In one of the churches I minister, there is this 91 years old Elder. He is considered very spiritual and trustworthy. But he had gone through very rough times in his life. Reading Dr. Seamands book I remembered his story. In 1989 in December before the anti-Communist Revolution, he had three of his girls (he had 5 girls and 3 boys) in Timisoara (the city where the Revolution started); the older daughter, the second one and the youngest. The first two were working and the youngest just started her college (October 1st that year). The Revolution started on Saturday December 16, and on Sunday night, on the way home from the church, this three girls decided to pass by the place where most of the people from the revolution were, to see what was going on there. That day the shooting started and continued through the night, but people gathered very fast in the National Opera Plaza. So, going through a park, close to the hot spot of the revolution, holding hands, with the youngest in the middle, a sniper shot both older girls. The youngest saw her two sisters from her sides falling down almost instantly. People gathered around her, took her from there and the bodies of the shot girls disappeared. After a weak, after the Communism was abolished, the family was able to find only one of the dead girls. Apparently she didn’t die in the park, but was executed in the head in the hospital. They couldn’t find the other one because the communist authorities, in order to hide the crimes, sent 200 bodies to Bucharest to be cremated. All this, left a big pain in the entire family but mostly in this father’s heart. He was angry with God for many years after this los though continuing to do ministry. Then, something happened: he talks about a vision, in which he met God, the Father. In this vision he asked God why he had to go through that pain and he asked for healing from his pain. But God told him that He suffered too; He saw his Son being killed too; and when he is in pain he should look to the Cross, and to Christ’s wounds, because He bore his suffering on the cross too. This elder witnesses that from the moment, he realized Christ suffered and the Father suffered with Him, his pain was gone. This is the thesis of Dr. Seamand’s book too. Christ bore our hurts on the Cross in order that we would be healed.
The book has two parts. The first part has to do with the problem of human pains. But it addresses the human hurts through the Cross and it’s pain. Looking at Jesus Christ and taking the reader through each step of Christ’s sufferings, Stephen Seamands states a crude reality; the pain as unjust and as hurtful, and as devastating as it is exists in our world, and some times there is nothing we can do about it. This is opposed to the philosophy of this world, which promotes cheap deliverance from the pain, by running away from it. The good news of this part of the book is that Jesus suffered our pain in his suffering on the Cross. The most challenging chapter for me was chapter six that speaks of deliverance from demonization. It was hard for me to accept the statement that Christians can be under the influence of evil spirits (demonization) while having the Holy Spirit in their life. But the fine distinction that Dr. Seamands make between “demon possession” and “demonization”(96-97) makes, helped me understand his point.
The second part of the book, offers a path to healing through the Cross. Again, the most important aspect emphasized is that Christ suffered with us on the Cross. The hardest part here is to make the steps of embracing the pain. This chapter describes a very painful way of acknowledging past hurts in life. It made me wander if the process of reliving the pain isn’t more painful than the past pain. But I realized that this is the path to healing. Also this way of doing healing brings humans to a point where they can forgive, and where they can love the ones who afflicted the pain (their enemies). And in the end our hearts can become “radiant scars” allowing “the Lord to glorify Himself with our wounds”. (175)
This book, written by Dr. Seamands, is the kind of book you read with an eye toward your own life, towards your own pain, frustrations and experiences. We all minister best out of our brokenness and this is a book that offers the true hope of healing through Christ.