Let me preface this by saying I hope this will be a conversation among survivors who believe in the Savior, or a discussion among peers. I want to learn from you, hear from you, and talk to you. I don’t come to this conversation as an expert. I am only a survivor who has been honored to serve others. I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I am not the best member or the wisest. I am just a member who has spent a lifetime as a survivor contemplating my relationship with the Savior in the context of healing.
This year my church released, Come Follow Me, a new study guide and resource for learning the gospel. Each week, as I read and study, I have been struck by how much of the New Testament holds little gems of hope and healing for survivors. For example, the Savior spent his time with people like me. He blessed and ate with people who were struggling or in desperate need of a miracle. He blessed people who are ill, broken, dead or dying, on the fringe, misunderstood, and judged by others like the tax collector, the blind, the lame, or the Samaritan woman at the well.
This week, as part of our church reading assignment, we are reading Matthew 21, Mark 11, and Luke 19. Each chapter, along with John 2, tells the story of Jesus Cleansing the temple.
Right about now, you are probably wondering, what a story about turning over tables, braiding a whip, and driving out money changers have to do with healing? Well, let me share my study journey.
Initially, I learned that although the Savior clearly was not happy about people making money by selling animals for sacrifice and money changing on temple grounds, he didn’t act in haste. In John 2, he takes the time, and I am betting it takes a while, to braid a whip. When he is done, he cleans the temple of God. He clears away the things of this world to make a place for spiritual and physical healing.
What happens after he cleanses the temple of God?
A few weeks ago my daughter introduced me to my new favorite and fun resource for studying. David Butler and Emily Freeman’s YouTube show, “Don’t Miss This.” I am a subscriber and a fangirl! Emily and David point out something wonderful. Something I had never noticed. Listen and if you have time, keep reading.
Sometimes we have to do hard things. As survivors, sometimes we have to leave or ask others to leave. There are times in our lives when we need to clean our own temple. Maybe we need to cleanse ourselves of anger, sin, addiction, and other side effects of trauma or abuse. But as we read in Matthew chapter 21, verse 14, after cleaning House, “the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.”
Take a deeper dive, and prayerfully read Matthew 21 with healing in mind (even if it is for the 42nd time).
12 ¶ And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,
13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.
14 And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.
15 And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased,
16 And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?”
The things of this world had surrounded the temple. The Savior said, “ye have made it a den of thieves.” It was crowded with animals and money, a smelly combination of barriers to the poor, the blind, and the lame. It was definitely not accessible.
I learned from David Butler and Emily Freeman that one of the first things he did AFTER he cleansed the temple was to bring in the blind, the lame, and heal them!
If I lived in the Savior’s time and had been subjected to the den of thieves surrounding the temple, would I have had the faith and courage to follow him into the temple to be healed? Or, would I have allowed my fear to override my faith and fled, rather than entering in and being healed?
My thoughts, as a survivor. There are places, people, and things that can trigger me or create anxiety despite years of work. I have learned that if I can’t find a path to healing, my Savior will make one. I just have to have the faith and courage to follow him and he will heal me.
Are there times in your life when you have felt the Savior clear the way on your behalf? Is there something keeping you from healing? Is there something you would like cleared out of the way? Have you asked for help?
As I read and thought about this moment in the Savior’s life, I recognized and realized there are places in my life that are still painful. I know, I need to work daily to clear away anything that keeps me from a place of healing with my Savior. I need to repent, have faith, and ask for His help. And if he clears it quickly, turns my life upside down and drives out the animals, I need to step back and trust that it is the best thing for me and He will be there to comfort me.
What does this story mean to you?
What hidden gems did you find in this story that I missed?