The apostle Paul wrote this in the book of Romans: "It appears to me that whatever we suffer now will show up only dimly when compared to the wonders God has in store for us. It is as though all creation is standing on tiptoe longing to see an unforgettable vision, the children of God being born into wholeness" (paraphrase by Macrina Wiederkehr, Seasons of the Heart).
This serves as a reminder that God is at work, even now, bringing healing to the world — for all of us. Consider now the ways that healing might have already started all around you.next >
But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent a message to the king, “Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come to me, that he may learn that there is a prophet in Israel.”
So Naaman came with his horses and chariots, and halted at the entrance of Elisha’s house. Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go, wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored and you shall be clean.” But Naaman became angry and went away, saying, “I thought that for me he would surely come out, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and would wave his hand over the spot, and cure the leprosy! Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them, and be clean?” He turned and went away in a rage.
2 Kings 5:8-12next >
Henri Nouwen called Jesus the wounded healer. I’ve understood this phrase to mean that our wounds and our faith coexist within us in a way that makes us better ministers to one another.
Naaman has enough faith to get him to the door of the prophet’s house. But Elisha’s bedside manner (or lack thereof) and prescription don’t meet Naaman’s standard of care. Should this mighty hero now schlep his way to the banks of the Jordan for healing? After making the journey to see God’s prophet, will his pride ultimately prevent him from gaining what he came for?
I don’t know what your leprosy looks like, but I have little doubt that something in you is wounded. I don’t know what your faith looks like, but I have little doubt that something in you is believing. What stands in the way of your path to healing and wholeness?
Valerie Burtonnext >
Merciful God whose will it is to heal and bless,
Let nothing stand in my way of receiving your gifts of wholeness and healing.
Remove my expectations and pride that I might open myself to all the possibilities you dream for me. Amen.
Paul also wrote this (in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10): "...but he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.' So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong."
Go now confident even in your weakness, in your sorrow, in your shortcomings, knowing that even in the middle of it all, Christ remains powerful within you.
Valerie Burton lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with her husband, Allan, their sons, Carter and Marshall, and dog, Byrd. She is the minister for Christian formation at Baptist Church of the Covenant. Life is good when there is coffee and a fire in the fireplace.
O Love How Deep