"The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps." (Proverbs 16:9 ESV)
Healing is a journey. Though we all perhaps wish healing simply consisted of having the right answers, life consistently reveals there is more to the process than just knowledge. The path of healing is inconsistent. It isn’t the same for everyone. Although there are general markers along the way, healing for each person is a journey as unique as they are. Frankly, this makes our job as counselors more difficult.
How much easier would it be if the path of healing for each person was the same! This would allow us to lock down the formula for healing and distribute it to our clients with efficiency and confidence. Our job would become routine and predictable, and we would know if healing was not happing in our client’s lives it was because they had failed to properly apply the foolproof formula we had so graciously given them. Alas, this is not the case.
One of the main wrenches tossed into this scenario is the fact that from a biblical perspective healing isn’t always the goal. In fact, at times immediate healing can be unhelpful robbing the individual of the type of development and growth that can only be acquired through long suffering. Healing is good, but the pacing of the healing is as important as its completion. This is not to say that God doesn’t deeply care about our healing. He does. He has promised to one day deal with every bad thing and to fully heal us once and for all. However, in this life our ongoing pains and problems are purposeful and part of God’s plan for forming us into the image of Christ.
We as counselors are, by God’s grace, guides for our clients in this life and as such are called to help our clients plan and prepare for what’s coming. At times we will need to help them see and scale the mountains they have been avoiding and at other times we will have the joy of leading them along gentle hillsides and still waters. Regardless, our job is to help our clients trust the One who holds their journey in His hands. He has prepared each pebble and path along the way, and He invites us to step forward in faith knowing He goes with us.