A Jagged Contention: The God Who Wounds

Christianity has far too many voices that would have us believe in a God who doesn’t wound us. But God himself declares otherwise: “See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me; I kill and I make a live; I wound and I heal.” God knows that it is only in our weakness and woundedness that we simultaneously discover our own ineptitude and his healing power. Without wounds we foster an image of ourselves as strong and healthy.

But the hands that wound us—they themselves bear the stigmata of grace. Our Savior kills, but only to make alive; wounds but only to heal. He is conforming us to his cruciform likeness so that we see ourselves exclusively in his resurrection reflection. This is Christian growth: to become in our weakness more and more dependent on his strength, to seek in our woundedness more and more of his healing.

– Chad Bird, Night Driving: Notes from a Prodigal Soul, pg. 132-133


Why is it hard for us to conceive of a God who wounds and kill in order to heal and make alive? Why do so many theologies work against this concept? What do you make of the idea that Christian growth is simply growing more dependent upon God’s strength?

3 thoughts on “A Jagged Contention: The God Who Wounds

  1. It is the will of God.

    But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
    2 Corinthians 12:9‭-‬10 ESV


  2. I have read through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation several times in my life as a Christian, and I have found that the questions raised here have also plagued me for many years. The New Testament of the Gospel of grace is easier to understand than the Old Testament, with God’s alternating blessings and wrath displayed in ways my mind cannot comprehend. Theologians attempt to explain it all, but many times they do a poor job. So for me, I will just simplify things, resting in Christ, knowing that God remains inscrutable to us.


  3. I think the answer goes back to the garden, when our first parents bought the lie that “you shall not surely die”. We have embraced that and made it our own, so the idea of dying and death is naturally repugnant to the Adam in us. As for the idea of growth being nothing more than relying on God’s strength, it seems to me that we are now talking about believing the Gospel, Christ for us.
    Paul’s rhetorical question in Gal.3:1-5 is very helpful here.


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