to my own heart that day.
“I know that the divine hand that has wounded is the only one that can heal.”
Abraham Lincoln’s words of wisdom still stand tall like he once did.
The rest of the day, as I toured, I thought about what he had written, as I stood miniatured by the grand rooms which belonged to that thousand year old fortress atop the city’s hill.
I’ve been wounded by things God has allowed to come into my life. I know you have too. Looking back through scripture, it’s evident that we are in good company.
God allowed Naomi and Ruth to be wounded by the loss of their husbands.
God allowed Sarah, Hannah, Rachel, the Shunnamite woman, and Elizabeth to be wounded for a long time by their empty arms.
God allowed Job to be wounded when he was tested by Satan to see if he would still bless the Lord, even after everything was taken away from him.
God allowed the Israelites to be wounded by their wandering through the wilderness.
God allowed Paul to be wounded in all his shipwrecks, imprisonment, and whatever that thorn in his flesh was.
God allowed Jesus to be wounded on the cross- even to death- for our transgressions.
But for every single wound, He faithfully provided a salve for healing. By His hand…
God set Naomi and Ruth into a new family when Ruth married Boaz, her kinsman redeemer. Not only did He heal that immediate wound of loss, but Jesus came through their line to heal the wounds that sin had brought for all mankind.Even though Sarah, Elizabeth, and likely the Shunamite woman were up in age, and even though Hannah was surrounded by her peers marching right along with the clockwork that every woman hopes for, God brought each of them to motherhood in His perfect timing.
God allowed virtually every blessing to be stripped away from Job’s life. God permitted Job to get to a point of testing so treacherous that he would either curse Him or bless Him in spite of all the horrific measures of pain he lived through. After Job courageously proved that his one true treasure was God alone, God multiplied all the blessings He allowed to be stripped away.
God eventually brought Israel to the Promised Land after all their wandering and complaining and after the people learned to put their trust in the One who was leading them, rather than the resources they were craving and plans they were conniving.
God used Paul’s painful experiences to renew his hope for the future in the presence of Christ and to teach others how suffering can draw people closer to the heart of Christ while leaning hard into His strength and grace, not their own.
And God allowed Jesus to die on the cross…to be wounded by the hands of those He came to heal and the enemy who would seek to cause them more pain. He allowed Him to die in order to destroy all those infectious disease-causing agents called sin. He allowed Him to defeat the root of all that wounds us. But He didn’t allow Jesus to be defeated. By the same hand that refused to stop the hands that killed His Son, God rolled the stone away from the tomb and healed the Man whose hands, feet, and side were wounded for our souls.
The Divine hand that allowed wounding also brought healing.
God is Sovereign, my friend. Whatever it is you’ve been wounded by has not come as a surprise to Him. His plan was not for us to suffer. But our species freely chose that which God said would hurt us. His hand that created us and gave us the capacity to wound ourselves offered redemption to our sad stories.
The wounds that strike our hearts, homes, and hope don’t have to put a period of defeat on our stories. The screen may flash dark, causing us to think all hope for a nice ending is gone. But, in the end, those empty, breathless visions of darkness have the capacity to be pierced by the Light of the World who with His hand, pens healing like a laser back into the tales of our lives.
Honest Abe’s telling the truth, folks. I’m living it day by day. I’m asking God’s hand to stay upon my wounded heart and just create it anew. I’m asking Him the same for you, too. I’m asking God to give us the courage to believe that He’s still writing healing into our stories…even if it takes the moment after our last breaths to feel it completely…I’m asking Him to help us know and believe the truth that,
“The Divine hand that has wounded is the only one that can heal…”
“There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord.” (Proverbs 21:30 NIV)
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NIV)