It was in the desert that God first made the promise to be our healer. The Israelites had left Egypt, crossed the Red Sea and had traveled three days. No matter where they looked, they couldn’t find water. The people started complaining to Moses about it. Then suddenly, there it was. A body of water was before them in the town of Marah. They went to drink it, but it was bitter. After praying, God directed Moses to a piece of wood and told him to put it in the water. When he threw it in, the water became sweet. At that moment, God spoke in Exodus 15:26 and said, “If you will listen carefully to the voice of The Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, obeying His commands and keeping all His decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am The Lord who heals you (Jehovah Rapha).”
How fitting that they were in the desert when He made that promise. When we are in need of healing, we often feel like we’re in a desert. We feel alone. There seems to be no life. No hope. No place to get what we need to sustain life. The outlook is often dim. That’s usually where we need to be for us to fully trust God. It’s when we’ve reached the end of our strength, that we learn to trust His ability. Remember, it’s through our weakness that He is made strong. We must go to Him in prayer seeking the healing we need.
I’m not here to tell you that every time I’ve prayed for healing for someone that they’ve received it. In fact, I’ve lost loved ones whom I prayed and believed for God to heal. Does that change who God is or His ability to heal? Absolutely not. I can choose to let something like that poison the water of my soul and make me bitter like the waters of Marah or I can choose to let God put the wood of the cross in my soul and bring healing to me to remove the bitterness. Through the cross, Jesus is able to bring both physical and spiritual healing. It was by His stripes, given at the cross, that we are healed physically, and by His death that we are healed spiritually. His offer to you is to allow Him to apply that wood to your life how He sees fit. He will be your Jehovah Rapha.
Photo by Jussara Romão on Unsplash
Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.
After visiting the Pool of Siloam, I knew I had to read John 9 again. Jesus was walking down the street and saw a blind man. The disciples wanted to know who’s fault it was that he was blind. They believed that it was a punishment from God for a specific sin committed by the man or his parent. Jesus replied, “Jesus answered, “Neither. It happened to him so that you could watch him experience God’s miracle” (TPT). Jesus then spit on the ground, mixed it in some dirt and put it on the guy’s eyes. He then said, “Now go and wash the clay from your eyes in the ritual pool of Siloam.” For the first time in His life he could see.
We live in a cause and effect world. We like to find the reason behind things so that we can make sense of it. If we can’t make sense of something, we don’t know how to deal with it. I’ve learned that the things of God don’t always make sense. Why did Jesus have to spit on the ground? Why send him to the pool that means “Sent”? I don’t know, but I do know that we, along with the disciples, get to witness this man experience a miracle that was impossible for a man to accomplish. Even though he faced excommunication from the community, he put his faith in Jesus as the Messiah.
Just as Jesus was sent into this world, you and I are too. Our mission is to help others believe in Jesus. We are to help restore the spiritual sight of everyone we come in contact with. We are to bring light into this world so that others may see and give praise to God. Look around you today. You have been sent to the people you will come in contact with. Will your life bring light or leave them in darkness? Just as the man was sent to the Pool of Siloam, we should send people to the foot of the Cross for their spiritual, emotional and physical healing. When you do, you will watch them experience God’s miracle.
When I went through a devastating time several years ago, friends and family wanted to comfort me. Many offered up some phrases to try to help me. One was, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Another was, “Time heals all wounds.” My heart was broken and I was devastated. I couldn’t see past my pain to believe that one. Then, as time went on, things would trigger my pain and it would be as raw as it was before. I found that time didn’t heal my wounds, it simply helped to cover them up. At any given moment, I was susceptible to the wound being reopened and feeling it all over again.
Several years later, God spoke to me through an evangelist’s message that I needed to reopen the wound so that God could heal it. God then peeled back the layers that time had put over it. God began to do the work that had needed to be done. He brought about the healing that I needed. Psalms 147:3 says, “He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds [healing their pain and comforting their sorrow]” (AMP). I found that it’s God who heals all wounds, not time.
Every one of us have hidden pain that we’ve let time cover up. We believed the myth that time heals all wounds and we’re walking time bombs until we allow God to come in and bring the healing. The healing starts with a prayer asking God to come and heal the brokenness in you. It may require opening those wounds up again and sorting them out with Him. I’ve learned that when God brings healing, He doesn’t cover up the scars or make them go away. He then uses them to bring healing to other people.
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
Imagine that you woke up so sick this morning that you couldn’t go to work. So you call the doctor, but they tell you, “Sorry. We are having check ups for healthy people this week and aren’t taking any sick patients. We can fit you in sometime next week. Will Wednesday at 11:30 work?” How would that make you feel? Being sick, and not being able to see a doctor, would compound an already bad day. Yet situations like this happen all the time in our churches. Spiritually sick people walk through our doors and we put them off.
You and I interact with spiritually sick people every day. We come into co tact with them at work, at the store, at the park, and at the gym. We rarely interact with them, and if we do, we don’t always invite them to church where they can find spiritual healing. For those who do walk in our churches, many times we are too busy interacting with spiritually healthy people to notice or to say hello to them. It’s more comfortable to hang out with our friends than to introduce ourselves to a stranger who may be in need of the Great Physician.
I love the example Jesus set in Matthew 9. He was walking down the road and saw a tax collector stand. He walked up to it and said, “Follow me and be my disciple” (NLT). Immediately Matthew recognized he was sick, and Jesus was a doctor who could heal him. He then invited Jesus to his house and then invited a bunch of spiritually sick friends. He wanted them to get better as well. But the religious minded people couldn’t understand why Jesus would hang out with such people. In verse 11, they asked His disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?”
I love Jesus’ response. He said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor – sick people do.” It was a reminder to them (and us) that we have an obligation to help the spiritually sick of this world. Our goal shouldn’t be to get through this life without interacting with non-believers. We should want to interact with is many as we can. Why do you think the majority of Jesus’ ministry was outside the synagogue? He wanted to be where the sick and hurting were. Somehow we’ve changed from His example. We expect the spiritually sick to come to the church, yet when they do, we often ignore them. It’s time we remembered we were once sick too and needed spiritual healing.
What can you do today to bring spiritual healing to those you come in contact with?