Divine Healing?

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Each Sunday, as part of our gathering, we invite people to prayer where the Elders of our fellowship anoint them with oil, trusting God to bring wholeness, provision, and restoration. James directed those in need of healing to ask for this anointing.  That oil is a symbol of the Spirit. Receiving that anointing is an act of faith. It is a sacred moment in our liturgy for which I am thankful. But, what about that healing? What are we really seeking?

In my ongoing readings in Exodus, I came today to this text – God made a great promise to His people: “If you listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you.” (Exodus 15)  He revealed Himself as “Yahweh Rapha“- Hebrew that we translate as “the Lord, our Healer.”

Of particular note to me is the importance of our choices; that we have a responsibility to live in a way that facilitates wholeness.  Go back and read that verse again. If we abuse our physical frame with poor diet, lack of rest, unrelenting stress, drugs, alcohol, tobacco or other toxic things – are we right to blame God when health fails? The Lord made these bodies we enjoy with amazing recuperative abilities. Our immune systems are something of wonder. But, with neglect, we can destroy our health and God will allow us to reject wholeness.

Let’s not forget that warning that is part of Paul’s instructions for the Holy Meal of Communion: “For if you eat the bread or drink the cup unworthily, not honoring the body of Christ, you are eating and drinking God’s judgment upon yourself. That is why many of you are weak and sick and some have even died.” (1 Cor. 11:29-30, NLT)  When we take the Bread and Cup as God’s people, we accept a responsibility to live God-honoring lives. If we don’t, we invite God’s discipline, which is not punitive, but lovingly corrective.

Let me hasten to add this! It is both cruel and wrong to jump to a quick judgment of those who are suffering from some terrible sickness.  To conclude that every Christian who is sick or suffering is a sinner under God’s hand is to take the place of God on the Throne! Snap conclusions based on the observable ‘facts,’ can make us cruel judges.

Jesus’ disciples saw a blind man.  Making a common assumption of their time, they asked “Rabbi, who sinned: this man or his parents, causing him to be born blind?” (John 9:2)  There had to be some moral failure, except that there wasn’t! Jesus’ told his disciples to reconsider their judgment! “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins, he was born blind so the power of God could be seen in him.” (John 9:3) This is one of those texts that really stretches our faith, isn’t it?  Sometimes suffering serves to bring about the glory of God!  “Lord, I believe. Help me overcome my doubt,” I cry.

It is true that God can use sickness like a chisel that shapes us into the image of Christ. He may use suffering to call the whole to compassion and unselfish service. And, yes – the pain of the present pries our fingers from their tight grip on the things of earth and causes us to reach for the Hand of our Father in Heaven.

Healing is His promise and we will receive wholeness, if not today, it will be ours when our salvation is fully realized in His Kingdom. When His Kingdom comes, every trace of the Curse will be erased. John writes in the Revelation – “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.” (Revelation 22:1-2, NIV)

So, as we preach of Yahweh Rapha (The Lord, Our Healer) we do so with humility. As with all good gifts that accompany our ‘graced’ status as sons and daughter of the King, we receive healing with gratitude, rightly amazed that God would care for us with such tenderness.

Live holy, that you might live wholly.

_______

Healing Rain
(Michael W. Smith sings this praise)

Healing rain is falling down
Healing rain is falling down
I’m not afraid I’m not afraid
(REPEAT)

Healing rain is coming down
It’s coming nearer to this old town
Rich and poor the weak and strong
It’s bringing mercy it won’t be long

Healing rain it comes with fire
So let it fall and take us higher
Healing rain I’m not afraid
To be washed in heaven’s rain

Healing rain is coming down
It’s coming closer to the lost and found
Tears of joy and tears of shame
Are washed forever in Jesus’ name

Lift your heads let us return
To the mercy seat where time began
And in your eyes I see the pain
Come soak this dry heart with healing rain

And only You the Son of man
Could take a leper and let him stand
So lift your hands they can be held
By someone greater the Great I Am

Healing rain is falling down
Healing rain is falling down
I’m not afraid I’m not afraid (REPEAT)

Martin Smith | Matt Bronleewe | Michael W. Smith © 2004 Curious? Music UK (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing) Smittyfly Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing) Songs From The Farm (Admin. by Net More, Inc.) CCLI License # 810055

 

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