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The wounds of the unborn child

Rosalind was at a conference recently which focussed on how certain influences can have lifelong consequences on a child in the womb. The effects of alcohol or drugs are well known in this regard; and that a significant number of babies born to heroin users experience dreadful and horrible withdrawal symptoms; an incredibly distressing way to embark on life.

People are perhaps less aware that if an expectant or new mother is living in the grip of depression and anxiety, or even just surrounded by constant noise, the stress cortisones that her body releases can make it difficult for the neuron pathways in the brain to form and connect properly. This sows the seeds of trouble in a child’s inner being, and may be a trigger for serious illness later on in life. This is particularly common where there is marital stress or violence, or a toing and froing about who will have custody of the child.

All is not lost, however! In His great work of redemption, the Lord can heal the damage done by these things. How good and how great He is! Jesus came to bind up the broken hearted; He is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit; He is the Rofeh (healer) of the Shevurei-lev (broken in heart), who binds up our wounds. (Is. 61:1, Ps. 34:18) The more trusting we are to open our hearts to Him, the more tenderly He reveals the reasons for the things that fragment our personality and, just as tenderly, shows us what to do about them.

This is such an encouragement for those of us who find it hard to handle stressful situations, and who may be inclined to shy away from things that we really ought to face; or for those who tend towards self-absorption and attention-seeking; to recognise what is happening and let His love light in – especially into areas where pride has secured a foothold, perhaps through some inherited family trait, or through some national characteristic; or where our own self-conceit has twisted our perspective, as haughty attitudes always do.

Whether these deficiencies and fragmentations stem from outward losses or inner deficiencies, all of us to a greater or lesser extent need release from patterns of response that owe more to unseen riptides than to the flow of God’s Holy Spirit.

Again and again the Scriptures remind us that the Lord has a day in store to humble all that exalts itself. May we be eager to cooperate with this process, and call out to the Lord while there is still time to root out all that is born of pride, and to lop off all that is arrogant and haughty.

Perhaps more than anything this speaks to the issue of control. We all have our lists and schedules in mind for what we plan to do in a given day, and we easily react when it turns out that others have been thinking along different lines. It’s so easy to get upset and to scream out inwardly, if not outwardly, “Don’t mess with my plans!”

When one interruption after another comes our way, it really helps to remember that our times are in His hands – say it consciously to the Lord when those interruptions come, “our times are in your hands, Lord, and you Lord have a wonderful way of disguising opportunities as interruptions.” It must have looked like a distraction when the woman with an issue of blood sidled up to Jesus just at the time when he had been making haste to attend to Jairus’ daughter but it was actually God’s plan both for that needy woman and for Jairus’s daughter.

Prepare people ahead of time to face tendencies that may be lurking in their subconscious. Lend a copy of Francis McNutt’s book Praying for the Unborn Child to pregnant couples to help them prepare their spirits and to prevent unnecessary tensions from being passed on to the next generation. Put the cross of Christ between those spirits and those tendencies and the precious next generation.

Take time to read eye opening and life transforming books such as The Transformation of the Inner Man and Healing the Wounded Spirit by John and Paula Sandford. Attend a session or two of Bethel Ministry’s “Sozo” sessions or some such equivalent that will help you to recognise the forces that have long been at work in your life and which require the Lord’s specific intervention.

Lord Jesus, I invite You to help me identify those parts of my character and inmost being that are damaged and fragmented. Come into these depths to comfort and to heal; to reshape and fashion me in Your image, that I may have the faith and patience of the Son of Man, and so be equipped to do His works in the power and strength of His love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Philip Spratley: Suite, In Outlaw Country, Op. 12B – Notturno

Dvorak: Romance for piano and violin, Op 11, played by Grace Lee and Christiane von Albrecht.