A few weeks before learning about Bennett’s tumor (you can read about that here), I spoke at our Men’s Ministry Monthly Lunch. What God taught Megan and me as I prepared that lesson has brought us a lot of peace through this storm. I know that God had his hand in leading me to teach on this as a way to prepare our hearts for the coming months. Since it has been on our minds a lot, I thought I would share it here as well.
One of the fun things we did each day as a family to celebrate Christmas was reading Old Testament verses that prophesied Jesus’ coming. One of my favorites is found in Isaiah 61. The first few verses are basically the mission statement of Jesus’ life.
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners” (Isaiah 61:1)
Did you catch what is relevant to us? He came to “bind up the brokenhearted”! I almost have to laugh at how much my family and Bennett need that right now. We are definitely feeling our brokenness. And the original word used that gets translated “brokenhearted” is a word that means “broken heart, mind, soul or body.” When I discovered that, it reminded me of another verse in Mark.
“One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:28-31)
So we were made to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength…but all of us are broken.
In fact, everything is broken. This world is broken. When sin entered the world, it broke everything. The sooner we realize that…and embrace that…the sooner this world will make sense. Without understanding that we live in a broken world, the senseless violence, corruption, greed, disease and disasters are just that…senseless. But when we understand that this world and everything in it is broken because of sin, then we begin to see God’s grace instead of despair. We begin to realize that the bad things around us are the natural results of a broken world and the blessings around us result from God’s grace restraining evil from completely taking over! We begin to see how important it is that Jesus came.
But let’s look back and remember what Jesus came to do. Isaiah 61:1 says that Jesus came to “bind”. Notice that it does not say that He came to “heal”. He is talking about a cast. He’s telling us that His plan for wholeness and total healing is not happening here on this earth. We will experience the final result…the complete healing we all need…the perfect presence of a loving God…but not on this earth. His plan for this place is to replace it. He will give us new bodies in a new Heaven and new Earth and He will reign forever! Hallelujah…right!?
But God does not leave us in our brokenness. No…He came and got into it with us. He offers us bindings for our brokenness. He puts us in a cast while we wait for His perfect healing to be complete. He comforts and relieves the pain. He teaches us how to move on and live with a limp.
Think about Jacob. God called him to be the leader of His people during the time in their history when they were a nomadic tribe. And what did God do to prepare him? He made Jacob lame. The leader of a nation who did a lot of walking…had to walk with a limp the rest of his life. Why? Because God wanted Jacob to see this world and our life in it for what it is…temporary.
So even after God heals Bennett from an earthly perspective, I still have to remember that he will have scars. He won’t have the same liver he came in the earth with. He’s going to have to grow a new one. He will most likely have follow-up visits for years. He will likely grow up mindful of the chances that it could come back. He will live with a limp. But Jesus came to bind it. He came to put my son in a cast that is a shadow of the healing planned for him in the next life. And just like we can outgrow a physical cast, I pray that Bennett will outgrow his spiritual cast. I pray that Bennett’s relationship with the Lord is so close that God is constantly changing out his bandages…constantly taking him into deeper waters of his future faith in Jesus…constantly proving that God can work through those who learn to accept the brokenness of this world and long for the next.
I pray this for you too. Don’t look for perfection here. And don’t ignore your brokenness. Embrace the cast of Jesus. A loving relationship with Jesus is your only hope for the healing planned for you in the presence of our Father.
So let’s learn to love living with a limp together!