This is a post on healing. Before I begin, I must admit that I have been struggling over the last week. I found out that a dear friend of mine is battling pancreatic cancer. The odds are not good.
So I have been clinging to these truths:
We serve a God who has the ability to heal.
We serve a God who loves us deeply and wants the best for us.
We serve a God who made us perfectly and wonderfully.
We serve a God whose ways are higher than our ways.
EVEN WHEN WE ARE TEMPTED TO BELIEVE OTHERWISE.
We serve a God who has given us victory over death. With that said, one way or another, we will claim victory over any diagnosis, be it on earth or in heaven. But we don’t get to choose. God does. The only choice we have in the matter is whether or not we will trust Him and continue to follow Him even when we don’t understand or agree with His plans for us.
Of course, my prayer is that this friend would be healed on earth. I know God can do it. But if He doesn’t, it won’t be because He turned His back , or made a mistake, or proved Himself unfaithful, or is unloving, or is a untrustworthy.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9, NLT
It will be for a reason we will never know or understand on this side of heaven. But it is not our job to understand. Should we question? I don’t know how we wouldn’t. Should we wrestle? Absolutely. But at the end of the day, it is our job to trust and surrender, believing that God knows what He is doing; that He doesn’t make mistakes. And if we know Jesus Christ as our LORD and SAVIOR, we can rest in knowing that the best is yet to come.
That is where I am at with my processing of this horrific news.
But miraculous healing does happen for some and our “Wait. .. what?” moment today describes a miraculous healing that did happen on this earth. Turn with me to 2 Kings chapter 5.
Naaman, a commander of the army of Syria, was highly favored by the king
because by him, the LORD had given victory to Syria. (v. 1)
However, there was one problem: he had leprosy, a long-term infection that wreaks havoc on your entire body. It impacts the skin by forming lesions. Eye sight can be severely compromised. Numbness, however, is the biggest issue with this infection in that a person with leprosy looses all sensation in their hands, feet, and face. Because of this, amputations are not uncommon because of injuries that go unnoticed due to lack of pain. Obviously, this was devastating for Naaman, not only on a personal level, but also on a professional level.
A young girl, who was taken captive from Israel during a Syrian raid, was put to work for Naaman’s wife and says something one day that gets the attention of not only Naaman’s wife, but Naaman himself as well as the king of Syria:
I wish my master would go to see the prophet in Samaria. He would heal him of his leprosy. (v. 3, NLT).
The ESV version describes this girl as “little.” We can assume there was desperation for healing because all too often, young people’s words gets brushed aside without much thought. But not in this case. This little girl offered such hope that in no time at all, Naaman had his bags packed after the the king of Syria said
Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel. (v. 5, ESV).
So with a load of the king’s cash (in the form of silver and gold), ten changes of clothing, and a letter from the king, Naaman heads to Israel, clearly ready to spend whatever time and money is necessary in order to be healed. But the king, upon reading the letter sees this as a war threat because, of course, he was not able to cure Naaman’s condition.
Then Elisha, the prophet, comes along. This man is all about making it known that there is a living and active God in Israel who does the impossible. He tells the king to send this hopeless man to his house. When Naaman arrives, instead of being greeted by Elisha, he is greeted by a messenger who simply delivers Elisha’s command,
Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean. (v. 10, ESV).
Perhaps, he felt disrespected that Elisha did not greet him. Perhaps he was put off by the idea of washing in the Jordan River. If it were this easy, he could have stayed back in Aram, his land, and washed in either the Abana River or the Pharpar River. All we know is that
he went away in a rage. (v. 12, ESV).
But his servants, who had traveled to Israel with him, pleaded that he give it a try.
My father, it is a great word the prophet has spoken to you; will you not do it? Has he actually said to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’? So he [Naaman] went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God, and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a child, and he was clean. (vv. 13-14, ESV).
Wait. . . . what? Seven dips in the Jordan River and he was cured?
Yes. But something else happened that was far more important in the grand-scheme:
Naaman understood that the God of Israel is the true God.
Here are some take-aways from this story:
- The LORD uses the most unlikely of people to be a part of His stories. He used a little girl to get Naaman’s attention, he used Elisha’s messenger to humble Naaman, and he used Naaman’s servants to encourage him to do what the prophet said.
- The LORD will use our desperation to reveal Himself. The word “Go” was used several times in this story: “Go to the king of Israel.” and “Go wash yourself in the Jordan.” Both of these “Go” commands led Naaman to experience GOD. The end result of the “Go” for Naaman, was his realization that the God of Israel is the real deal. And God knew that healing would turn his heart. Between the two outcomes, healing was the runner-up. Knowing that God is living, active, and involved was the BIGGEST outcome.
- The LORD’s ways are right; we need to obey. Naaman would not have been healed if he would have stormed back to Aram and washed in a different river. He needed to obey the command given to him by Elisha, who as a prophet, was getting direct downloads from the LORD. And in order to obey, Naaman needed to show humility.
This verse keeps coming to mind as I write this post, so I am going to end with it. Jeremiah 17:5-8 (NLT) says:
This is what the Lord says:
“Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans,
who rely on human strength
and turn their hearts away from the Lord.
6 They are like stunted shrubs in the desert,
with no hope for the future.
They will live in the barren wilderness,
in an uninhabited salty land.
7 “But blessed are those who trust in the Lord
and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.
8 They are like trees planted along a riverbank,
with roots that reach deep into the water.
Such trees are not bothered by the heat
or worried by long months of drought.
Their leaves stay green,
and they never stop producing fruit.
Our trust and hope needs to be the LORD; not humans. Our flesh may fail us, our organs my shut down on us, but our GOD has made a way for us to have abundant life forever, and ever, and ever. Healing is guaranteed. And if not on this side of heaven, then most certainly when we meet Him face to face.
May your roots dig deeper, Mustard Seed Girls, into the rich soil that He alone offers. For when those roots are deep, you can count on nourishment even in the hottest of days or drought-ridden seasons. I pray for your heart to continue to be cultivated by the LORD himself.