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.

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Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man and in high favor with his master, because by him the Lord had given victory to Aram. The man, though a mighty warrior, suffered from leprosy. Now the Arameans on one of their raids had taken a young girl captive from the land of Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “If only my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” So Naaman went in and told his lord just what the girl from the land of Israel had said. And the king of Aram said, “Go then, and I will send along a letter to the king of Israel.”

2 Kings 5:1-5a

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“Hope changes everything.” This was World Vision’s slogan several years ago. World Vision works on behalf of the poor, sick, and hungry all over the world. They know the power of giving hope to the hopeless.

So did the apostle Paul. He wrote to the Romans: "This hope is what saves us" (Romans 8:24a CEV). Do you have to be a non-profit agency, or the President, or a preacher to offer hope to the hurting?

In today’s scripture, it’s not a physician or a prophet who gives words of hope to the great Syrian hero Naaman, but a compassionate young girl from Israel. God employs the least likely person in the story to be the bringer of good news. The message she brings, that healing is possible, is enough to send Naaman with a request to his king. He wants to go into enemy territory to visit the prophet of Israel. Hope changes everything.

Valerie Burton

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Let there be enough hope for today. Help me hope for what I can’t yet see – healing for the sick, peace for the frightened, rest for the weary. Present opportunities to share this hope with those who need its power in their fragile lives. Let there be enough hope for us all. Amen.

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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

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

Nathan Hanson

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