My Lenten Journey – Days 20-25

Continuing my 2020 Lenten Journey- with personal thoughts and commentary by Martha McDuff Wiggins on the book “Lord I Want To Know You” by Kay Arthur.

Days 20-25
Jehovah-rapha, The God Who Heals

Everyone of us will need to be healed at some point in our life. It may be from the hurt and pain dealt to us by the words and/or actions of someone else; a friend, a lover, a spouse, or even someone we don’t know. We may also be hurt spiritually; lost in doubt, lost in hate, lost in sin.

By definition to be healed is to be restored to health. If we are physically ill we can turn to doctors for healing, but to whom can we turn when the healing needed is not physical?
There is only one answer, Jehovah-rapha, The God Who Heals.

Psalm 22:16-18(NIV)
“Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce my hands and my feet. All my bones are on display; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.”

Psalm 22 above foretells the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Jesus was surrounded by evildoers who ignored His Truth. They viewed Him as a threat to their corrupt and evil self-centered way of life. So they plotted against Him, arrange for His very public and horrendous death, and used it to prosper their own fortunes and power over an ill-informed public.
Besides your Salvation History, why do I mention it here with the name of Jehovah-rapha, The God Who Heals?
First, let’s look at His situation. He is surrounded by evil doers, plotting against Him, lying about Him, and using Him for their own personal gain.
Then, let’s look at some ways in which many of us may need to be healed.? All of the above situations might apply to your own situation in life if you:
-Are unhappy or unfulfilled in your work or workplace environment.
-Are in a loveless marriage or relationship.
-You suffer from self doubt, anxiety, or depression as a result of something said or done to you in the past or present.
-You suffer from some form of substance abuse, are in debt because of it, or have no money to pay and are wrongdoing to do so.
-Are being abused by someone and have no escape route, financially or family wise.
-Are sick with overwhelming grief after losing a loved one in death, divorce, or abandonment.
-Are in an abyss spiritually with no desire to go on.
-Are so drained mentally and physically that your life has no meaning.

That’s quite a list! And it is only a very few of the ways in which one may be in desperate need of healing. Everyone’s need is different, unique to their own personal set of experiences and circumstances. Things such as those listed above cannot be completely cured or fixed by a human physician or healer. They are too deeply rooted. The problem is not just physical, it is soul deep. It requires a God Physician, it needs Jehovah-rapha, The God Who Heals.

Remember, the definition of ‘to be healed’ is ‘to be restored to good health’. In Exodus 15:26 we hear that health and healing share a direct relationship with obedience:
“If you listen carefully to 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.”

This is yet another of those hard to hear statements from our LORD. He admits that He intentionally sent plagues, famines, etc.! He admits He brought terrible suffering to His people. He brought them to their knees. We know He works all to the good of all who believe in Him, so why would He deliberately make us suffer?

The opposite of obedience is disobedience, aka, SIN. We see over and over again in the Bible that disobedience, sin, leads to great pain and suffering, whether it be an entire nation or people, or a sole individual.
We might very well determine that all sickness is caused directly by sin.

In the study book we read that if man had not sinned in the very beginning (think Adam & Eve) there would be no sickness at all. They were created to live happily forever in health and obedience, but they chose to disobey God’s only ‘NO’. They were banished and told that during their  lifetime, they would now labor hard, suffer greatly, and die; all as a result of their disobedience.  In that sense one could say that all sickness results from sin, from man’s original sin. That is Truth, but painted with a broad paintbrush. The suffering we see in so many lives, caused by Cancer(or some other illness), is not necessarily a direct result of, or connection to, a sin they or their ancestors committed.

My take on it?
Think death. We are born to die. We will all leave this earthly life at some point. And, It will be in His timing, for He calls each of us to Him according to His Will. Sometimes there may be a warning, such as a long term illness; sometimes it may be quite abruptly, through a heart attack or an auto accident. Why then does a disease such as cancer cause such suffering? Why is there suffering not related to sin? Why must anyone ever suffer?

For our answer to these hard questions we must look to Jesus Christ. He suffered, died, and was buried, before He was Resurrected. Now, I could just leave it all right here, saying ‘nuff said’. I won’t though, because, the point I really want you to understand is that before there can be total healing, there must first be suffering. Healing comes after suffering.

It is there over and over throughout The Bible, in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.  First there is pain and suffering, then healing and rejoicing. Yes, some Bible stories show a direct correlation to the sins of an entire people (think Egypt with plagues and famine), while some seem to have no direct connection to sin (think the death of Lazareth, who became ill and died, only to be risen from death by Jesus, that the LORD be glorified (John 11:4).) These are two very different examples, indeed, yet both show how suffering comes before healing.

We can definitely see when we choose sin, we choose suffering in some form or another. We can also understand how even in obedience there may be suffering connected with our death, as we must die. And, we now know there is the way of suffering that comes to us for no other reason than to bring glory to the LORD.
Each of these different situations with very different types of suffering, are to place us in need of healing; a way to bring us each to our knees in need of our LORD.

So, where do you run to when you are desperate to be healed? To Whom? If it isn’t Jehovah-rapha, you will find no healing balm, no relief from the dogs and villains of this earthly life encircling you. There is only One who has the real power to heal you. Run to Him, call upon Him in your day of distress. He is tender and merciful. His name is Jehovah-rapha, The God Who Heals.

Mental action to facilitate your Lenten Journey:
Do you have suffering in your life? Do you wonder why you? Or, why your particular type of suffering?  Try examining it. Ask yourself if you think it’s because of sin you are living in, or is it suffering to be used to bring Him glory? Either way, what is your next step?

Further action if so inclined:
There is a song by Paul McCartney entitled, ‘I Don’t Know’.  It’s about a man feeling the pressures of this life, but reassuring his love that he will keep the world and its troubles away from her.

The first time I heard the song I liked it because it’s beat end words were very different from what I’m used to listening to. The next time I heard something more. I heard a man calling upon his God in his day of distress, and (in the chorus) I heard his God answer him. I heard Jehovah-rapha, The God Who Heals.

The lyrics are below. After reading them through, if interested, find the song on You Tube or wherever you stream music from. Close your eyes and listen. I’d LOVE to know your thoughts!

I Don’t Know
By Paul McCartney
(From the Album – Egypt Station)

I got crows at my window, dogs at my door
I don’t think I can take any more
What am I doing wrong? I don’t know
My brother told me, “life’s not a pain”
That was right when it started to rain
Where am I going wrong? I don’t know

But it’s alright, sleep tight
I will take the strain
You’re fine, love of mine
You will feel no pain

Well, I see trouble at every turn
I’ve got so many lessons to learn
What am I doing wrong? I don’t know
Now what’s the matter with me?
AnI right? Am I wrong?
Now I started to see
I must try to be strong
I try to love you best as I can
But you know that I’m only a man
Why am I going wrong? I don’t know.

But it’s alright, sleep tight
I will take the strain
You’re fine, love of mine
You will feel no pain

I got crows at my window and dogs at my door
But I don’t think I can take anymore
What am I doing wrong? I don’t know
Now what’s the matter with me? I don’t know, I don’t know
What’s the matter with me? I don’t know, I don’t know
What’s the matter with me? I don’t know, I don’t know

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