Daily devotional by Charles R. Swindoll
Tucked away in a quiet corner of Scripture is a verse containing much emotion: “From the city men groan, and the souls of the wounded cry out” (Job 24:12).
The scene is a busy metropolis. Speed. Movement. Noise. Rows of buildings. Miles of apartments, houses, restaurants, stores, schools, cars, bikes, kids. All that is obvious, easily seen and heard by the city dweller.
But there is more. Behind and beneath the loud splash of human activity are invisible aches. Job calls them “groans.” That’s a good word. The Hebrew term suggests that this groan comes from one who has been wounded. Perhaps that’s the reason Job adds the next line in poetic form, “the souls of the wounded cry out.” In that line, wounded comes from a term that means “pierced.” But he is not referring to a physical stabbing, for it is “the soul” that is crying out.
Job is speaking of those whose hearts have been broken . . . those who suffer from the blows of “soul-stabbing,” which can be far more bloody and painful than “bodystabbing.”
The city is full of such sounds-the wounded, bruised, and broken, crying out in groans from the heart.
That describes some of you, I am certain. You may be living with the memories of past sins or failures. Although you have confessed and forsaken those ugly, bitter days, the wound stays red and tender. You wonder if it will ever heal. Although it is unknown to others, you live in the fear of being found out . . . and rejected.
Others of you may be “groaning” because you have been misunderstood or treated unfairly. The wound is deep because the blow came from one you trusted and respected. It’s possible that the hurt was brought on by the stabbing of someone’s tongue. They are saying things that simply are not true, but to step in and set the record straight would be unwise or inappropriate. So you stay quiet . . . and bleed. Perhaps a comment was made only in passing, but it pierced you deeply.
Tucked away in the corner of every life are wounds and scars. If they were not there, we would need no Physician. Nor would we need one another. Only the Great Physician can turn our ugly wound into a scar of beauty. Only He can heal the pain and sin in our past and make us whole again. Reflect on Psalm 147:1-5 (NIV):
Praise the Lord.
How good it is to sing praises to our God,
how pleasant and fitting to praise him!
The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
he gathers the exiles of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars
and calls them each by name.
Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
his understanding has no limit.
Adapted from Charles R. Swindoll, The Finishing Touch: Becoming God’s Masterpiece (Dallas: Word Publishing, 1994), 410-411.
Charles R. Swindoll is the senior pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas. His radio ministry, Insight for Living, is heard on over 1,400 radio outlets worldwide and is webcast to a growing online audience. In 2001, Insight for Living launched Paws & Tales, a weekly radio drama for kids designed to teach children biblical theology through adventure, fun, and music.