March 2020


“I am the Lord who heals you”

Exodus 15.26 (NRSV)

Just after Moses has led God's people Israel through the Red Sea out of slavery in Egypt, they are full of praise for God who had delivered them. But soon they are grumbling because they have no water to drink. Moses prays to God and is shown how to provide them with drinkable water. God makes a covenant with them that if they obey his laws he will not inflict the diseases on them that plagued Egypt: 'For I am the Lord who heals you'.

We all know that suffering is part of life. Scratch the surface of any human life and you will find suffering and pain and tragedy that has been or is being lived through. And yet we humans overcome and live and even thrive. As Christians we can know the fullness of life that Jesus promised to bring us. But part of that is in carrying our own cross and following him.

As I write I'm about to have investigations for an as yet undiagnosed condition which was caught before it killed me and is currently life limiting and restricting but not life threatening. I've spoken today to people about tragedy and suffering in life far beyond my own. So how can we make any sense of our God being ‘the Lord who heals' in the midst of such unresolved sickness and pain in our world?

Only a God who suffers with us can make any kind of sense of it all. Only a God who endured extreme undeserved physical, mental and emotional pain as Jesus did on the cross can help us to see that suffering is 'just' part of life. And God not only understands but suffers with us. As the Body of Christ as we suffer individually, so all suffer and Christ suffers with us. There is comfort and strength here - we never suffer alone.

And how can we truly know that Christ is with us in our suffering? We sit quietly and intentionally in God's presence just where we are and allow ourselves to: 'Be still and know that I am God'. Then as we experience God's presence with us we can truly know: 'I am the God that healeth thee'. And as we deeply know this truth we can respond with: 'In thee O Lord do I put my trust'.