Dad and I got to work late Tuesday morning after the unexpected happened. We were involved in an accident on the highway in which our Tahoe was rear-ended, totaling both vehicles. We're all fine, praise God. On the lookout for a new truck, but no serious injuries for Dad, myself, or the other driver.
As any of you who have been in a car accident know, there is generally a significant bit of muscle pain afterward from the whiplash and such. This one was no exception. The first day I was pretty much fine. But despite staying fairly relaxed, drinking a ton of water (okay, a gallon), taking anti-inflammatory meds, and other precautions, my neck muscles have remained pretty tight and sore since day 2. Mom has given me an intentional massage each evening since, and tonight as she rubbed and I thought about what to write on my blog, I noticed two interesting parallels.
Generally, Mom's massage feels pretty good. However, her goal is to find those painfully tight and sore muscles and work on them. When I feel pain, I know she is getting the right muscles. She knows she's right on when I start groaning. The muscles that aren't painful don't need to be massaged; they're doing fine. The ones that need a steady, deep pressure are the hurt and damaged muscles that will be painful to address.
Muscle injuries aren't the only injuries needing a massage. Often circumstances, tragedy, emotions, evil, betrayal, etc., cause whiplash in our souls and hearts. We're stunned, maybe in shock, maybe running on adrenaline for a while. But our hearts were never made to be okay with this world's brokenness, and sooner or later we begin to feel it. God wants healing; His heart has always been to create, and then to restore. And for a sore, tight, whiplash-ed spirit, He massages diligently. He may use people, experiences, Scripture, music, and direct relationship with His Holy Spirit to push gently but firmly on parts of our heart that seem tender. Some things may seem painfully exposed or pushed on. But if we could view God as the great physician that He is, perhaps we could understand that the day-by-day pain we feel in this broken world is the truest way of knowing He is at work.
I noticed Mom was having trouble trying to figure out which muscles I needed massaged most intentionally. I had to explain and show her where to go and confirm when she was on the right spot. I realized that if I were to massage someone with the same injury, I would know exactly where to go, where to push, where to rub. I've felt the pain, so I would be able to help ease theirs.
We trust and believe that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him (Rom. 8:28). I've begun to learn that just one of the beautiful fruits of our pain is the ability to love others differently. When we've felt their pain, we learn what they need. We learn that we can massage them. Maybe we can help the healing process, but we know that our massage will not bring ultimate healing. Just like when we were the injured ones, we know it takes time. But because of our pain, we're willing to put on hand on another's shoulder, or neck, or back, and rub the places we know hurt the most.
Maybe you're the one in aching pain today. Let yourself be massaged by people and by God. Maybe you're a testament to the healing power of God. Let yourself be used to massage others.