“He reached from on high, he took me,
he drew me out of mighty waters.” (2 Samuel 22:17)
Our reading from 2 Samuel today reminds us what true healing from God looks like. It is not a kind of simple “over-the-counter” type of healing that merely solves the pains of the current moment. No, the healing that he offers us is the healing of bringing our whole self – body, mind, and soul – back to life.
In my own life, I have come to truly grasp this level of saving healing through a near-death experience that I had as a child. I think I shall never forget an ill-fated canoe ride that I took with my father when I was about 4 years old. We were on our first overnight camping and river trip, and my dad was anxious to try out his brand-new fishing rod. He was so anxious, in fact, that he decided to take a sunset cruise onto the lake to try it out. As we set out from the shore where we were camped into those dark cold waters, I got very excited. I remember thinking that it would be fun to try and see some fish, but I could not properly see over the boat’s edge. Thinking that the obvious solution to that problem would be to simply stand up, I proceeded to capsize the vessel when I excitedly put that plan into action.
We all went overboard.
If you were to hear my father tell the story, he would say, “You just sank away like a stone from my sight.” He was frantic.
“Gone.” He would say.
He began wildly searching for me, but the lake was surprisingly deep and the waters very dark. He began to pray as he dove down in search of me, searching as long as his breath could hold out before he had to return to the surface. And then again, and again, and yet again. He thought for sure I was dead at that point.
For my part, I remember simply slipping away, down and down into the blackness. I remember a feeling like sleep starting to creep in.
Suddenly, something grabbed my hair and pulled me to the surface. It was my father who had finally found me, and was pulling my limp body to the shore. When we got there, the two of us gasping for breath, he leaned over and looked me right in the face and said, “Hillary – don’t you ever, EVER, tell your mother about this!”
But he also told me that he loved me; that he was so scared; that I should have known that it was dangerous to stand up in a boat; that he loved me again; and that when he thought I was in trouble, he would have done anything to save me. That, of course, means getting into the dark, dangerous waters right with me, and pulling me to safety.
That is the kind of healing that God offers us in Jesus, who jumped into this dangerous life with us to pull us into salvation. He did this so we could breathe, so that we might be healed from our brokenness. He heals us so that we can pass from sin into righteousness, from death into life.
A Prayer for Healing in Times of Personal Distress:
Lord Christ, you came into the world as one of us, and suffer as we do. As we go through the trials of life, help us to realize that you are with us at all times and in all things; that we have no secrets from you; and that your loving grace enfolds us for eternity. In the security of your embrace we pray. Amen (from Ministry with the Sick).
Image Caption: Camp Weed, Live Oak, FL (2013)