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Christ is Waiting to Heal You

February 6, 2021

It is the Fifth Sunday after Epiphany this Sunday. It has been quite a week that actually began last weekend. Schoolwork had piled up and I took on the leadership for our small group discussion forum at the last minute. One of my classmates had a tragic week last week with a dear mentor and friend succumbing to COVID and her niece took her own life. There is so much tragedy and heartache out there and in our own hearts as well. On Friday we went to Mobile for the graveside service of a very close and dear friend of Denise’s. She had fought a long battle with a slow-growing, terminal cancer and died this past weekend.

At times it has been overwhelming and exhausting keeping all of this together. It is fitting for me that the two readings for this Sunday (Isaiah 40:21-31 and Mark 1:29-39) are my focus for worship. Isaiah’s words begin with the reminder how majestic and powerful God is when compared to mere mortals. Even princes and rulers of the earth are nothing when compared to God. God is indeed the master of creation. Lift up your eyes on high and see: Who created these? He who brings out their host and numbers them, calling them all by name; because he is great in strength, mighty in power, not one is missing. (Isaiah 40:26)

This reminder of the greatness and majesty of God and the fact that mere mortals are like plants that wither and die all too soon is both humbling and overwhelming. I know that I have been in places and situations where I have felt completely inadequate for the task at hand. I know that there are times when I truly wonder where the strength and the inspiration is going to come from. I am sure during the Babylonian exile that the people felt the same way. Heck, I am sure that Isaiah felt the same way! That is the beauty of verses 28-31. These verses offer hope to the weary faith travelers. Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint and strengthens the powerless. Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

These words of comfort are often shared in funeral services, memorial services, and graveside services. They are even shared at the bedside of the sick and the dying. The promise is that the Creator of the universe cares for each part of creation. These words are often paired with Jesus’ words from John 14:27 – Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.

The promise of strength and healing with Isaiah spoke of came to fulfilment with Jesus. In Mark 1:29-39 we see the kindness and gentleness of the healer on full display. Following Jesus preaching, teaching, and healing in the synagogue at Capernaum, he goes with Simon and Andrew, James and John to the house of Simon and Andrew for some rest and refreshment. Despite being weary himself, Jesus took time to heal Simon’s mother-in-law. She immediately responded to that healing touch by getting up and serving the guests. She was lifted up by the Lord and her strength was renewed just as Isaiah revealed to the people of the Babylonian exile. The same thing happened after supper when Jesus went into the crowd that had gathered around the house and cast out many demons. Lives were renewed and hope was given to those who had only felt hopelessness and despair. Despite being exhausted, Jesus continued to reach out to those in need. The next morning, while it was still dark, Jesus went off to a deserted place to pray. In that silence and solitude, Jesus found the energy and restoration of spirit to continue on in the neighboring towns as he was called to do. 

The draw to that place of solitude, prayer, and refreshment is very real for me and for Denise. This weekend has been another exhausting weekend in so many ways both emotionally and spiritually. When you sit with a family who has lost their loved one, it is an honor to do so. We all have that common bond in the moment of missing someone we all loved so very dearly. The need for quiet was also very real for us. We were able to find some time to simply \e still… to be in the quiet… enjoying the quiet and comfort of simply being with dear friends in that silence together was a blessing. Walking and driving around the Oakleigh neighborhood where the fact that Mardi Gras parades have been cancelled yet the neighborhood has been transformed into Yardi-Gras with porches and houses being turned into floats was life-giving for us as we received blessings through the lenses of our cameras. 

In a world that is so full of noise, I find myself longing for that place and time of refreshment and renewal. In his book, No Man is an Island, Thomas Merton speaks a great deal about silence and solitude. This particular portion speaks to me of my desire for such solitude as a place of refreshment. Pure interior solitude is found in the virtue of hope. Hope takes us entirely out of this world while we remain bodily in the midst of it. Our minds retain their clear view of what is good in creatures. Our wills remain chaste and solitary in the midst of all created beauty, not wounded in an isolation that is prudish and ashamed but lifted up to Heaven by a humility that hope has divested of all bitterness, all consolation, and all fear. (p. 253)

Perhaps it is in that place of solitude and quiet where Christ can meet us and simply sit beside us in quiet and in prayer. No need for words… just the silence and solitude where hope and love abide. May each one of us, dear reader, find that place and visit it often.

  1. Amen, the silence, the solitude is where we can hear God the most.❤️🙏

    I wait upon the LORD.

  2. Emma Hepburn permalink

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful reflection, Michael. The older I get the more restorative I find silence is. A lovely thought of Jesus just sitting quietly beside us. I also love your words, ‘ we received blessings through the lenses of our cameras, I can really relate to this.
    Blessings to you my friend.

  3. Thank you for this beautiful and inspiring post, Michael. I agree about silence and solitude. They are agents of blessing and healing for our fatigued and frazzled souls. May you and Denise encounter more restorative moments like this in the weeks ahead, my friend. ❤️

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