Monday, June 23, 2014

Like Battery Acid to the Soul

In the midst of trying to clean out some stuff/papers/cabinets, I found a piece of paper covered in my handwriting.  I have no clear recollection of even writing it, but since the paper I wrote on is dated December 2013, then I know it was somewhere around that time.  About six months ago, I guess.  As I was looking over it to see if it needed to go in the trash bag or in yet another drawer unofficially called 'to be dealt with another time', I thought, "Hey, this is pretty good."  If it had not obviously been my handwriting, then I don't think I would even have recognized it.

It was written in my church's prayer room one Sunday morning after the worship service, in that hour I have down time while my youngest is in Sunday School (or whatever it is officially called now).  It ends in the middle of a sentence (just like in An Imperial Affliction--google it if you need to), which just means that time ran out and I had to pick up my kid.  I thought about finishing out the story before posting this, but figured I would never get around to it, and that last paragraph is worthy of its own post anyway.

All of this set up to say--I think this is good, God inspired stuff, and not because of anything I wrote or thought up on my own.

One of the coolest things that I learned in college didn't occur in the classroom. It was in a small Bible Study class, and the topic was about the different names of God.  It is not as evident now in English versions of the Bible, but in the original languages, the names of God and the mentions of Him were much more specific.  In many places, when the people came to understand something about God in a new way, they would call Him a new name, to reflect that new understanding.  Anyway, it is a pretty fascinating topic to study, and adds much depth and understanding to scripture.

It seems that two of the most common names that some people in the know love/claim are Jehovah Jireh, which means "God My Provider" and Jehovah Rapha, "God My Healer"--great names, and so powerful and true about God's nature and character.  In fact, right now I am writing this out on the white spaces of my church's weekly prayer list--a trifold brochure that currently has 267 listings for specific health issues.  My son has been on the list for two years now.  I get the desire and need to pray for healing of health concerns.  However, I learned something really cool a few years ago, probably from a Beth Moore study (which is where I learn so much nowadays).

The first mention of Jehovah Rapha is in Exodus 15:26.  The backstory is that Moses had just led the Isrealites from Egypt.  They have crossed the Red Sea (a very cool story/miracle in itself) and Moses tells them it is time to keep going.  After three days with no water, they finally come to a place named Marah that had water, but they could not drink the water because it was so bitter.  Then, they became bitter as well. God performed a miracle by making the water safe to drink.  Scripture then has God saying this in verse 26:

And He said, If hearing thou wilt hear the voice of Jehovah thy God, and wilt do what is right in His eyes, and wilt hearken to His commandments, and wilt keep all His statutes, all the disease that I have put on the Egyptians, I will not put upon thee, because I am Jehovah thy healer.  

Or, in another version:

God said, “If you listen, listen obediently to how God tells you to live in his presence, obeying his commandments and keeping all his laws, then I won’t strike you with all the diseases that I inflicted on the Egyptians; I am God your healer.”

 I guess the English version 'healer' made so much sense that I hadn't felt the need to look up its meaning more in depth--I mean, it was talking about diseases, after all. I never knew the original translation for healer at the end of that verse meant "the healer of all my troubles".  God called Himself Jehovah Rapha, and although He was/is definitely a healer of physical diseases, it originated as a term to show He was also the healer of bitterness.


Jehovah Rapha wasn't first introduced to help with blood pressure issues, severed spines or cancer.  He was the one to heal bitterness (and by extension, brokenness, anger, disappointment, confusion, etc).  How many people need to experience this kind of healing?

My church prayer list doesn't even have a category for this.  There is a generic heading called Protection/Guidance/Personal, but this week that only contains ten listings, and all of them are missionary/military related.  I guess that bitterness issues would be classified as the 'unspoken requests' in the prayer meetings I grew up with.  This is by no means limited to my church.  I'm sure if enough people requested prayer for this, then bitterness would have its own category on the page or in the prayer meetings.  I don't think that many people know or acknowledge their need for healing in this way enough.

One of the most powerful 'prayer meetings' I ever attended was right after I got married.  We were visiting a new church, and a young woman started her prayer by telling God how ticked off she was at Him that her freshly stocked freezer had broken that day and how she had gone home after work to hundreds of dollars worth of now ruined food.  I mean, she was really

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