"Why have you stricken us so that we are beyond healing?"

As healers we must face the limits of healing.  Life and healing are a gift of God, and yet because of sin, He has set limits. Death itself is a limit to healing. We were created by God as the pinnacle of His creation, not designed to die.  Yet human rebellion against His authority caused Him to limit the extent of our lives, since He designed an eternity with joy, not rebellion.  He put into place the offer of new life through Jesus Christ. “So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.” Romans 5:18.

So it is good to be humble with our ministry of healing. I have seen many examples of healing, some miraculous and many ordinary. The human body is extraordinarily designed for healing, and God does answer prayer. Yet healing is not the final frontier; eternity is. Healing is one of God’s many good blessings on earth, and the Lord Jesus spent considerable time healing the sick, blind and lame. Yet there are limits. Only in the new heavens and new earth will we be able to say, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying; or pain; the first things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4.

How about communities?  Can they be stricken beyond healing? This is not a popular concept, as we cherish our health, comfort and prosperity so highly. While my whole life has been committed to healing, I would be foolish to promote a false security in healing itself. In my last post I wrote about Jerusalem’s fall to Babylon in 586 B.C.; it was completely and utterly destroyed. Here is a description of their religious prophets: “they are prophesying to you a false vision, divination, futility and the deception of their own minds.” Jeremiah 14:14.

I want to do all I can to bring healing to the nations, and especially to those who are marginalized. Yet there are limits to the deception, violence and falsehood that any community can be founded on. I don’t want to be discouraged or overwhelmed by those limits. But it would be foolish to not recognize them, speak about them, and call men and women to turn back.

Jeremiah did call for the people to turn back, but unsuccessfully. God said to him, “The people also to whom they are prophesying will be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and the sword; and there will be no one to bury them –neither them, nor their wives, nor their sons, nor their daughters — for I will pour out their own wickedness on them.” Jeremiah 14:16

I’m sure it is not politically correct to talk about pouring out their own wickedness. But just a scalpel hurts before it heals, so it is with the words of the Lord. He invites us to life and healing in Christ, not a life of self-absorption and deceit.

Jeremiah continues:

“‘Let my eyes flow down with tears night and day, and let them not cease;

For the virgin daughter of my people has been crushed with a mighty blow,

With a sorely infected wound.

If I go out to the country, behold those slain with the sword!

Or if I enter the city, behold, disease of famine!

For both prophet and priest have gone roving about in the land that they do not know.'”

“Have you completely rejected Judah? Or have you loathed Zion?

Why have You stricken us so that we are beyond healing?

We waited for peace, but nothing good came; and for a time of healing, but behold, terror!”  Jeremiah 14:17-19

What about you and I today? We are not beyond healing. There is a balm in Gilead, as I explained in my last post. We are touched by suffering and death. Yet our stricken condition can lead us to the healing balm. Christ was stricken for us so that we do not have to be stricken beyond healing. Have you received that gift of healing?

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Doctor, epidemiologist, husband, father, Christian missionary physician

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