Sharing in suffering

21 Since my people are crushed, I am crushed;
    I mourn, and horror grips me.
22 Is there no balm in Gilead?
    Is there no physician there?
Why then is there no healing
    for the wound of my people?
[declares the Lord] (Jeremiah 8:21-22 – New International Version)

I’m currently working my way through Jeremiah for my daily reading. Often referred to as the prophet of doom, it’s not the most consoling of books to be reading at this time, but I was struck by the above words this morning. Two things have been said to me recently relating to Jesus and the coronavirus. The first was that, with crucifixion essentially being asphyxiation, Jesus knows exactly what the victims of the virus are going through as they fight for every breath. The other was that the body of Christ has coronavirus as we’re all parts of the body. They’re thoughts you might like to reflect upon.

Some people say they cannot believe in God because of the suffering they see in the world. One of the mysteries of God is that complete healing didn’t happen when Jesus came; he only healed certain people and not everyone. What the above quotation and Jesus’ healing acts do show, though, is that God’s will is for health and healing. God endowed our bodies with the capability to resist disease and heal itself; God endowed certain people with the abilities to heal and find cures. Again why that isn’t a universal thing or why we’re entrusted with finding the answers are mysteries.

As members of the body of Christ, Christians are expected to have concern for all the other members. When a member is sick, the others should rally round in sympathy and practical help. Of course, that is not an exclusively Christian thing and we’ve seen many examples of such love and care being demonstrated by those who profess another faith or no faith. Sadly, you may have witnessed Christians failing in their Christian duty, but we’re all only human and get things wrong.

A prayer by George Appleton (adapted):

Bless, O Lord, all who are co-operating in your will for healing, all doctors, surgeons, nurses, psychiatrists, research workers, those who cook and serve and clean, all who work in preventative health, all administrators, all who study our social life to help us how to live. We thank you, O Lord of life and health, for this army of healing workers. Praise be to you and gratitude to them. Amen.

Published by Angie Allport

Methodist minister

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