So much in the world today telling us what will make us happy and content. Even in the church. Some of it is true, some of it isn't. Just as you shouldn't just swallow whatever the world tells you as the real deal, beware doing that in church.
Don't go to church? Well, there's many proclaiming many things in the name of God. Evangelists, Aunt Sally, Fred at work. And if you are a Christian you should be proclaiming! Proclaiming the Good News of salvation in Christ through repentance and faith. It's the best message to ever hit the world.
But what I have to say today is for the hearers. The hearers of the Word. Does the word tickle your ears. Has it always made you feel all warm and fuzzy inside? Has it only made you happy and excited? Has it had you yawning? OR has it ever cut like a knife in your soul? Made you squirm? Caused you to shed hot tears for things you had done? Put thoughts of regret and remorse in your head?
If you have never felt any of the latter, you may not have heard the REAL Word. Because the real Word not only tells the story of God's great love for us, wonderful miracles and inconceivable comfort; it tells of the depravity that lies within all of us, how humans return to what hurts them like a dog to it's own vomit and the way that always ends in tragedy and torment.
How do you know if you have heard the real Word? Test it. Test it by reading the Bible, knowing the Bible, understanding the Bible. God doesn't go around adding to or subtracting from the Bible. He doesn't contradict Himself. If it doesn't line up with the Bible, don't believe it. Don't listen to it. Don't sit under that teacher.
Last Sunday in church, one thought kept recurring over and over in my brain. It had nothing to do with the sermon topic, which was priorities. That thought, that sentence was this: I may not heal you, but I will make you whole. Well, I've muddled and puddled around and contemplated and prayed wondering what does this mean and what do I do with it. I found several applications that hit close to home, and along the way I felt compelled to share a broader application with you.
The Jesus in the Bible has compassion, heals the sick, raised the dead. He was bruised, beaten, whipped, wounded and crucified in our stead. Then He resurrected beating death, the grave and hell FOR US!!!! He now reigns with all power and authority.
Many are sick and ill. Many are seeking and getting all the medical care that they can. Many are praying for healing and have many others praying with them. We should do what we know to do medically to get better. Warm oil was applied to the sick in the Bible because it was comforting and soothing. They didn't have much more medically to rely upon. And we are told to go boldly into the throne room (Hebrews) with our prayers and petitions, sure that He hears, cares and answers. Trusting the Holy Spirit to intercede for us in accordance to His will. And He does still often respond with compassion, healing and miracles!
But not always. Sometimes compassion can't come yet because the work of the problem is not complete. Sometimes we have to get miserable enough to realize we have other issues and needs. (Like the prodigal son in the hog pen.)Sometimes we have to be driven to the point of turning those over to Him as well.
Sometimes healing does not come. NOT because He can't . NOT because He doesn't care. NOT because of a lack of faith. But because it is not His will. He has a broader view, a different perspective. Where has there been more faith than that which rested in The Apostle Paul?! He was not healed. He had an affliction and prayed faithfully about it and God chose not to heal him. Did Paul turn away from God or stop trusting him? NO! Did he understand what God's reasons were? In part, but not fully.
Miracles still abound if you have eyes to see them. But the biggest miracle of them all is a Holy, righteous God bringing sinful, depraved, wretched people to himself!! The reworking of the heart and minds of those who recognize their sin and their need, repent of and confess their sins and ask Jesus to extend His grace unto them. This was Christ's main mission upon the earth!! The compassion, the healing, the miracles were to demonstrate the love of God THAT YOU MIGHT BELIEVE.
To restore our fellowship with God. To save our eternal souls. To begin transforming us that we might always have fellowship with God. To make us WHOLE. To God the emotional, physical, mental and spiritual are all important. But the Spiritual has to be mended first! And NONE will be complete, will be WHOLE until we are in Heaven.