Unwrapping the Grave clothes of Past Hurts


If you are soaking in the Father’s love in this wonderful River of blessing, don’t be surprised when you find that it cleanses you of things that hinder you from deeper intimacy with God. I know. I’ve experienced this.

Before I discovered this River in 1994, I believe my heart was broken. I’d served God as faithfully as I knew how for over 20 years, but I felt overwhelmed by the opposition oppressed by a gnawing sense of futility that kept telling me that my future would always resemble my fruitless past. I remember back then waking up each morning with my emotions throbbing as surely as if someone had cut them open with a carving knife.

Now, after soaking in His presence for more than six years, the throbbing has been completely replaced by a deeper joy than I’ve ever known and a hopeful sense that God is working on my behalf. It’s as though the Lord has unwrapped the graveclothes that were binding me up stifling all that I could be in Him. And he’s used other people in the body of Christ to help.

I used to reject the need for inner healing. Where is it in the Bible? I wondered. My blind eyes are open now. It’s everywhere: confession of sin, forgiveness, sanctification, renewing of the mind. In fact, Jesus promised us that His anointing would bind up the brokenhearted and restore the wounded soul. So what’s the problem?

Sometimes we are like Lazarus on the day he came back from the dead. He slowly stumbled out of the tomb appearing at its door completely swathed in useless, smelly linen wrappings smeared with burial ointment that had been hardened by the Judean heat into a Lazarus-shaped cocoon. Although he was alive and out of the tomb, he looked and smelled dead. He couldn’t move freely and enjoy his “new lease on life” until the Lord commanded his disciples, “Unbind him and let him go.”

What if Lazarus had resisted the help of those around who had been appointed by Jesus to help him out of his bondage? Would the old have smothered the new? Would he never have known the liberty of moving through life unfettered?

Soaking in the Lord’s presence in this renewal has lifted untold weight from my spirit, but now the Lord is going deeper. In response to my prayers for “more” he’s helping me open up to others who are praying with me and helping me unwrap the graveclothes of deeply buried hurts. As I confess these faults and receive prayer, I’m being healed inside, and I’m healthier physically, too. I’m being renewed inside and out.

While it’s preposterous to imagine leaving Lazarus in his graveclothes, it’s even more ridiculous to imagine a Christian in this spiritual state. Or is it? Are you limping through the Christian life bound by the vestiges of your past, hindered by gaping emotional wounds, unable to feel the presence of God and experience true joy? Even worse, if you are a Christian who is bound up like Lazarus, without intending to, you can have a negative impact on the lives of others in your family and in your church carrying the stench of death into what would otherwise be healthy relationships.

This issue of Spread the Fire Magazine is devoted to one of the most important aspects of this current River of blessing, unbinding and healing Christians from those things that keep you from enjoying God and that prevent others from seeing you radiate His glory.

Carol Arnott’s article, “Does the Inner You Need Healing?” is a landmark piece that asks all of us in the River to examine our lives to see if we have any symptoms of a wounded heart. Al and Helen MacDonald describe the process of inner healing and how necessary it is for everyone to allow God to shine His light on unhealed wounds. Chester and Betsy Kylstra explore one of the most powerful blocks to inner healing, the Shame-Fear-Control Syndrome and how to get free. John and Paula Sandford, internationally known veterans of the inner- healing ministry, tell how soaking in this new River of the Father’s love has changed their lives and ministries. Jeremy and Connie Sinnott, associate pastors and senior worship leaders at TACF, explain how God heals your heart in worship.

Healing life’s hurts has always been part of TACF’s vision, “to walk in God’s love and then give it away.” I pray that you will savor this issue and make it a reference in your library. Enjoy the read, but better yet, allow these articles by some of the Lord’s choice servants help unwrap your graveclothes as you soak yourself clean in His healing River.

Originally Published July/August 2000 Editor Melinda Fish

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IssuesMelinda Fish