Friday, July 20, 2012

A Service Of Hope And Healing

We all face circumstances in life where we need to draw from God's fountain of "Hope." We all, likewise, face times when we need healing. Emotional healing. Spiritual healing. Physical healing. Certainly there are times that God blesses our brokenness and makes us whole physically and we know a season of "healing" before leaving this place. But that doesn't always happen. And sometimes we confuse "healing" with "cure."

I live with one foot planted firmly in the world of the church which is planted in this world. My other foot is firmly planted in the world of melanoma. I travel roads in both worlds and sometimes they meet. This is one of those times.

The following is what I call A Service of Hope and Healing. There are built in links to the Scriptures and songs. The Scripture passages are linked to Biblegateway where you can change translations and even languages if you choose. Here is a link to Google Translate if you want to put any of my English into another language to make this more understandable. Blessings.

A Service of Hope and Healing

Healing Begins by Tenth Avenue North

O Lord, we come before Your gracious Throne trusting that in You we will know hope and find healing. We bring brokenness. We bring clay pots that are dried up and need Your Living Water to pour over us and well up in us. We bring tears and pain trusting that You will hold these fragile parts of us close to Your heart and that You will not turn away from us. We bring scarred bodies and scarred psyches and embattled emotions. We bring very real wounds. We bring ourselves. Such as we are. Flawed and imperfect. Many of us are riddled with disease. Many of us live, day to day, with health conditions. Many of us deal with family problems. We can know work related issues and financial challenges. We can be down, but we are not out. We have hope. We have faith. We have love. Love for each other, love for You, and we know You love us...even when we try to hide from it or doubt it. Hear our prayer, O Lord and bring Your healing touch into our broken and battered souls. We thank You, most gracious God. Amen and Amen!

 So be strong and courageous,
    all you who put your hope in the Lord!

As the deer longs for streams of water,
    so I long for you, O God. I thirst for God, the living God.
    When can I go and stand before him? 
 Day and night I have only tears for food,
    while my enemies continually taunt me, saying,
    “Where is this God of yours?”
 My heart is breaking
    as I remember how it used to be:
I walked among the crowds of worshipers,
    leading a great procession to the house of God,
singing for joy and giving thanks
    amid the sound of a great celebration!
 Why am I discouraged?
    Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
    I will praise him again—
    my Savior and  my God!
Now I am deeply discouraged,
    but I will remember you—
even from distant Mount Hermon, the source of the Jordan,
    from the land of Mount Mizar. 
 I hear the tumult of the raging seas
    as your waves and surging tides sweep over me. 
 But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me,
    and through each night I sing his songs,
    praying to God who gives me life.
 “O God my rock,” I cry,
    “Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I wander around in grief,
    oppressed by my enemies?”  
Their taunts break my bones.
    They scoff, “Where is this God of yours?”
 Why am I discouraged?
    Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
    I will praise him again—
    my Savior and my God!

“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord
    and have made the Lord their hope and confidence."

Strong Enough by Matthew West

Lord, we are not strong enough to do this. To live this life, fight this fight, meet our challenges head on, face death when it comes for us or mourn the death of others. We aren't strong enough. But You are and You tell us when can do ALL things thru You for our strength comes from Your gracious hand. All means all. So, Lord, help us do this. Grant us Your divine strength and grace and enable to rise on wings of eagles. Empower us to soar to new heights on Your strong shoulders. Enable us to rely on You all the days of our lives and to put our faith and hope in Your abiding love and peace. Thank You, Lord God Almighty, world without end. Amen and Amen!

 If I speak with the eloquence of men and of angels, but have no love, I become no more than blaring brass or crashing cymbal. If I have the gift of foretelling the future and hold in my mind not only all human knowledge but the very secrets of God, and if I also have that absolute faith which can move mountains, but have no love, I amount to nothing at all. If I dispose of all that I possess, yes, even if I give my own body to be burned, but have no love, I achieve precisely nothing.
 This love of which I speak is slow to lose patience—it looks for a way of being constructive. It is not possessive: it is neither anxious to impress nor does it cherish inflated ideas of its own importance.
 Love has good manners and does not pursue selfish advantage. It is not touchy. It does not keep account of evil or gloat over the wickedness of other people. On the contrary, it is glad with all good men when truth prevails.
 Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything. It is, in fact, the one thing that still stands when all else has fallen.
For if there are prophecies they will be fulfilled and done with, if there are “tongues” the need for them will disappear, if there is knowledge it will be swallowed up in truth. For our knowledge is always incomplete and our prophecy is always incomplete, and when the complete comes, that is the end of the incomplete.
 When I was a little child I talked and felt and thought like a little child. Now that I am a man my childish speech and feeling and thought have no further significance for me.
 At present we are men looking at puzzling reflections in a mirror. The time will come when we shall see reality whole and face to face! At present all I know is a little fraction of the truth, but the time will come when I shall know it as fully as God now knows me!
 In this life we have three great lasting qualities—faith, hope and love. But the greatest of them is love.

We can know hope in this world because we have God's eternal, unfailing, faithful love to lean on for support and strength. When we slow down, He's going strong. When we are weak, He stays strong. And when our frail bodies and spirits need the hope of healing, God is there speaking what our souls need to hear and touching that in us that needs His power to get thru this.

 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    I desire you more than anything on earth.
 My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak,
    but God remains the strength of my heart;
    he is mine forever.
 Those who desert him will perish,
    for you destroy those who abandon you.
 But as for me, how good it is to be near God!
    I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter,
    and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.

There are mysteries we do not and cannot understand. There are things we are not meant to understand this side of Heaven. We are called to trust the One Who does understand though. That's not always easy. We want answers and we want them last week. Last year. Before the pain actually started. And now. Well, now it seems like life may just be starting to fall apart. Unravel at the seams. And it's not fair. We can hold on to hope and cry out for healing.

Sometimes the healing comes just like we cry out for. God is in the miracle business. And those seemingly impossible times are His opportunities to show off. Sometimes though the healing doesn't come in the form of an earthly cure but in the form of finding the courage to persevere in the face of staggering odds. Sometimes the healing comes in the letting go of our wants and grabbing hold of where God is even if it's a place we don't want to go. We will all go that way one day. Some of us at earlier ages than others, but we all get a lifetime. And we are all on a journey. This leg of it is mighty important, but this leg is just that...a leg. This isn't the entire journey. We're moving toward a destination.

Sometimes the hope is in the healing and sometimes the healing is in the hope. We always have hope but sometimes the hope becomes the hope of heaven. And that's OK, too.

The Reason for the World by Matthew West

He heals the brokenhearted
    and bandages their wounds.

 For everything there is a season,
    a time for every activity under heaven.
 A time to be born and a time to die.
    A time to plant and a time to harvest.  
A time to kill and a time to heal.
    A time to tear down and a time to build up.  
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
    A time to grieve and a time to dance.  
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
    A time to embrace and a time to turn away.  
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
    A time to keep and a time to throw away.  
A time to tear and a time to mend.
    A time to be quiet and a time to speak. 
 A time to love and a time to hate.
    A time for war and a time for peace.

We all find ourselves in there somewhere. This is our time. For what? Some of us are at that time of dying, while others cry and grieve. Some of us are at that time of healing and others celebrate with us with song, dance, and laughter. And we are in those other times as well. Time comes together, marches on, and does not stand still. This is our time. This is our place. And there will come another time and there will be another place. Nothing stays the same. Life is always changing. For better, for worse, life changes. That's one constant we can count on.

But it's only one. It has been said that the only certain things in this life are death and taxes. There are others. Besides change, there is God's love. That's one thing we can count on no matter what.

More by Matthew West
Lord, no matter where we are on this journey right now, we can find our hope and our healing in You. For those of us that mourn, love us. Hold our hearts and our tears. Embrace those who hurt to the core of their being and who don't think they can take any more. For those of us who desperately need hope in trying and troubling times, love us. Embolden our souls to believe that Your word is true and that with You anything is possible for You are the God of the Impossible! For those of us who stand in need of healing, love us. You know the healing that is truly needed and not just the healing that is truly wanted. Help us separate our needs from our wants and to trust that You know the difference and that You will certainly supply all our needs as You see them and as You see fit and we thank You, Lord! Amen and Amen!

Our God by Chris Tomlin

As we go, let us go in the peace of God as only He can give. And let us light a candle for those who are feeling hopeless and helpless right now. Let us light a candle for those who mourn. And let us light a candle for those who have gone on before us and whom we mourn.

Hold out that candle and light our world. 

Go Light Your World by Chris Rice

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord. Go in hope to love and serve others. May love envelop it all. And may you know peace, love, and hope as you give peace, love, and hope. Be blessed and be a blessing.

Amen and Amen!