“And by his stripes we are healed. ” (Isaiah 53:5 )
Healing is a miraculous process, and yet we never seem to give thanks for it. It would sound rather humdrum, like ‘thanks for the maintenance’, no more than an afterthought. We glory in creation and if we are responsive to the Lord’s bounty we give thanks every day, but maintenance is generally considered to be rather menial although it keeps us going.
I am presently reminded of it as I am recovering from a minor foot operation in which a stainless-steel plate and eight screws were removed from my left foot. They had been inserted there three years previously, during a lengthy foot reconstruction, and had never settled comfortably in my flesh. Without them I feel liberated, though the scar makes its presence felt from time to time: mostly at untimely moments when I crave total healing. The worst aspect of feet is that they are forced to bear the full weight of the human being before they are ready. Not my favourite body part – we are not good friends.
Spiritual healing is even more demanding. As we examine ourselves, we inevitably stumble across an area of our lives that badly needs reconstruction and repair. We are obliged to act in the opposite way from what we have been used to although we have only damaged tools to use. We are, because we are human, operating within the limits of mediate good. The Lord does not expect perfection at once, but if we try, and ask for His lavish help, He will help us to heal and enjoy the happiness that He has designed for us. By His coming He has enabled us to be liberated from the tyranny of pain and evil ‘and by his stripes we are healed’. He has freed us to be healthy through the strengthening of our will and love. ‘Thank You for the maintenance’ comes naturally at last.
Editor’s note – today’s post was written by Lori Odhner and published as a Marriage Moat. Lori writes these messages and sends them as weekday emails as well as posting them on social media. Throughout the year ahead we’ll be sharing a few of our favorites.
There is a line in a song that I have wondered about.
“Unrevealed until its season, only God alone can see.”
It explores cycles, and emerging fruit as evidence of how God brings life from emptiness. The splendor of birth never gets old.
Yet there is another reason God tarries.
Before John and I were married we were both complacent about our tempers. Or rather, the lack of them. We had no occasion to get snippy as single adults which was proof that we were unflappable. We might not have been brash enough to say as much, but we thought it.
It turned out that anger was a very present danger, and I saw an aspect of my character that had been dormant. I had no awareness that it was part of who I was. God did. But He took His sweet time allowing me to find out.
It might be tempting to suggest that motherhood was the cause of my angst. But that is as much of an illusion as the notion of a sunrise. The orb of light didn’t arrive out of nowhere. It was me who was in the dark.
Uncovering my personal propensity to fury, or blame, or contempt is not a feel good situation. But ignorance as an excuse has an expiration date. There comes a point when I need to own up to my dark side.
Upheaval is more than an exercise in confusion. It is a chance to uncover ugliness so that we might choose otherwise. It was not that I had decided to be a calm person, pre babies. It was that no one had ever tested the tensile strength of my serenity.
My prayer as I step between the land mines that have been buried into the current landscape, is to disarm the bombs within me.
My mind has been travelling across ages and times just lately. History, place, other worlds, imagination, reality, things ephemeral yet real.
One of my mother’s oft-used phrases was ‘Time and space, time and space!’, spoken when the lack of both caused frustration in her busy life. Now that she’s in the next world, time and space are different – non-existent, even.
I’ve recently had a week’s holiday in Llwyn Celyn in Wales, pretty much in the middle of nowhere. This ‘medieval hall house’ was built originally in 1420 and has hardly changed since around 1690, though it was still inhabited until about 10 years ago. Then it was taken over by The Landmark Trust, which has restored it to how it would have been in 1690. Time and space became rather fluid for me there, gazing at the many honest repairs in woodwork, beams, doors, window frames, floors, stonework – pondering how human life has changed (or not) through the centuries. Early each morning, the only sounds were prolific birdsong and bleating sheep and lambs. The view from the front door was timeless – sweeping valleys and tall hills, bucolic in the early sunshine.
Through the evenings, I read The Little Prince to my 8- and 10-yr-old grandchildren. The little prince travelled through time and space, learning important things about people, and about what truly matters. ‘We can only truly see with the heart. What is important is invisible to the eyes.’
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29: 11-13
Tis the season for all sorts of moving forward. The weather is getting warmer. School years are coming to a close. COVID vaccines are inching many parts of the world towards a shadow of “normal.” I personally know lots of people who will soon be moving on to new jobs and homes—our family included. These times of transition always seem to tug the heart in two directions—looking forward to new adventures and the ache of what we will miss about the here and now. Leaving the familiar is always daunting, isn’t it?
In March, Tania Alden shared an article about the simple power of intentional gratitude and how it connects us to heaven. I’m finding that standing on the brink of a big move has me counting my blessings twofold. For months now, I’ve had a running list of people, places, and things that I will miss about our lives here in Toronto: