You who dwell in the garden with friends in attendance,let me hear your voice.
Song of Songs 8:13
We had to go to hospital the other day. Sitting in the waiting area watching all those people waiting to be called for treatment I was struck by the quiet, comforting compassion of the young nurse, (all nurses look young to me at my advanced age!), patiently shepherding a frail and frightened old lady into one of the treatment rooms. At the door of the treatment room stood the doctor with a bright welcoming smile reassuring her that all would be well.
As people’s names were called I recalled that quite a large proportion of Jesus’ ministry consisted of healing the sick. Indeed, one particular passage came to mind, a passage quoted in Luke 13.10-17; the healing of a sick woman in the synagogue on the Sabbath. I will not quote it in full here as you can read it for yourself in your own edition of the Bible. Briefly though, it would seem that she had osteoporosis or perhaps a curvature of the spine so that she could not stand up straight. The King James Version tells us that:
12 And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity.
13 And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.
Now there are several lessons to be taken from this particular reading but these two verses seem significant to me. Jesus called her to Him. She came to the synagogue on that Sabbath to hear Him preach, she did not come to ask Him to heal her. She was grateful that He did, of course, and she seems to have shown that gratitude in her future conduct; but the fact remains He called her. In the same way He calls us to be healed. And like her we should give thanks for that gift of healing by glorifying God. From what are we healed? Early in the first book of Timothy we find the answer to that question.
‘This is a true saying, and worthy of all men to be received, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’ 1 Timothy 1.15.
And as a sinner who has been saved by Christ what should we do now? Like the woman in verse 13 we should glorify God. I think the nurse and the doctor I saw both did that by exhibiting that charity which is one of the three spiritual graces fully described by St. Paul in his letter to the Corinthians, 1 Cor. 13. Now, whilst we may not all doctors or nurses, nevertheless we all have God given talents which He wants us to use. It is by using those talents for God’s purpose that we glorify Him.
Now I know I have touched on the theme of being called by God in earlier blogs but I make no apologies for returning to the subject. I think it is important to remember that God shows Himself to the world through the words and actions that we as Christians display. Therefore what God has called me to do yesterday may not be what He wants me to do today; He may have another task for me. So we need to listen for God’s call and we must respond positively to it. In the same way that I went into the treatment room having just heard my name called.
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time work for a number of years