Now that we’ve looked at the gospel as the provision for wholeness, let’s turn our attention to some biblical principles about living whole.
God is close to the brokenhearted
The above subtitle may seem antithetical to the subject of wholeness, but I wanted to start with it for this reason: As we heal from trauma and life’s difficulties, it’s reassuring to know that our God is near. He doesn’t shrink back from our pain, but rather moves into it. Psalm 34:18 says, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” It is He alone who has the power to make something beautiful from the ashes of our lives. It is He alone who heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3).
The fact that God is with us in our pain is most strongly evidenced by the second person of the Godhead, the One who condescended and took on flesh. Though he was without sin, Jesus experienced all the ugliness the world could possibly throw upon someone. He was despised, rejected, betrayed, beaten, bruised, humiliated, and killed. As the prophet Isaiah expressed, “He was a man of sorrows acquainted with grief.” (Isaiah 53:3). What a beautiful thing to know that our Savior understands our sorrow. That because he stepped down from heaven to walk among us, he is able to sympathize with us.
Because Jesus knows our pain, not just omnisciently, but in a “been there done that” kind of way—we can freely draw near to him. We can tell him our heartaches knowing that he is not harshly judging us, but rather, that he is grieving with us. As we heal, he wraps his arms around us in sympathy. And as he does so, we are brought from brokenness to wholeness. As St. Augustine stated in his commentary on Psalm 147, “The bruised heart shall be healed.”
We glorify God in our wholeness
When someone is accustomed to their identity as “broken,” this identity, in a strange way, can be a source of comfort. After all, we’re most comfortable with what’s familiar. It’s also possible to adopt the belief that one needs to stay broken in order to bring glory to God- as if the more we suffer in this way, the more He is glorified. This has its marks in something called asceticism. While as followers of Christ we are called to deny ourselves, those who ascribe to asceticism take this to the extreme.
Historically, those who ascribe to asceticism hold the belief that in order to please God, one must intentionally suffer. This suffering has often been produced through the denial of worldly comforts or pleasures. However, a similar mindset can happen when we believe we must continuously suffer emotionally/mentally to glorify God.
The truth is, we don’t need to stay broken to glorify God. Conversely, He is most glorified in our wholeness! Why? Because it is through our wholeness that His power and the glory of the gospel are displayed. When Jesus healed the demon possessed man in Mark chapter 5, he instructed him to go home to his friends and tell them how much the Lord had done for him (verse 19). In the same way, our testimony of God’s mercy and grace is used to draw others to Him. When we live in wholeness, we demonstrate the life-transforming power of the gospel. In this, we extend an invitation for others to “come and see” the One who makes us whole. (John 1:46, John 4:29). And in that, our great God is glorified.
God Desires Wholeness for Us
God’s design for us is wholeness. This is evident in both the Garden of Eden at creation and in the description of the New Heavens and the New Earth. Prior to the fall, Adam and Eve experienced perfect peace and joy as they communed with God and one another. This was how life was supposed to be! Think of it: None of the effects of sin existed until their rebellion against God. In the same way, when we are with Christ in the eternal state, sin and all of its effects will be put away from us once and for all. We will be perfectly whole.
So why does this matter? What’s the significance of knowing God’s design? I would argue that in His design, we see His will. He desires wholeness for His children! He wants us to live in peace and joy, having a sound mind that is governed by His Spirit, and with the assurance that we are greatly loved by Him! In knowing this truth, we see that it is good for us to be whole. That it’s okay. As I’ve stated previously in this series, those who have experienced trauma and difficulties in life must learn a new way to be. And part of that learning includes bathing oneself in the truth that God created us to be whole.
We’ve talked at length already about the gospel as the provision for wholeness. However, I wanted to reiterate that the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus is further evidence that God desires wholeness for us. Christ alone is the source of light and life! (John 1:4, John 5:26) And not just life- abundant life! As Jesus said in John 10:10: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
The Gospel is for Everyone
For whatever reason, sometimes it’s easier to accept that the gospel is for others rather than ourselves. We know that God loves and forgives others- yet, somehow, this doesn’t seem to fit when we look in the mirror. But let us consider these two points: 1) The gospel is for everyone and 2) Nobody deserves God’s grace.
Scripture tells us repeatedly that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. (1 Timothy 1:15, Mark 2:17, Luke 5:32). So, if you are a sinner (which we all are) then that means the gospel is for you. Christ came for you. His love, grace, and forgiveness are for you. If you have confessed that Jesus is Lord; if you have believed in and called upon his name, then you are saved. (Romans 10:9,13). You can boldly go to him, the One who has called all who are weary, burdened, and heavily laden, and he will give you rest.
And still, when we feel most unworthy, we know that this is the great truth of the gospel: nobody is worthy. We are saved by grace alone. For who in their own righteousness could stand before God? By the grace of God, only are our hearts and eyes opened to the Truth. By His Spirit, our hearts are regenerated. And through Christ, we are brought from death to life. None of this is because we are deserving, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23). What we are deserving of is death! (Romans 6:23). But take heart: acknowledging the depths of our sinfulness only magnifies the love of God. This acknowledgement is not meant to drive us to despair, but rather to praise and proclaim His glorious name.
As I conclude this post, I encourage you to take a moment to pause. Reflect on the truths communicated here and ask God to implant them in your heart and mind. Praise Him for His grace, for being a good Heavenly Father! Thank Jesus for being a perfect Savior. Worship He who alone is worthy.