Saturday, December 20, 2008

"risen with healing in his wings"

"'this is what the LORD says:
"your wound is incurable,
your injury beyond healing.

there is no one to plead your cause,
no remedy for your sore,
no healing for you.

all your allies have forgotten you;
they care nothing for you.
I have struck you as an enemy would
and punished you as would the cruel,
because your guilt is so great
and your sins so many."'"
(jeremiah 30.12-14 tniv)

hello. my name is melanie and i am a hypochondriac. at this moment, i'm trying not to think i have cancer that has spread from parts of my body into my lungs. if i don't have cancer, i may have emphysema or pneumonia (which you know bernie mac died from recently). i know i have a problem. maybe someday someone will create a cure for this illness i know i have.

even though i have these worries, i hate going to the doctor and put it off as long as absolutely possible. what i hate about going is that i feel like they can never really identify what is wrong with me. i want medicine to be an exact science: symptom a + symptom b equals this illness. take your medicine for 5 days and you will be well. but that isn't how it works. more often than not, they have some suggestions of possible problems which may or may not be the case.

when we read jeremiah, we get an exact diagnosis of a problem. the sin of God's people is so great, there is no healing available. we think life is rough now; add up israel's problems: no one can heal their sin problem; their allies have turned against them; and even God is acting against them as an enemy would. they were in a pretty sorry state at this time.

enter Christ. he comes to reveal God to us, to teach us how to live in a way that honors God, to die for our sins and bring healing to us spiritually and physically. Jesus is the cure for our illness.

the way that God's people are described in jeremiah is the way that we need to describe ourselves. we cannot find a cure for our illness apart from Christ. when we celebrate the birth and arrival of Christ on earth, we can celebrate God providing the means for our healing from an otherwise incurable illness.

"for this is what the high and exalted One says—
he who lives forever, whose name is holy:
'I live in a high and holy place,
but also with those who are contrite and lowly in spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly
and to revive the heart of the contrite.

I will not accuse them forever,
nor will I always be angry,
for then they would faint away because of me—
the very people I have created.

I was enraged by their sinful greed;
I punished them, and hid my face in anger,
yet they kept on in their willful ways.

I have seen their ways, but I will heal them;
I will guide them and restore comfort to them,

creating praise on the lips of the mourners in Israel.
Peace, peace, to those far and near,'
says the LORD. 'And I will heal them.'"
(isaiah 57.15-19 tniv)

for the kids: talk about how they have felt when they are sick. what are some things your family does to help get over an illness? do you take medicine? go to the doctor? use some home remedies? talk with your kids about how our sin is like an illness. Jesus is the cure of our illness. he accomplished our healing through his life, death and resurrection. for a project, make a band-aid out of felt or craft foam. get as creative as you like with this!

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