Thursday, December 30, 2010

true healing

I had an epiphany a couple of months ago, and I'm just now getting around to blogging about it.  One day I was praying, thanking God that He is faithful and just to forgive us when we confess our sins.  I was overwhelmed with gratitude that "God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)   Tears welled up as I thanked God for loving me, a depraved and foul sinner. I know that someone is probably reading this thinking, "Dawn is a good person, what could she have done to consider herself a depraved and foul sinner?"  But the truth of the matter is that we are all depraved and foul sinners.  We are the reason that Jesus suffered unfathomable disgrace and pain, not because we are great people, but rather because each and every one of us has a sinful heart.  My sins, my idolatry, my pride, my gossip, my lies, my wicked heart nailed the Savior of the world to a cross.  He came not for the righteous but for the unrighteous that we could be reconciled with a holy God.

As I was in awe of the grace that God has showered on me, I remembered a verse that has been widely misused.  "And with His stripes, we are healed." As a little girl, I heard that verse often.  Every single time anyone was ill that verse was prayed over them.  I became hesitant to pray that verse because I noticed that sometimes people were healed but not everyone was healed.  I knew God didn't play favorites but I couldn't figure out why everyone was told that they were healed by His stripes but not everyone received healing.  My epiphany came when I realized exactly what that verse means.  Because of the punishment of Christ, I am healed from my evil and sinful ways.  Because He was disgraced in my place, my heart can be whole and I can stand before a holy God.  His stripes took away my sin, His stripes heal my spirit, His pain heals my brokenness.  For the first time in my life, I actually got it.

And here is that verse in context, "Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." (Isaiah 53:4-6 KJV)  He bore our griefs and sorrows.  He was wounded for our sins.  The punishment for our evilness, He took upon Himself.  That is true healing!  That is the healing my heart rejoices in!

It has been an unbelievably rough year for me this year.  And to the dismay of some, I hold fast to my belief that God is much more concerned with our eternal salvation than our temporal comfort.  He may not choose to heal me from every physical ailment that plagues me.  But He did choose to heal me from a much worse ailment, a heart of darkness.  He choose to take my punishment.  This life here on earth is simply practice for the one to come.  He cares more about preparing us for heaven and making us holy than about making us comfortable.  Does Jesus physically heal?  ABSOLUTELY!  But our physical healing pales in comparison to our spiritual healing.  Sometimes His plan and His will declare that physical pain is avoidable; sometimes though, His plan and will declare that we need to trust Him even when He says "No" or "Not now."

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