The healing touch

Day Two – The healing touch

I am terrified of the stomach flu. We sent our kids to school after homeschooling and the morning I walked out the school doors and left them in their classroom, my heart was heavy…but my mind! Oh man! All my mind could think about was the stomach bugs I was setting them up to bring home. (Maybe not my most endearing Mom-moment.)

But stomach flus come and go in a house of six with some amount of expectability. Every time we are done with a round, I sit myself down on our couch, exhausted, and fall into contemplation about the body’s amazing ability to heal. It really is clearly the work of God. White blood cells and helper Ts and all that good stuff raging a battle inside each of us. Pushing illness out, keeping some illness at bay, sometimes ravaged and putting up a valiant fight. Fevers and mucus and snot, all have it’s purpose. It’s quite miraculous.

And miraculous is always God at work.

The root of the word for heal in Ecclesiastes 3:3 is rapha. Maybe it rings a bell for you. Have you heard the name for God, Jehovah Rapha? God calls Himself this very name in Exodus 15:22-27. Let’s read:

Then Moses made Israel set out from the Red Sea, and they went into the wilderness of Shur. They went three days in the wilderness and found no water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water of Marah because it was bitter; therefore it was named Marah. And the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” And he cried to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a log, and he threw it into the water, and the water became sweet.
There the Lord made for them a statute and a rule, and there he tested them, saying, “If you will diligently listen to the voice of the Lord your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, your healer.”
Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees, and they encamped there by the water.”

Rapha in it’s forms can mean – to heal, a physician, to purify, to make fresh, to repair.

In this instance of Scripture, God heals by offering His people fresh water. There are so many theological connections here that my head is spinning, but let’s just sit with this: God offered His people a drink, and just like God He then overflowed their cup, in His own time, with 12 springs and 70 palm trees in an oasis in the desert of life.

Sister, where do you need rapha? Where do you need a Savior to meet you in the desert?

Psalm 41:4 points out that our primary need is healing from sin:
“As for me, I said, “O Lord, be gracious to me;    
heal me, for I have sinned against you!”

And Jesus offers us His healing, once and for all, His blood shed on a cross. Restoring our lives.

What else in life needs His healing touch?

Often our relationships need healing – relational tears, arguments, words spoken too quickly, drama that leaves us weary.

Often our hearts need healing – whether scars gaping wide or long closed, shattered hopes, dreams that have floated away.

Often some tapestry of our lives needs healing – a conversation that left us bitter, a loss of any kind, world weary feet, taking it one day at a time.

I love the stories of Jesus healing in the New Testament. They so often have a touch of the deeply personal. My very favorite is found in Matthew 8:14-17:

“And when Jesus entered Peter’s house, he saw his mother-in-law lying sick with a fever. He touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and began to serve him. That evening they brought to him many who were oppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.”

“He touched her hand…”
A completely unnecessary act. Jesus healed from miles away at times. He healed with words, with mud, with water. This time, Jesus healed with His hand, stretched out, like you and I have probably done a thousand times for a sick child or loved one in our life.

Jesus was in the business of healing. And while He healed, during His 33 years, in order to show His glory as the Son of God, I also think He healed because he cared. He healed because His heart hurt to see people suffering. And He healed to show us that this was His work. Maybe He heals differently than we would like sometimes, but He does tend to hearts long broken and scars in need of fresh air.

Jesus. Jehovah Rapha. Ever healing sin in repentance and the stuff of life in His Word, attentive to our prayers, gathering around His banquet table, drinking His fresh water, tending to our open hearts.

Dear Lord, only you know where each of us need healing. You, Lord, who came to Simon Peter’s mother-in-law and reached out. Lord, reach out to us and let us drink deeply of your mercy. Stitch up our hearts where there is need. Tend to our scars. Refresh us, and give us strength where we are tired. You, Jesus, are wonderful, gracious, Savior and ever True. In Your name we pray. Amen.
Discussion questions:
Where have you seen Jesus heal within your church or family?
What would you like to ask God to heal today? (For you or someone else.)

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