"Great crowds came to Him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at His feet; and He healed them." Matthew 15:30 (NIV)
It was really quite pitiful. Our little dog, Cocoa (who is around 13 years old), was limping around for a couple of days. Her gait was strained and she held her little paw up as she walked. When I first checked it out, I couldn't see the source of the problem. I pressed the pads of her paw. I checked the bones of her leg. Neither seemed to cause any pain. This morning I decided to take another look. I noticed that she had a nail (toenail? paw nail?) with a pretty substantial crack in it. (Her "parents" aren't very faithful in nail trimming...and she is a nail-biter.) I got the doggy nail clippers and cut off the split edge...and voila! She was all better!
As I held Cocoa there on the floor, I was struck by the revelation that we, too, can be crippled by things left untended...relationships...physical health...our walk with Christ.
Relationships can be among life's greatest blessings...as well as greatest heartaches. Without "tending," cracks, split places, divisions can occur. We all need love. God created us that way. We all need to be shown love, have loving words spoken to us. Those around us do too. In Ephesians 4:2-3, Paul says, "Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." We all need forgiveness. Jesus was the ultimate bestower of forgiveness...even when we didn't deserve it. We need to forgive others...or ask others for forgiveness. We must "Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances [we] may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave [us]." Colossians 3:13 Love isn't always easy. Forgiveness surely isn't. But through the power of the Spirit within us, we can. Have you laid your relationships at His feet?
It is obvious that we need to tend to our physical health. In 1 Corinthians 6:19 we are reminded. "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body." We need to exercise, eat right, get proper rest. We need to see our doctors for those tests (pleasant or not) that detect things in our bodies that shouldn't be there. And I love the words in Proverbs 4:20-23 that remind us,"My [daughter], pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a [woman's] whole body." As we are encouraged and instructed in His Word, it brings nourishment...physical, as well as spiritual!
Our walk with Christ has tremendous bearing on our relationships and can work wonders with our frame of mind regarding our physical well-being. Over and over in the New Testament we read of faith being the source of healing. (Ex. Matt. 15:28, Mark 5:34 and 10:52, Luke 8:48) To develop our faith, we must grow in our relationship with Christ. The ultimate goal of our relationship with Christ is to become like Him, and in 1 Corinthians 49-52, we see the promise of that fulfillment...that in "the twinkling of an eye" we will "all be changed" and "bear the likeness of the Man from heaven." But until then, He has great plans for us. If our walk with Christ is left untended...lack of prayer time, spending time in His Word, fellowship of other believers...we can be crippled in our pursuit of the dreams He has given us...with fear, doubt, lack of motivation. We must put on the full armor of God (Eph. 6:1) to take care of the crippling enemies. We must walk daily in the light of His Truth and lay our very lives at His feet and be crippled no more.
Lord, draw us near. Hold us close. Remind us of Your great love. Heal our relationships. Heal our bodies. Heal our hearts. Help us as we walk with You, not to walk as crippled women, but to live fully in Your presence. Lord, You are great and greatly to be praised!