He was wounded for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His stripes we are healed.

Isaiah 53: 5

When we are sick or injured it is not at all hard to accept the idea that somehow it could all be made better. Whatever the cure, if the pain is severe enough, we are usually willing to accept that cost in order to be whole again. Some of these health concerns just improve and go away with the passage of time. Others require the skillful care of doctors or even extreme medical procedures in order to get them under control. There are still other situations where we will live with the illness or the disability for the rest of our lives; finally, some conditions end this life. In each of these situations, the person who is suffering and those close to her desire some form of healing.

Underlying all of these illnesses is a more fundamental and a deeply profound form of brokenness. This is that fatal rogue gene that was introduced into the DNA of our world through the selfish desire of our ancestors to take full control, to “be like God”. Just like all other challenges and struggles in this life, our physical pain and disease serves one great purpose. Although it is not caused by God, it can serve to bring us closer to Him. God responds in love and compassion when Satan attempts to cause us to focus our attention on ourselves by filling us with the fear and the anxiety that comes naturally when we are sick or injured. Christ speaks into these troubled times with a voice that assures us that He has been there before us and that He is here with us in and through it all.

Whatever pain we may be feeling, Christ has endured in twenty fold. However doubt and concern may cast their shadows across our hearts, God’s Word responds in abundance. From that dark and catastrophic day at the beginning of history when humanity’s suffering and separation from God was conceived, God has provided the cure to everything that brings about suffering and pain in our bodies and in our souls. Christ was present in the decision that God made to sacrifice Him for our sakes, and He engaged the life that lead to that permanent solution to our brokenness with complete and passionate surrender to the will of the Father. Our bodies are temporary, yet they are important to God. He does provide the healing and the relief from pain that is required for us to live out His plan for us; yet, He is far more concerned with the state of our hearts and our minds. We can take it upon the absolute assurance of God that, through Christ, He has healed us from everything that truly requires a cure.

And it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to do all this commandment before the Lord our God, as He has commanded us.

Deuteronomy 6: 25

 

It would seem that God views all of life as being important. He doesn’t do what we people are so quick to do. That is, the Lord doesn’t separate out some attitudes, behaviors, and actions and deem them to be important and place others onto a list of that which matters far less. God contemplates the smallest and the least powerful of His creation with the same loving interest and involvement as He does the grandest of it all. He also looks at the simplest of actions and the most private of thoughts with the deep understanding of their eternal impact. The universe that God created was designed and crafted with an intricate order and perfect balance throughout. Nothing was out of place.

 

By way of contrast, my world can be very disorderly. Important things get misplaced, stepped on and broken. Important people are mistreated, used and damaged. We have all experienced the effects of this sort of chaos. We have all been involved in its creation. God says, “Enough!” We need to stop perpetuating the brokenness and the decay in our world as if it were an inevitability of life. Until God’s timing is right and Christ permanently ends Satan’s ability to touch our world, the perfection of God’s created order will be disrupted. However, each of us has the ability to do something about the intrusion of sin into the parts of this world that we touch. We can do something else with our lives, for God calls us to love Him in totality.

 

If this is true, if we are actually sold out in every way to loving God as He commands us, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” (Dt 6:5), and we take Jesus’ teaching on this as a personal imperative when He quoted Deuteronomy and added, “And a second is like it: You shall love neighbor as yourself.” (Mt 22: 39), we must view life differently. These fundamental commandments of God are intended to bring calm to the trouble waters of life and to sooth the angry hearts that seethe within our chests. As we love God with the totality of our beings, there is nothing left except to love others with the self-sacrificial humility of Christ. This is obedience to God, and this is living in His righteousness.