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Sunday, February 5, 2017

Nothing Wasted, 7: Health Problems

"They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man's eyes was a Sabbath. Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. 'He put mud on my eyes,' the man replied, 'and I washed, and now I see'" (John 9:13-15).

Blindness or any apparent handicap was seen as a sort of curse from God. The blind man that John writes of in his gospel had been blind from birth. He had lived his life in the darkness of his condition. He had never seen the light of the day until the day he encountered the Light of the world. Jesus stooped down and gathered the dirt that caked and dirtied every foot and sandal that had journeyed those roads. Jesus took the very thing that was targeted by ceremonial washing to cleanse and purify and spat on it. He took "bad" and made it "worse." What religious leaders would do in Jesus' face, he applied to the dirt and used it as a salve. He placed the dirt and the spit, the wandering and the shame, onto the closed eyes of a man born blind. 

The man then had the responsibility of washing his own eyes. When he washed, he could see. Jesus had set him up for a healing breakthrough, but the faith of the man, partnered with obedience, allowed him to see what he had never seen before. When brought before the religious leaders who were dead-set at proving Jesus as a fraud and a heretic, the man once blind saw that what had been his ailment was turned into his access to share his story. What he had faced, where he had wandered, and the shame he had encountered, would not be wasted. He would tell his story that would pierce the hearts of many who would listen. 

I have always grown up in churches that, for the most part, believe in divine healing. Divine healing is the belief that God can heal beyond the intervention of traditional medicine. Where my faith has been challenged at many crossroads in my life, is when I don't see the answer to the prayers that have been prayed for healing to occur. Whether it be for myself and the ailments I have encountered, or it be for the emergency room visits with my son because of a potentially fatal allergic reaction, I have had opportunity to see God use what I could not understand. Every sickness, every injury, every surgery has been a time God has used in my life to show Himself in a way that I had not seen the same way before. It has been in those moments that I have become more aware of His ability to use the dirt and the spit in my life. He uses the dirt of my wanderings, my confusion, my lack of understanding, my striving for answers to make sense out of what doesn't make sense. He uses the spit of my shame, the feelings of inadequacy or weak faith when my prayers do not meet immediate answers or answers in the way that I had held expectation. He combines the two and places them on the very spot where I have needed it the most. 

He allows bad to appear worse and then gives me the responsibility of the next step. That is where I have found that I see Him the clearest! I will continue to trust Him beyond the dirt and the spit. He is Creator God, the author of every inch of my being, inside and out. He knows what ails, and has the power to heal immediately or to use that as access to show me more of Him so that I can show more of Him to others. There is nothing wasted when it comes to an encounter with Jesus. 

Lord Jesus, You came to take the pain, the sickness, and the shame from me and on yourself while being nailed to the cross. The curse of sickness has been broken. I thank You that You are the healer of my body and the healer of my soul. I thank You for this reminder that You are not limited in the ways in which You respond to prayers You knew about before they were ever prayed. I have faith that You can heal and I have faith in You when I don't see that healing in the timing I expect. I trust You beyond what I can see. And I thank You for the opportunity to use every moment of being "down and out" as a time to encounter You in ways I may not have recognized before. Thank You for using the dirt and the spit of my wandering and my shame. Thank You for partnering that which has caused confusion and doubt as part of my story of how You work all things together for my good and for Your glory. Help me to always see You at work when the process seems to go from bad to worse. Give me the strength to hold on, because I know that You are never letting go. Thank You Jesus for Your love, Your grace, and Your strength. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

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