Friday, March 16, 2012

Healed - Part 1 - A Lenten Meditation

"...And by His stripes we are healed."  (Isaiah 53:5, NKJV)

"Healed"...  Few words are more emotionally charged for those who have a special need in the family.  Being set free from the bondage of illness, chronic disease or disability sounds like a dream come true.  And all too often, we are smacked around by the words of Christians who want to assure us that if we had more faith, the special need in our lives would be cured or removed.

Lent is the perfect time to examine healing.  Why?  Because Jesus mission here on earth was centered on healing.  Examining that further may reveal something different than we expect.  

Let's hang out on the Bible passage in today's devotional.  It doesn't say "By the waving of His hand, we are healed," or "By His command, we are healed."  It says "By His stripes we are healed."  In various different translations, "stripes" is replaced by the word "punishment," "wounds," "bruises," or "scourging".  Each of these words point to suffering.  We are healed by suffering.  That seems contrary to human logic, doesn't it?

Every inch of agony Jesus suffered gains healing for us.  What does that healing look like?  Does healing look like all of our problems going away?  Does it mean that our mental health is perfect?  Does it mean that our kids are at an age-appropriate cognitive level?  Does it mean that disease disappears?  Certainly, God tells us that His power is made perfect in weakness. (See 2 Corinthians 12:9)  He also tells us that no servant is greater than their master.  (See John 13:16 & John 15:20)  Further, God even takes ownership by His Sovereignty in allowing deafness, blindness and being non-verbal to prevail.  (See Exodus 4:11)  And Jesus Himself proclaimed that a man born blind was allowed to live with that challenge so that the work of God might be displayed through him.  (See John 9:3)  Therefore, in light of God's own words, it is clear that the suffering of Jesus does not mean that we are always physically healed this side of heaven.  If He suffered, we will suffer, but it will result in something glorious.

Every wound, each painful scourging is evidence of his identifying with our sufferings and of his taking the punishment we alone deserve.  "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Corinthians 5:21, NASB)  His healing is more than the temporal remedy confined to life on Earth.  Jesus alone provides healing that allows us to be in Heaven, forever in the glorious presence of God, where "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There won’t be any more death. There won’t be any grief, crying, or pain, because the first things have disappeared.” (Revelation 21:4, GW)

Jesus' healing is a profound, incomparable healing!  No where else can you find healing like the kind described in Revelation 21:4!  As you contemplate what Jesus did during your Lenten season, spend some time basking in the matchless healing that is yours because of Easter.  Revel in the overwhelming gratitude and deep joy that can't help but flow out of that time of reflection.  And go forward proclaiming the awesome news that there is a Divine Healer who is on call for all who are willing to give him a call!

Pray:  Oh, gracious Jesus!  You are the Healer of all of our sorrows.  Thank you for the eternal hope you alone provide!  Help me to share the good news of all that you have done.

~ Barb Dittrich

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