Time Heals No Wounds

Originally published October 2012.

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I am thinking today about healing and growth.  Arguably two of the most beautiful things we can know in this world, and, not coincidentally, two of the most painful.

This morning I overheard somebody say "Time heals all wounds," and everything in my gut wrenched and shouted,

"That's not true!"

So I came here to tell you that if you've heard this and believed it, it is a lie.

Time does not heal all wounds. Time does not heal any wounds.

That's why people carry grudges to their graves.  Why people spend thousands of dollars on therapy every year.  Why bitterness and contempt kill marriages every day.  Because time doesn't do squat.

It can sometimes feel like time is the magical wound-eraser, but only because in time, the real healers can do their work.  Consider:

  • Time doesn't heal wounds; forgiveness heals wounds.  And forgiveness takes time.
  • Time doesn't heal wounds; perspective heals wounds.  And perspective takes time.
  • Time doesn't heal wounds; maturity and grace heal wounds. And maturity and grace take time.

Ultimately, time doesn't heal wounds; Jesus heals wounds.  And never in my experience has Jesus tapped me with a magic God wand and erased my hurt.  Jesus could grow us overnight, but He doesn't.  He could heal us over night, but more often than not, He doesn't.  The time is too valuable to our human experience. There is too much to be gained in the fire of affliction, where the dross is burned away and our gold emerges.  The desert years, the healing years, the growing years - they are too crucial in our understanding of who God is and how He relates to us.  He loves, sustains, endures and carries.  He heals and redeems and forgives.

God has never erased my hurt or immaturity overnight.  What He has done - is heal me.  He has worked forgiveness into my heart - into places so hurt and hardened that only He could do it.  And it took time.  He has carried me minute by minute, dispensing peace in the exact measure of my need, over time.

There is a great line from an early episode of House in which a patient named Eve tells Dr. House, "Time changes everything." House responds,

"That's what people say; it's not true. Doing things changes things. Not doing things leaves things exactly as they were."

If you need healing, get busy.  Get busy praying.  Get busy crying, feeling, growing, forgiving, begging for grace.

Healing and growth are not instantaneous - none of the best things are.  But neither are they guaranteed with time - none of the best things are.

Let's stop perpetuating this lie of a proverb.  Time doesn't heal wounds; it doesn't have that kind of power.  But God does.