Monday, May 6, 2013

Who Said I Didn't Need Healing?

Who said I didn’t need healing?  That would be me.  Who said I needed healing? God did, and that should be enough.  Do you still need proof?  Don’t worry, I did too.  Let’s dispel this fallacy together as we look at the Word of God.    

Genesis: 15
After passing through the Red Sea the Israelites began their journey to the promised land, via the desert.  As we know, without water we can survive for only a short while.  Now, lessen that time by the fact that the elements of the desert exponentially increase our thirst.  Here God’s chosen and newly freed people are three days into the passage and are already frantically in search of water.  Their lips are parched.  Tongues are clinging to the roofs of the mouths. There is no ebb and flow of strength; it is only ebbing at this point. 

Just when things seem to be over, there ahead appears to be a pool of water.  Could it be real?  Could it be a mirage?  The only way for them to find out is to run to it and that they did.  It is each man for himself.  The weaker are left in the dust as the stronger plow through the sand to be the first to the prize.  Without missing a beat, the leaders cross the finish line and plunge their heads deep within the water.  However, it is the winners who are the losers in this race.  For what they expected to find was not what they discovered. 

The sweet, refreshing waters they anticipated are nothing more than an undrinkable, bitter liquid, too detestable to even swallow.  Mouths, by the hundreds, began spewing the bitter water out and cries of frustration immediately begin.  This water is bitter and not fit to drink.  Minds race as they ponder why God would deliver them from Egypt to allow them to die of thirst only three short days away from their former bondage.  They had just witnessed many miracles performed through the plagues and if that wasn’t enough, God Himself had parted the Red Sea for them to escape.  Surely, if He went to such great lengths to see them delivered He wouldn’t allow them to perish now. 

His intention was never to allow them to die in the desert.  His word tells us in II Peter 3:9 that “the Lord…[does not want] anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance”.  So, what was God trying to save them from?  Weren’t they just released from the oppressor?  Yes!  Hadn’t they been set free from a grueling and heavy bondage?  Absolutely!  However, God saw a need within them that they had yet to recognize.  So, the answer is simply, themselves.  He was trying to save them from themselves. 

In my prior post I stated that I had come to the realization that I needed healing not for what I left behind, but rather for what I brought out of my bondage, out of my abusive past.  The same was true even for God’s chosen people.  For over four hundred years they had experienced a grueling and severe bondage at the hand of what they thought was their allies and friends.  At least, that was the way it started when they first came to Egypt, but soon the “honeymoon” was over and the pain began.  Taskmasters, once kind neighbors, bore down upon them with whips and impossible demands. 

As the days, weeks, months and years drug painfully on, I am sure they asked many questions.  “Where are You, God?”  “Why is this happening to us?”  “Are we not Your children?”  “Why are You so long in delivering us?”  And the all-too-common question, “why have You forgotten/forsaken us?”  Yet, for over four hundred years they received no answer.  That is when the true devastation began to take place.  The Hebrews had spent many hours calling out to God wondering why they were allowed to trudge a path so dark, so painful and so humiliating and it was during this time that bitterness began to ever so slightly settle within them.  With each passing day it grew and was nourished by every blow inflicted upon their backs and their hearts.

We were disappointed that we had to go through such a horrifying ordeal.  We were angry, as God’s chosen vessels, to have to experience such degradation and brokenness.  What, you ask?  Why did you say, “we”?  You weren’t an Israelite, so what part would you have with their suffering?  Everything!  I asked those same questions.  I cried the same tears in anguish.  I waited years for the same deliverance that they called out for.  And I allowed that same seed of bitterness to take root within me. 

As glorious as that day was for both the Israelites and myself when we were finally set free, we packed an extra item in our luggage for the voyage out of bondage.  We brought our bitterness.  So promptly following our liberation, we are swiftly taken back at the first sign of trouble.  No water for the Israelites.  No money, no home and sheer loneliness for me.  Our damaged hearts recoil, feelings of neglect rise to the surface and old questions began to haunt us once again.  “Why have you forsaken us?”

While we may not have realized that we had packed our bitterness, God did.  And it is because He loved His Hebrew children, because He loves me and because He loves you, that He desires our healing.  God chooses to reveal Himself to us at our very point of need and that is what He did for the Israelites here at the waters of Marah.  The very name of the gathering of water in which they ran to, Marah, means bitterness.  Their need for healing was met at the pools of bitterness.  Can we assume coincidence, or do we chose to believe that our Sovreign God knows precisely what He is doing?  I chose to believe the latter.

Had God removed that bitterness from them at their time of deliverance, they may never have come to know Him as Jehovah-Rapha, God, our Healer.  They had experienced Him as Deliverer, but He wanted them to know Him as so much more. 

God instructed Moses to cut down a tree and cast it into the waters.  When he did the waters immediately became sweet and consumable and God proved Himself our Healer.  When we are finally delivered from the pangs and throws of bondage, abuse and neglect, we are relieved.  Yet, we are still tattered, torn, broken and confused and risk falling prey to the enemy’s lies telling us that God had and will continue to forsake us. 

We must push past the lies and run as swiftly as we can to the pools of Marah, allow God to expose the bitterness and other items we didn’t know we packed for the journey out of bondage, and drink of His healing water.  It is plentiful and knows no end.  He never forces us to drink, the choice is ours.  He patiently awaits. 

I clung to the bitterness and pain, nursing my wounds and basking in my victim-hood for a couple of years after my deliverance, but once I began tasting of His healing waters I wanted more.  Where I once sipped of it, afraid I would exhaust its contents, I have abandoned any formalities.  For I have found that the depths of my God’s healing are without limits and now I plunge into them, desiring not to miss a drop of healing He has for me.  I know there are still places and areas of my life that are in the process of healing, but I have surrendered them to my Father and He is working everyone of them in His time.  Which leads to the next fallacy that we want to dispel; healing is easy and quick.

Please note that healing is necessary for many things that we as individuals face in life, not just abuse.  We can become ensnared by bondages of many disguise; loss, rejection, drugs, alcohol, tragedy and so much more.  Nevertheless, the need is still the same, healing, and Jehovah-Rapha is still the answer. 

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