In the first twenty minutes of the movie Saving Private Ryan, an extremely graphic scene of the Omaha beachhead assault of June 6, 1944 is depicted. Although it was nearly fourteen years ago, I vividly remember seeing this movie on the big screen and will likely never forget some of the images in those first few minutes. The directors of the movie explained that the intensely graphic nature of the opening scene was so that the viewer could truly understand the reality of war and the raw nature of wartime violence and death, which was critical to the viewer’s connection with the main storyline for the film.
The images that I remember most from this powerful movie are those of the walking wounded in that opening scene. Like the soldier who lost his severed arm and searched for it, found it, picked it up, and carried it with him as he sought shelter from the enemy fire. Broken, dismembered bodies with one goal – survival. With severed limbs, trying to find refuge in the midst of warfare that they had grossly underestimated.
All of us have walked, are walking, or will walk the long journey from the valley of woundedness and pain to the refuge of hope. Like the walking wounded in this movie scene, those of us walking in emotional and spiritual woundedness seek shelter, but with broken hearts and crushed spirits. Like the walking wounded soldier, we, too have one goal…survival. With shattered dreams, trying to find refuge in warfare that we had grossly underestimated.
When we’re in survival mode, living isn’t really living, it’s more like just … existing. The difference between broken bodies and broken spirits is that we can hidea broken spirit. We can appear to have it together spiritually. But inside, we’re dying. And too proud to tell anyone about it.
If our wounded hearts are walled with pain, shame, and guilt, and our wills are walled with fear and anxiety, then where do we go for refuge and healing? Usually not to the One who can heal. Usually, to other people to fill the void that has consumed us, because even though we are wounded, we still crave love, joy, and peace. God created us to crave it. But we forget that there is only one True Source for our wholeness. We forget that He created us to crave it from Him. To seek it from Him. Sometimes I lose sight that although God gives me the amazing blessing of experiencing love from others here on earth sometimes, that it will never be truer, deeper, or wider than His love, His joy, or His peace available to and flowing through me all the time.
But there is good news.
The BEST news.
The heart of the Holy Spirit lives in those who believe and call upon the name of God and His ultimate sacrifice, the risen Christ. The heart of the Spirit in me…and in you…gives us direct access to the healing that can only be found through the mind and heart of Christ.
God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment: “For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Cor. 2:10-16, NIV).
As believers, we talk about the “power” of the Holy Spirit, and often. May we remember that the power of the Spirit comes from the heart of the Spirit, who always only wants the best for us. If we allow our heart to meld with the heart of the Spirit, the walls come down. We receive his heart toward us, so we can give it to others. The way we give to and receive love from others is radically changed.
Our goal becomes SO much more than to just survive.
We are no longer the walking wounded. We are alive, and we love without walled hearts. We live and love from wholeness.
The heart of the Spirit makes us whole.