Not too long ago, I sang Healer in church.
I believe You’re my healer, I believe You are all I need. I believe.
And I do believe. This song has been a balm for me, and I have sang it many times through trials and tears. Ever since I sang it with the congregation at a great church in Orlando. Standing in pain – emotional, relational, and spiritual – while brothers and sisters all around supported the hurting by laying hands and singing the words that were then new and now dear. You hold my every moment, you calm my raging seas…
Not too long after encountering hope in that moment, I was led to the passage in Exodus where God defines Himself as the Israelites Healer. When everything around them was bitter and barren. There was no refreshment to be found in their environment. The circumstances were hopeless. Marah. Where they finally found water and their eyes were filled with hope! Only to taste and find that it was bitter. Sometimes what hope this world offers is a huge let down. Bitter. They grumbled against Moses. But he cried out to the Lord! And the Lord showed Moses a log that once in the water healed the water and made it sweet.
There the Lord made for them a statute and a rule, and there he tested them, saying, “If you will diligently listen to the voice of the Lord your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, your healer.” Exodus 15:25b &26
Sounds great, right? None of the diseases! Oh, how I would love to see God work in my life that way. To make it through the test, to follow all the commandments and keep all his statues, and to receive the reward of healing! And I often walk away from this text with that view. Okay Cara, just do what’s right, hold tight to the Lord, and he will heal. But sometimes I don’t, and he doesn’t. Often times I lose diligence and my hearing goes horizontal. I do what’s right in my eyes. And my prayers for help and healing turn circumstantial.
And that’s how it has been in my home recently. Circumstantial interruptions. We have one babe with RSV. He’s been sick since October 7th. He wheezes chronically. Multiple chest x-rays, countless nebulizing treatments, test after test. We’re on a first name basis with our nurse, and when I call to make appointments the staff recognizes my voice. We have to keep the little guy out of the general public for 6 weeks due to the contagious nature of his sickness. And then the doctor said that he must be out of nursery settings until spring to protect his health. From this January view, spring feels a long way off.
So I have prayed a lot. Many sleepless nights listening for sounds of breathing. Swinging thoughts from I believe to please just fix this.
And then another child got sick. His screaming shocked me awake. It was a night where the babe was sleeping peacefully – making it through the whole night without a need. But the other was in great pain and demanding comfort every 45 minutes. Finally my adrenaline kicked into high gear, and I laid awake even when he was calmed and sleeping again. My prayers became angry. The pain was too real. Too bossy. I didn’t realize that I had lost sight of the gospel, lost hearing the still small voice.
Instead of reviewing promises, I was rehearsing offenses. How could you let me hurt like this? Why don’t you show me you care? I forced truth into my mind, like You will never leave me or forsake me… But I felt forsaken. I felt lost in the pain. I thought hurtful things. Because if you don’t already know this – hurt people, hurt people.
In the morning, I just sat in stillness and pondered Jesus.
I wasn’t angry anymore. I wasn’t carrying baggage or burdens. I wasn’t trying to stick Baid-Aid promises to my pain.
Then I rehearsed the gospel. Jesus faced pain. Real, bigger than I can imagine pain. Relationship pain, rejection pain, sleeplessness pain, physical pain, brutal pain. He faced it all. He took God’s wrath so that I won’t have to. He redeemed my life from the pit. And here I am whining and stomping and demanding that he fix our bodies because I don’t like how they’re broken.
After thinking awhile about pain and anxiety and writing this post, realizing that I’m losing my faith over this, I finally regained perspective and made a faith-filled decision to fight. Stand firm and fight. It’s all the gospel. About the gospel, for the gospel, with the gospel, in the gospel. Life is worth living because of Jesus. That’s it.
And the log that turned my bitter circumstances into something sweet? I see it now. It’s the cross.
So, I don’t want to end with a conclusion that leaves you thinking, she made it! Because the truth is, today was a fight for gospel thinking too. We still have our pains and brokenness to deal with, and I fail in my thinking. But it was huge for me to stop trying to “promise think” my way out of pain, and go back to thinking of Jesus. Just begin with Him, and then knowing His promises make all the difference.