Advent Reflection: The Promise of Healing
And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind and unplug the ears of the deaf. The lame will leap like a deer, and those who cannot speak will sing for joy! Springs will gush forth in the wilderness, and streams will water the wasteland.
After reading of divine judgment in Isaiah 34, chapter 35 comes as a pleasant shock. Here we glimpse a vision of the future, a time beyond judgment, when God will restore creation. Part of this restoration includes healing: blind eyes opened, deaf ears unplugged, lame leaping, voiceless singing. Thus Israel hopes for the day of God’s salvation, when all things will be renewed.
Isaiah's hope helps us to understand the ministry of Jesus. He healed people, not only to demonstrate his compassion, but also as a sign that the kingdom of God had dawned. In fact, when John the Baptist questioned Jesus’ messianic credentials, he sent the following message back to John: “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news brought to them” (Luke 7:22). In other words, Jesus was explaining that he was the one through whom God was fulfilling Israel’s hope once communicated through Isaiah.
In Jesus, the kingdom of God has indeed come near. Thus healing is possible in today’s world. Yet the complete healing of all things, including ourselves, has yet to come. We live in the “already and not yet” of the kingdom. It’s already here, thanks be to God! And it is still yet to come in all fullness.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Have you experienced God’s healing in your life? How? Yet do you also yearn for the fullness of healing yet to come? In what ways?
PRAYER: Gracious Lord, for all the ways I have experienced your healing, I give you thanks. I can’t even imagine what I’d be like apart from the outworking of your grace in my life. You have healed me, not only physically, but emotionally, spiritually, and relationally. All praise be to you, my healer!
Help me to be an agent of your healing in this world. I have no power to do this on my own. But your power through me can do wonderful things. Give me faith, Lord, as I pray for the sick. Give me compassion as I reach out to those who are broken. May I be sure of the work of your kingdom today, even as I look forward to the full coming of your kingdom in the future. Amen.
Image courtesy of Laity Lodge Family Camp, one of our sister programs in the Foundations for Laity Renewal.