Monday, August 20, 2012

Do You Want to Get Well?

"Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed; save me and
I will be saved, for you are the one I praise." Jeremiah 17:14

Beyond the putrid orange-flavored cough syrup mixed with the stinging aroma of Vick's Vapo Rub®, winter sickness brought comfort. It carried privileges unlike normal days. Mom unfolded the hide-away couch and unfurled a freshly line-dried cotton sheet over the top, transforming our living room into our private hospital room. There we stayed, cocooned between fresh linen and her hand-sewed quilts, soaking up all the TLC she offered.

When health returned after a few short days, my heart questioned, "Do I want to get well?" The special attention, the comforts illness brought were hard to leave behind. Health threatened all this, even placed an unwanted responsibility of normal living back on our shoulders. It meant giving up our comfortable homemade cocoon.

Isn't it the same when we're soul-sick? We get so used to all the attention our tears or complaints afford that when we're led to pray, "Jesus take the pain away," we actually fortify our hearts against the Spirit's healing powers with disbelief and lame excuses. Or, maybe the pain creates a desperation and we cry out for relief, make God promises that when we're faced with them the next morning, our soul forgets, maybe regrets and soul-sickness never heals.

Jesus faced the cripple at Bethesda's healing pool; looked him straight through and asked the piercing question, "Do you want to get well?" (John 5:6 NIV) and the cripple made excuses. But Jesus accepted none and commanded him to pick up his mat and walk. His physical body healed and Jesus met up with him at the temple a few days later. This time He confronted his soul-sickness. "See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you."
It's hard to give up the comforts that sickness offers. Turning away from comfort goes against our nature, but God promises, if we turn towards Him, He has plans for us. Good and eternal plans, like He promised the Israelites long ago.

" 'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to proper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,' declares the Lord, 'and will bring you back to the place which I carried you into exile' " (Jeremiah 29:11-14 NIV).

Where are you today? Are you ready to shed your comfortable cocoon and step into God's promises for life outside it's shelter?

Father God,
We all enjoy the comforts of home, especially when we're sick. We love the attention our loving friends and family offer in those times, but we know we're not meant to stay there. Give us the desire and courage to ask for your Holy Spirit's healing powers within us, both physically and spiritually. When you ask us to get up, may we obey you without excuses and walk away from our soul-sickness into Your hope. Amen.

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