Do You Want to be Healed?

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I suspect that we all have questions about healing.

We can all see the difference between those who appear to be healthy and those who are struggling with disease. Even little children can sense the distinction between justice and oppression. Almost all major religions try to speak a helpful word to those who struggle with human mortality and to point them to the hope of eternity. Today, we experience many gaps between where we live and experience life today and where God’s promised to take us in the future.

This week’s story is one of my favorite stories from the Bible.

Picture mighty Naaman, an “important” man who lived his life commanding others to do what he wanted them to do. Picture this same man carrying 750 pounds of silver and 150 pounds of gold across nearly 80 miles of untamed wilderness. And when Naaman gets to Elisha’s house, he expects something big to happen.

But we read that the prophet Elisha didn’t even come out of his house to meet Naaman.

And then, we hear this very human response from a man who expected the prophet to heal him. “I thought that FOR ME the prophet would surely come out!” Naaman says to those who were traveling with him. And, in those very human words, we can hear our own voices can’t we? Have you ever expected God to do something big and spectacular in your life? Have you ever asked God to ride onto the scene and heal a terminal disease, or give you something that you really wanted? Have you ever been disappointed because God didn’t do what you expected? That’s the beauty of this story.

We’re reminded, in the story of Naaman, that God doesn’t always bring healing into our lives in big and spectacular ways. God brings healing through the touch of doctors and nurses, and through the medications that we take. God sometimes brings healing into our live while we’re talking with a trusted friend, a professional counselor, or even a pastor. God fills us with strength and faith as we come to the Table to be forgiven and renewed by Bread and Wine – the Body and Blood of Jesus. God, sometimes, even helps us to bring healing into the lives of other people through the kindness, forgiveness and compassion that we extend to other people when they need it most.

At this end of this wonderful story, there’s a hidden gem!

Picture mighty Naaman, a commander of soldiers, walking down to the Jordan River to wash himself in the water. Naaman, undoubtedly, wore heavy armor. He wanted to look strong and ferocious in battle. He, also, wore his armor everywhere he went because a thick layer of armor also hides leprosy, doesn’t it? Can you imagine what would have happened if Naaman had just walked to the water – wearing armor? Can you imagine Naaman sinking like a rock as his armor dragged him to the bottom of the river?

As Naaman approached the Jordan, he needed to remove his armor didn’t he? Before Naaman could be healed, he needed to remove the armor that protected him from other soldiers in battle and from the eyes of those who would have been shocked when they saw his leprosy. And healing often begins in our lives when we do the same thing.

Sometimes, we need to remove the “masks” that we all wear before God can work in our lives to bring healing. How many times have you told people that you’re “fine” when you really weren’t? How many times have you carried burdens that you carefully concealed because you didn’t want other people to know what was happening in your life, or even in your family? Healing often begins when we become both honest and authentic with ourselves and other people. The “masks” that we wear aren’t always helpful.

Jesus once called us to come to Him when we’re heavy laden and nearly overcome. Jesus calls us gather with other Christians in a community of faith where we can be forgiven and strengthened, renewed and even healed.

What are you going to be doing this weekend? Perhaps, it’s time for you to push all of the busyness of life aside, for just a moment, and to find a precious place to rest with those who love you and who want what’s best for you? God’s calling you, right now, to set aside some time in the next few days; and to spend time with people who will strengthen, heal, renew, and help to make you whole again.

Please Click Here for This Week’s Message

Give Yourself (and Others) a Break!


Do you ever feel like there’s not enough of you to go around?

I begin my morning by reaching over and grabbing my cell phone off the nightstand, so that I can see what I need to do. I watch people running from place to place to place – trying to juggle their schedule at work with their commitments to their children, while trying to take care of aging parents as the grass on their front lawn continues to grow. I recently asked a group of teenagers, “How many of you would like to tell your parents that you just need to stop once in a while?” – and every hand at the table went up. How many of you have convinced yourselves that you’ll have all the time in the world to do the things that you want to do when you retire? But, what if you don’t have enough energy to do those things, or the gift of good health, when you retire?

This week’s message, “Give Yourself (and Others) a Break!”, calls us to stop and to think about the Sabbath. The Sacred Story tells us that God created the Sabbath after being busily invested in the all-consuming and exhausting work of Creation. The Sacred Story tells us that God created the Sabbath because we live in a world where we don’t allow ourselves to stop, and because we live in a world where other people don’t allow us to stop either. The Sabbath is a time to be filled and sustained with God’s gifts. God created the Sabbath as a time of healing – even though other folks don’t often think about the fact that we need God’s healing and restoring power in our lives.

But the Sabbath wasn’t just given to us. The Sabbath is also a gift that we can extend to other people. What would life look like if we began to realize that life is about more than an endless list of chores and obligations? What would life look like if parents began to realize that young people need to stop as much as they do – and if young people could see that their parents sometimes need to stop running, too? What would life look like if we began to realize that other people can’t always pick up the ball and run with it every time we decide that we don’t want to do something anymore? What would life look like if we built our society upon the premise that God has given the gift of the Sabbath to everyone; and that people who are working two, three, or even four jobs to make ends meet, need to be paid high enough wages to be able to stop and rest, too?

The Sabbath is a gift that allows us to break-away from our busy routines, but the gift of the Sabbath is also an issue of justice. “Observe the Sabbath day to keep it holy. On in you shall not do any work – you or your son or daughter, your male servant or female servant, your ox or donkey or livestock, or even the traveler who is within your gates – so that they may rest just as you do.” (Exodus 20:10-11)

Do you ever feel like there’s not enough of you to go around?

If you just answered “Yes!” to that question, you’re in good company. “The Sabbath was made for people,” Jesus once said (Mark 2:27). Don’t we all need to shift gears once in a while for the sake of our own health and well-being? Don’t we all need to remember that we live in a world where we can feel like there’s not enough of us to go around – because we never allow ourselves to step off of the running treadmill – and because we don’t allow other people to do it either?