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Cured or Carried?

Good people die from bad stuff. Disease ravages a body. Senseless massacres take tons of innocent lives. Crazy warfare blows homes to bits, leaving children without parents. A car ride to work suddenly ends when a distracted driver runs a red light. I have been asked many times why God allows a believer to die from their disease or accident. Just what was the purpose in his taking the person from those who cared so deeply for them? In moments of silence and deep thought, I honestly could not come up with a good answer for the agony and pain they endured, or the pain now very evident in their loved one's heart. I just don't always understand how God moves all the time, what he plans within the long fights with debilitating disease, or how the sudden loss of a loved one will affect the lives of those who have trusted him for their protection. One thing I can hold onto - God is NEVER untrue to his word! His purposes may be far beyond my limited ability to understand them, but he never "backs down" on his word! He says we will always be in his watchful care and I have to trust we are. He says we occupy this earthly temple of our bodies for a while, but he has prepared a heavenly temple far beyond what we know here in our earthly bodies and I have to trust it will be awesome. We just don't know what today will bring, but we can trust the one who holds us in his hands today and forever.

That evening a lot of demon-afflicted people were brought to him. He relieved the inwardly tormented. He cured the bodily ill. He fulfilled Isaiah's well-known sermon: He took our illnesses, He carried our diseases. (Matthew 8:16-17)

After a long day of healing the sick, Jesus is faced with even more who petition for their release from infirmity - weighed down by their disease, tortured in their own bodies, fearing the worst outcomes they could possibly imagine. He has healed the leper, cured the servant belonging to the Captain of the Roman Guard, and raised Peter's mother-in-law from her sickbed - all well-known events by now. With dusk upon him, the demon-afflicted come to him - seeking release, hoping for peace at last - in that moment, he is moved once again into the service of healing and delivering. He relieved the inwardly tormented. He cured the bodily ill. He took their illnesses and carried their diseases. Look at all the action words here:

Relieved - he eased their burden and released them from their oppression.
Cured - he restored to health what once was plagued with disease and death.
Took - he brought into his own hands, his own possession their illnesses.
Carried - he became the bearer of their torment.

The inwardly tormented (those with oppressed and depressed thoughts, leading to all manner of actions that just brought more grief and pain) were given a new outlook on life - released to begin to live without the many burdens which had tormented them for so long. The bodily ill restored to health - certainly the greatest hope of all with debilitating disease. We may never understand the totality of what is accomplished in the point between the "God heal me" pleas until the last breath is breathed. I don't know why some are healed and others continue in their struggle with ravaging disease - but God knows what is transpiring in the two points between "God heal me" and the very last breath we each shall breathe on this earth. He knows the intensity of the "God help me" moment when we suddenly see a catastrophe about to end it all and the moment he embraces us forever in our heavenly home.

This is what we hold onto in the midst of disease or calamity. This is what we count on when tides just don't seem to turn. God is in control - every step of the way - even when the outcome seems contrary to what we'd have hoped to behold. I cannot know fully the depths of all he accomplishes - but I can trust fully in the promises of his deliverance. So, regardless of the immediacy of the outcome, I encourage those who need his healing to come, just as these did those many years ago. Bringing inward torment, bodily disease, illnesses without name - looking into his eyes, beholding his grace, and living in his peace. In the midst of the "fight" perhaps our greatest "deliverance" comes in the "yielding" of our spirits to his control. Cancer sucks. Multiple Sclerosis is a wicked disease. Catastrophe creates havoc in lives beyond what we ever think we can handle. But...God who loves us each with an intensity so deep we cannot fully comprehend it is reaching out to us in the midst of it all. Take his hand and walk closely with him. Some will be cured - others will be carried. We may not know which path we will take today, but he does! Just prayin!

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