He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners, (Is 61:1b, NIV)
His forehead wrinkled and a tiny grimace floated across my husband’s face. No one else noticed, but I saw it and winced. This would be harder than we thought.
The microphone in his hand didn’t stop him; nor did the sixty people in the room, who variously prayed, winced or watched intently. He was meeting with Jesus but he was doing it in public, verbally telling us the intimate pictures and conversations He and Jesus were having internally. It was classic inner healing (the person, the problem and Jesus all in the same room at the same time) but brave was far too mild a word to describe this interchange.
My heart raced with a strange combination of pride and concern. I was eager to see if the new prayer process which had worked so well in more private settings could hold up to this kind of public scrutiny, but had we gone too far? My husband was not easily jostled, but this might be too much.
“What’s going on?” I prompted.
“Jesus knows this internal wound requires surgery and it might be painful,” he responded. “The hateful words became arrows in my heart, and they’re infected. He has to pull them out and… well, this may be too graphic,” he paused. I edged almost off my stool and silently prayed my standard panic prayer. “O God, O God, O God, Help!” We didn’t need to scare away sixty eager prayer ministers wanting to watch God at work.
“He wants to suck out the [metaphorical] venom from my heart. The venom came from the poisoned words, the ones I believed.” OH! Graphic, perhaps, but incredibly freeing! Jesus had such creative ways of relieving pain.
I breathed a little, and we waited while my husband’s spiritual surgery continued. He asked questions, Jesus responded. Jesus offered healing, he cooperated. It wasn’t a smooth road, but the lies dissolved, and he forgave the ones who had hurled them.
And then, as if on cue, it was over. “Thank you Jesus!” I said involuntarily. My valiant praying husband looked up, exhausted but happy. The heartache was gone. So was the mental picture that had held him back for years. And sixty people watched the whole miracle happen.
The room was electric with anticipation. Hurting hearts grabbed hope and dared to break through pain to Jesus’ healing. One vulnerability led to another. Dread and anxiety eased out the door, and we watched pained faces give way to joy.
Was this freedom worth the risky cost of being so terribly transparent and vulnerable? I looked up at my husband, searching to see what he really thought, and smiled as he said all the right words. “Jesus knew what they needed and the model opened the door for them to go deeper!”
The risk was real but the reward was even greater. Pushing through the boundaries of doubt and anxiety brought more healing than we imagined, to my husband and to dozens of others who joined in. “I desire healing even more than you do,” Jesus reminded me. It was an old lesson, now made new: He offers hope and emotional healing to all who are willing to receive it. Relieved, I nodded. He certainly honored prayers, bravery and faithfulness that morning! How many others would benefit from that lesson, as well, I wondered?
Grateful, I wrapped my arms around my husband’s chest and hugged him, hard.