From Hurting to Healing—Wash, Rinse, Repeat (Meditation on Psalm 30)

Phyllis Nissila

dark-forest-path-backgroundWise ones tell you: the grieving process comes in waves; you will not feel the way you do today, forever. Commit to the work of recovery, they advise, with good counsel, support, and reliance on the grace of God to instruct, convict, comfort, cleanse—and restore.

As I meditate on Psalm 30, David’s account of this process in his own life, I think of the analogy of washing hair: the “wash” (of emotions) over the event, trauma, or series of same; the “rinse” (of good counsel and comfort); and finally, the acceptance of the fact that the process will likely repeat as new layers of hurt—and healing—emerge, adding to the “work (of restoration) in progress.”

If we don’t give up.

Or quit.

David experienced this process, too, again and again, in psalm after psalm.

But that’s not all he experienced.

Through candid confessions, he reveals his own recovery processes, whether due to self- or other-inflicted sorrows, and he reveals the promise on the other side of the pain: the mourning of sorrow that, through God’s great kindness and compassion, turns into a morning of joy.

At length.

And we, too, can be encouraged.

Today.

From the New International Version, here is one of David’s accounts of this “cleansing” process:

Psalm 30

I will exalt you, Lord,
for you lifted me out of the depths
and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
Lord my God, I called to you for help,
and you healed me.
You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead;
you spared me from going down to the pit.

Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people;
    praise his holy name.
For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.

When I felt secure, I said,
“I will never be shaken.”
Lord, when you favored me,
you made my royal mountain stand firm;
but when you hid your face,
I was dismayed.

To you, Lord, I called;
to the Lord I cried for mercy:
“What is gained if I am silenced,
if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it proclaim your faithfulness?
10 Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me;
Lord, be my help.”

11 You turned my wailing into dancing;
    you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
12 that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
Lord my God, I will praise you forever.

 

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7 Responses to From Hurting to Healing—Wash, Rinse, Repeat (Meditation on Psalm 30)

  1. Phyllis – I feel as though you are writing to me personally on a day like to today when I’m in the middle of emotional and physical pain in my own body but also feel I must visit Tom at the hospital. He was admitted a week ago today for a staph infection and of course with his recent heart surgery, I’m even more worried. Going back and forth to the hospital and doing the things I normally do in a day have worn me down. I also have three broken ribs and a broken sternum and have felt perhaps more fragile than my usual gang busters self. Last night I surrendered and offered it all up to God and asked that I receive the strength and wisdom to do that which I should in order to take care of us both.
    God has always been at the center of my own recovery and I would never have survived had he not guided me through one crisis after another. He is my strength and my guide through this world we all live in.
    Thank you for this beautiful post. I so appreciate it. Sheri

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    • pnissila says:

      After I write a post I pray specifically for readers who happen to stop by and/or readers The Holy Spirit might prompt to click on the blog. I’m glad this ministered to you. This perspective was something the Lord reminded me of (again) last weekend after He pulled me through (another) “emotional knothole,” so to speak, in my own recovery from an intense couple of years. And thus to “comfort wherewith I’ve been comforted.”

      I will pray for you and your husband.

      I simply do not know how non-believers deal with the usual life stressors AND everything else coming at us these days!

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  2. This is a fabulous analogy! I will remember the truth of the concepts offered here every time I wash my hair.

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    • pnissila says:

      Thanks, Cindy :).
      There are a lot of relationship “cycles” that tend to repeat. Mostly, we hear of them in cycles of abuse. I like the redemption angle better…and the fact that at least one of “us” (the person turning to God for help, and God) in this relationship remains the same “yesterday, today, and forever.” This gives one hope. And comfort.

      I look forward to your next blog post. 🙂

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  3. pnissila says:

    Yes! Thank you so much for your “counselor’s heart” addition to this post. 🙂

    What else I like about David is that he was a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 123:22). Flaws and all. Amazing.

    This really emphasizes to me that our salvation is OUTSIDE of ourselves and our efforts; that it rests in what Jesus Christ did for us so that we can “enter into His rest.”

    Even in the middle of it all.

    Blessings to you.

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  4. Good post. Reading David’s psalms indeed shows his process. The situation may not have changed, but how he viewed it sure did. First, he’s authentic, letting his feelings about the subject be expressed. Then, He gives it to God to resolve. He finishes showing how the process has transformed him. The point is that he recognized what we have to: we need to face and own our feelings, which are very, very real. We also need to realize that sometimes we are powerless to change those feelings on our own. That’s where we end and God takes up. His love and its power indeed wash away those powerful negative emotions, sometimes immediately or over time, but recovery does happen.

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