Friday, 18 September 2020
Title: ‘Only the Wounded…’
By: Ps Cheng Cheung
Psalm 138:8: “The LORD will perfect that which concerns me…”
You know this story in John 5 – Jesus heals a paralyzed man sitting by the pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem.
“In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had.” (John 5:3-4, NKJV)
There is a short play written by American playwright Thornton Wilder called The Angel that Troubled the Waters. It takes place at this very pool.
The plot involves a physician who finds himself at the pool. He is sick and unable to heal himself. His only hope is to be the next one in the pool once the healing angel arrives. He sits at the edge of the water, waiting for any sign of movement. The angel arrives and asks the physician to step back and let someone else receive the healing. The doctor, in turn, argues that if he were healed, he could help more people.
The angel responds: “Without your wound where would your power be? It is your very remorse that makes your low voice tremble into the hearts of men. The very angels themselves cannot persuade the wretched and blundering children on earth as can one human being broken on the wheels of living. In Love’s service only the wounded soldiers can serve. Draw back, soldier, draw back.”
God wants to work through us, but that only happens when we are empty and let Him fill us. Don’t you realise when God wants to minister to broken people, He uses other broken people to do it?
“And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
If you’ve been broken on the wheels of living, you’ve got what it takes to reach the broken. The world doesn’t need a strong you, it needs a strong Jesus. A strong Jesus in a weak you. The cleverer you are, the more worldly-wise, the more well-endowed and self-sufficient you are… the ‘stronger’ you will think you are. Will it be possible for God to bring about miracles through you?
Brother, sister, this sharing is not to bash you for all your God-given strengths, gifting and blessings. Remember, these are God-given and He was pleased to bestow these. They are meant to keep us humble and give thanks. Verse 6, “Though the LORD is on high,”
“Yet He regards the lowly;”
”But the proud He knows from afar.”
Do you bear some wounds? Could these be painfully preparing you for some precious service to Jesus and to His people? A follower of Christ may be baffled where the suffering is all heading. Stand firm. The psalmist testifies:
7 “Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me;…And Your right hand will save me.”
We will then and only then understand:
8 “The LORD will perfect that which concerns me”. God Himself says, ”I wound and I heal; there is not one who delivers from my hand!” (Deuteronomy 32:39)
There is a divine mystery in suffering. “The LORD will perfect…”. When a person who suffers reaches a point where he is no longer asking God to be delivered from it, then the suffering has accomplished its blessed ministry. Only those who have been wounded in the region of their human confidence, whose self-sufficiency has been shattered by the knowledge it is carnal, only they can be the healers of this ailing world.
Prayer for Today
Father, I confess I take pride in my ability in this and that. And the evil one is the first to congratulate me just to boost my ego when things go well. Ah, the vanity of it all!
Thank You, Lord Jesus, that You allow suffering to fulfil the purpose of God in my life. Help me see beyond that suffering. Show me that purpose, so that my entire being might be perfectly still under the Hand of the Almighty. Give me the calm assurance that You are sovereign over everything to work “for the good of those who love Him” In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.