8th Day of Christmas

by Matthew B. Harper

He said, “I am the LORD who heals you.”(Exodus 15:26)

Healing is a difficult subject for every Christian. We know that all of creation is God’s, and we know that it is fallen away from God. I do not believe the sickness of our lives is God’s intention, but I do believe that God allows it for a purpose – and we don’t always know what that purpose is. We pray for the healing that Christ brings, and we mourn and struggle when we do not see it come as we hope and expect.

I lost a friend to cancer one Christmas. Even on his death bed the prison would not parole him so he could go and die at home. Instead he died in the prison infirmary, after having spent over half his life behind bars. We prayed for his healing, and he did not get better. We prayed for his release, and he was not released.

But during his struggles with his sickness he finally faced some deep questions and struggles he had with God. He began to address again the serious issues of forgiveness and reconciliation. He was here in prison, but he was very much loved and prayed for from the inside and outside community. A lapsed Catholic, he returned to the church and frequently celebrated the sacraments with the community.

Bubba died, and before he died he was healed.

Yea, Lord we greet thee, born this happy morning; Jesus to thee be glory given; Word of Father, now in flesh appearing; O come let us adore Him. O come let us adore Him, O come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord. (Hymn 83)

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