Wounded for You, Wounded for Me
When soldiers are engaging in battle, some are bound to be wounded.
How you take care of the wounded and how you nurture them back to health is a reflection of the standard and morale of the armed services. Good and disciplined fighting forces always take care of their wounded.
The Bible is full of Christian soldiers, generals, and heroes, who have been wounded during the course of their lives. The focus of the Bible is not on their wounds but on what they could do after they had recovered.
Let's take a quick look at some of them before we come to our present-day situation in our churches.
Abraham had to go through the shameful process of betraying his wife before he could learn to trust God enough to offer his son Isaac.
Moses was a murderer, a destroyer of life, before he became a messenger of God in liberating the lives of his own people. The conversion from a murderer to a messiah took Moses forty years.
The idolatrous relationship of David and Bathsheba caused him to go through the agony of losing one son, but God still allowed his other son with Bathsheba, Solomon, to succeed him.
As for Elijah, he not only had his mountain-top experience on Mount Carmel, but also had to go through the valley of death-threat experience with Jezebel. The prophet who could send 950 false prophets to their death with his powerful prayer is also the one who prayed to God to take his own life.
Jonah had the power to avert the destruction of the great city Nineveh but he did not have the will power to live. His message was powerful enough to save the lives of others, but he did not have the power to face his own life. He could save others, but he himself needed God to save him.
In the New Testament, we see Peter boldly reassure Jesus, "I will lay down my life for you." But the same Peter, when accused of being a follower of Jesus who was on trial, would adamantly deny any knowledge of and association with Jesus. But our Lord did not let Peter lie wounded on the courtyard ground where he thrice denied any knowledge of Jesus. Instead, Jesus looked at Peter. In that look, Peter was reminded of the words of Jesus, "Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times." With that look, which spoke to Peter of Jesus' understanding and compassion, Peter was reduced to tears of gratitude and repentance.
In fact, all the original twelve disciples pledged to die for Jesus if need be. But every single one fled for his own life when faced with danger.
The Bible is not about perfect saints but about a patient God. The Bible is not about wonderful Christians but about wounded Christians.
Let's look at our organizations, institutions, and churches today. They are still filled with wounded saints. They are suffering from wounds inflicted by the world, by their own family members, by their colleagues at work, and by their co-workers at church.
Among the most severely wounded are the full-time vocational Christian workers in churches, in various organizations and institutions, and in the mission fields. They suffer the most severe wound because they take the most risk, not only of their lives and livelihood but also of their family members who are often dragged in .
I talked to two wounded soldiers recently. One said, "If you are going to start a ministry for the wounded, I will be the first to apply for help." The second one was so severely wounded that he refused to talk about his wound at all. He just wanted to get out of the service.
The wounded need help. They need understanding. They need recognition. They need rest. They need restoration.
The Christian army needs to recognize that we sustain casualties in the course of fighting, sometimes by friendly fire. We need to regard these wounded with respect and recognition because their wounds come as a result of their willingness to enlist.
In a war, not only the soldiers get wounded, the civilians get wounded as well. Sometimes the civilians suffer more than the soldiers. Worse, the civilians are not armed and they are not trained to defend themselves. And they are not fed.
No matter who gets hurt, either soldiers or civilians, they all need help.
Are there any wounded in your platoon? Do you blame them or do you help them?
Jesus was wounded for us. Could some of these our brothers and sisters get wounded for a similar reason? They were wounded in serving Jesus. They were wounded in serving you and for serving me.
It is time for us to recognize their wounds and to do something about it.