September 15, 2022
Jesus healed many people during his time on earth. But he didn’t heal everyone. Not even desperate men and women within a scant quarter mile of him, waiting for his supernatural touch. The first chapter of Mark shows Jesus performing miracle after miracle for great crowds of sick and diseased people throughout the day, and long past sunset. The next morning the needy crowds returned, but—where was Jesus? Simon and his companions finally found him, praying in a solitary place. But when Simon told him about the needy and disabled multitude waiting down at the bottom of the hill, Jesus replied,
Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.”
What? “Go somewhere else…”? Jesus would actually turn away from people who needed healing to preach the message of the kingdom? I remember feeling so stung by that realization. If physical healing wasn’t his priority, where did that leave me? In those days, most of what I wanted from Jesus was a quick fix for my pains, problems, and paralysis. As time went by, however, I began to see the bigger picture: Yes, Jesus cares about suffering, and spent most of his time on earth trying to relieve it. But that wasn’t why he came. This Man who healed sightless eyes and withered hands is the same Man who said, “If your eye causes you to sin, gouge in out. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off.” In other words, while physical healing might be a big deal, healing of the soul was even bigger.
That is when I began searching for a deeper healing—a Psalm 139 kind of healing.
Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
For more than half a century in my wheelchair, that has been my prayer. And God has been answering, exposing dark corners of my heart that still need his healing light. God is still searching, testing, trying…and leading me in the way everlasting.
Does the Lord care about our disappointments and pain? Of course he does! The apostle urges us to,
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Even so, he never promised to remove all of the hardships that we face. No, there will be times when he allows them, purposes them, permits them, and even ordains them for our good. His highest priority is not our comfort or temporary prosperity, but the healing of our sin-damaged soul. Sometimes that divine therapy hurts, feels uncomfortable, or seems inconvenient. But it is the very best plan for our lives, conceived by Someone who loved us ten million years before we ever came to be.
That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.
God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son.
Romans 8:28-29 (The Message)
There are no random events in the lives of God’s dearly loved, highly prized sons and daughters. Everything—even the most difficult things—will fit into a pattern for our good. He works behind us, ahead of us, beneath us, above us, and within us. No matter how we view ourselves, we are a masterpiece of his grace.
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