Friday, December 2, 2016

Isaiah 19:22 -- On Hurting and Healing

"And the Lord shall smite Egypt: he shall smite and heal it: and they shall return even to the Lord, and he shall be entreated of them, and shall heal them."
Isaiah 19:22

This is an idea that we see throughout the scriptures.  The Lord smiting, and then healing.  Not arbitrarily, though I know it may seem so in some verses, but here, clearly, and in many other places, we see the underlying reason.  God heals us when we return to him.  Hosea 6:1 is a good example of this as well, saying that we should return to the Lord, so that we can be healed.

Sometimes we get hung up on the first part... the smiting.  We think, wow, God must not care about anyone that he would actually smite.  Isn't this pattern about forcing us to conform rather than loving us and inviting us to return to him?  But, remember, God is a parent.  Our Father.  Sometimes parents need to correct their children.  The Lord's intention is never to force us.

Sometimes we need a reminder of the sad consequences of our actions.  Just like there are consequences for smoking, or not eating right, or breaking the law, there are also consequences to sin. Sometimes they are huge, horrible consequences.  When we run into those consequences we sometimes feel like God is hurting us, but in point of fact, we are just harming *ourselves.*  We chose the consequences when we chose the sin in the first place.

There are also some things that feel like smiting that are just the normal challenges of life... but God designed life, and so of course we ascribe those things to him as well.  In those cases, we have to remember that life is a classroom, not a living room.  It is *designed* to teach us, not necessarily to entertain us (although of course one of the lessons is learning to be happy... God isn't saying it all has to be bad).  In order to learn some things, we need to face challenges, and sometimes those challenges hurt.  Thankfully, God makes us strong enough to face them all, and learn from them.

The amazing part I think is the healing part.  Even when we go out of our way to harm *ourselves,* God is still waiting there to heal us.  All we have to do is turn around and return to him, and he will work with us to make everything okay.  Today, let's work on not hurting ourselves, and on turning to God for help with learning and healing. :)

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