(In 2017, I wrote this series for the 40 days prior to Easter to prepare our hearts and minds for the significance of Jesus’ resurrection. I’m reposting the series now for the 40 days after Easter to encourage us to follow through, living in the risen Savior and King.)
(written after one of my three major surgeries between 2013 and 2015) God willing, this is my first full day of healing in the hospital. If you missed yesterday’s devotional, “God wounds”, you can check it out to catch up on the details.
Healing takes lots of different forms, doesn’t it? Right now, there are lots of tubes sticking out of me. Some are feeding me with nutrients, fluids and medicines. Other tubes are draining fluids that could cause infection. Nurses are checking my vitals and pain management. Doctors are updating me on how things went and what may be coming next. My wife and a few pastors have begun to visit but probably not too much (one of my surgeons advised me that they would put me in ICU for several days – just as a precaution).
If you’ve ever been in a hospital, you know what physical healing can look like. But what does heart-level healing look like? In Psalm 103, God’s Word provides several specific aspects of deeper healing.
In verses 1-5, the psalmist, King David, starts by modeling that part of deep healing is our intentional work of praising God. He writes about forgiveness of sins, healing of diseases and redeeming from the pit either because he has been there or is there now. By the fact that David is telling himself to praise God, I suspect that he is hurting right now. But the Lord is healing him, too. By David’s focus on God’s commands and promises, what God has done for His glory and His people in the past, David (who is likely hurting now) comforts himself in his God.
Healing doesn’t mean there’s no pain. There’s no doubt that I’m still hurting in the hospital. But I’m not alone. And the ones who are with me are here for my healing. How much more should we focus on the One who heals our souls by His forgiveness and work to change our very hearts?
In verses 6-12, we see the next and greatest part of heart-level healing: constant focus on God’s greatness, especially His grace. God is pure, so He calls us to be pure in order to have a good relatioship with Him. But He extends His grace in order for us to be forgiven and changed so that we can begin to grow in purity. David also refers to God’s great patience and mercy to His undeserving people, Israel. But we can’t judge Israel, as if we would have done better. They are our examples to call us to faith in Christ to follow Him, not faith in our selves to follow our own desires. (1 Corinthians 10)
In verses 12-18, David focuses on the flip-side: our weakness. Yes, by God’s grace in Christ, we are His children. But we are children – not Titans. We are made of dust and like grass. Yet, the strong hope of children is in the strong love of their Father. And we must remember both His greatness and our neediness. Otherwise, we – like many children – grow up thinking that we can do all things on our own. Those who lose their child-like love of dependence on the Father and interdependence among His people, quickly fall back into their old sins, diseases and pits. Part of deeper healing is remembering from where we’ve come and our God who is bringing us home.
And lastly, verses 19-22 remind us that God is the Lord. He does all things for His glory, and He does them well. If He wounds His people, it is to bring greater and deeper healing. There is no part of His creation that does not bow to His will. Wherever His people are, whatever enemies surround them, He is there – ruling in sovereignty, wisdom, strength and love.