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. – Psalm 147:1-3
Ever wonder where certain clichés and phrases came from? For example, when a person is struggling with an issue from their past they are described as carrying baggage. It seems an odd connection. What does a suitcase have to do with problems? I’m sure Samsonite and American Tourister are terribly pleased to promote their products with that link. But in spite of that, the more I began to meditate on this, I began to see an interesting connection.
Suitcases get used when we are leaving – when we are going away. There really isn’t another time in life when we need them. Emotional baggage has a way of symbolizing people who leave – not necessarily on a trip, but to leave something, someone, or somewhere because of what they are harboring inside of themselves. People leave jobs because they get fed up. People leave relationships because they are afraid. People leave homes to escape what they feel. People leave situations because they don’t know how to face them head on. And for each trip they pack their bags of hurt, fear, bitterness, shame, and guilt – making sure that they have those feelings with them for the next time so that the cycle is destined to repeat itself.
Notice how God does not find himself in those suitcases. Bitterness, shame, guilt, hurt, and fear are not the type of company He keeps. He tends to work more directly. Matthew 18 is the template that God gives us for problems. It doesn’t provide baggage because it doesn’t tell us to leave. It bids us stay, talk, work, and seek Him to resolve problems and to heal injuries – even old ones that we’ve borne for years. As the psalm says, He heals broken hearts, he binds wounds. But notice what comes before: “He gathers the exiles of Israel.” The bags are no longer needed – it’s time to come home.
May God bless you today and heal you. May He bring you comfort and help you to unpack your bags – whatever they may be. Know that I stand in agreement with you, and that I pray every day for you to know the fullness of God’s amazing love in your life.