“Have mercy on me, Lord; heal me, for I have sinned against you.” (Psalm 41:4)
This request for God to heal David occurs in the later psalm above, although it could be possible that it was around the same occasion. The word “heal” though is not actually used in Psalm 38, but it is certainly implied, considering just what poor health (see previous Posts) the psalmist was in. I’m sure that the words he spoke, Lord, do not forsake me; do not be far from me, my God. Come quickly to help me, my Lord and my Saviour (verses 21-22) included his desire for healing.
Have you ever experienced the sense that you needed God’s intervention in your life (or of that of a another) to bring some sort of healing? Maybe you need it right now! Of course, in these days, due to advances in modern medicine, there is so much available to bring healing, but, for various reasons, it is still limited. If not, then why are over 100 people dying on earth every minute? Among the top 10 killer diseases in the world are heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and infectious diseases. Availing ourselves of modern medicine is vital (if it is available in our country), but sometimes it is not enough. God uses medicine to bring healing, but sometimes he intervenes in a supernatural way. My family and others we have known have experienced God’s healing in this way.
Phil Moore in his commentary on this Psalm says, “God likes healing people a lot…we need to learn to worship God as he really is…[and this truth is an] unchanging aspect of God’s character…the Lord is God the Healer.” He continues, “Jesus heals people on just about every page of the gospels. The apostles follow suit in Acts. But God has healed enough people by the time of David for him to have grounds to tell Israel to worship Him as their Healer.” (# 36)
In fact, these were God’s words to the Israelites after he had delivered them from Egypt:
“If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.” (Exodus 15:26)
Then in the context of having “patience in the face of suffering”, James in the NT reminds us that the “Lord is full of compassion and mercy” and then says:
Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up…The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. (James 5: 10, 11, 13-16)
Now, of course, we all know that, ultimately, we will still die, even if God heals us for a time. For that day we need to be ready!
In the Gospel of John chapter 11, we read the story of some friends of Jesus. Their names were Mary, Martha and Lazarus. We discover that Lazarus was sick. And so the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.” But on his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days… When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him…“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
Jesus then does a remarkable thing. He prays and then raises Lazarus up from the grave!
Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. (John 11)
Jesus not only can heal, but also raise the dead to life again! Jesus is our only hope for this life and the next. “Do you believe this?”
Father, thank you that you are “God our Healer” and in this life you desire to bring healing to us. But, even more, you sent Jesus to live, die and rise from the dead so that we might not fear death but in him experience resurrection for all eternity. Amen