“So, are you having any difficulties or problems we can address?”
My more-than-kind obstetrician was wrapping up what I hoped would be my last prenatal visit with my soon-to-be-delivered third child. After giving a short list of the usual late-term pregnancy issues, I smiled while assuring him: “Nothing that birth won’t cure!”
Some things just have to run their course. There is no other “cure” available. This was so true in the days before antibiotics. When I read about people in the past who died from infectious diseases, I wonder at the miracle drugs the Lord has blessed us with.
But the search for cures goes on. Cancer still eludes the scientists who dedicate their lives to finding the answers. Those who suffer from chronic pain, especially migraines, long for those pain free days. Mental illness can be managed but not really cured. Addictions that haunt those who struggle daily will sometimes yield to that old fashioned remedy, “the Cure.” Others suffer from a variety of wasting-away illnesses. And then there is the head cold, which is “common” to all of us no matter what our station in life.
Even our technology can get sick. We quickly call on a technician to rid our computers of viruses.
When we cure ham or bacon, the salt, smoke, honey, sugar, maple syrup have one job: prevent the meat from getting “sick”… decaying, going rancid, spoiling, becoming putrid. Yuck!
People “Race for the Cure” to raise money for research. Others, desperate for a cure, seek relief at spas, in mud baths and hot springs. When we visited the Dead Sea in Israel, they offered a multitude of products designed to heal skin problems and cure aches and pains.
In days gone by the Snake Oil Salesmen would promise a cure with just a sip from a bottle of their potions. And people would buy it!
But we’re not so far advanced from those times. How often do we wish for a pill or a drug that will somehow make up for the bad choices and habits we’ve been indulging in. Instead of the difficult task of making lifestyle changes, we want that quick solution.
No, it’s not always easy. A friend of mine, who was struggling with her weight, had had enough of her skinny doctor reminding her of all of the things she “just needed to do” for the pounds to start coming off. She said she wanted to shout, “If it were that easy, don’t you think it would have happened by now?”
If only I would stop doing… or start doing… or do more of… or less of…
In the Scriptures we hear of a devastating illness that robbed people of their physical health and also their social acceptance. It was leprosy. Even today when someone feels shunned, they may say, “You don’t have to treat me as some kind of a leper!”
We learn about one such afflicted man in the Old Testament story about Naaman and the servant girl (2 Kings 5:1-14). When the prophet said to wash in the Jordan River, he balked. He wanted something more dramatic. He wanted his disease to receive a royal treatment, one deserving of a man of his stature. But in the end he humbled himself, realizing his arrogance, and he was healed.
And then there are the spiritual cures that Jeremiah talks about (See 3:22 and 17:9). Cures when we are wandering from our Lord’s path, away from His voice. And the lack of a cure for a deceitful heart.
We all need ”the cure” no matter how we try to justify our sins or claim they’re not really all that bad. Just like a cold, our “common” issue of sin knows no boundaries.
But Satan is that Snake Oil Salesman that tries to convince us that if we just tried hard enough, cared enough, worked hard enough, we could do it on our own. After all how many times have we heard someone tell us to reach down into that strength within us?
But aren’t we really “grasping at straws” when we embrace that cure? So desperate that we will try even the least promising idea in order to solve our dilemma?
And yet the cure is right there, available to all. The double cure from sin’s guilt and power. The cure from that biggest, scariest threat… death.
Oh, it’s not the “labors of my hands”… it’s not all my efforts or zeal (I’m REALLY, REALLY going to make this change)… it’s not all of my “I’m so sorry” tears.
No. That old hymn “Rock of Ages” reminds me that I just need to allow it to happen. “Let the water and the blood from Thy wounded side which flowed… cleanse me.” Ah, yes. That royal blood. That royal treatment.
Recognizing my helplessness, realizing I really, really can’t do it, I turn to my Lord Jesus for His mercy… His grace that I really don’t deserve.
“Nothing in my hand I bring”… There is nothing I can offer to compensate for my failings… because He paid that price, freely, willingly, completely.
And He welcomes me… again and again… back into His merciful, loving arms.