He said, “If you will listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his sight, obeying his commands and keeping all his decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the Lord who heals you” (Exodus 15:26 NLT)
Friend to Friend
My friend Lee described the night when he lay alone on his hospital bed, feeling as though he were hanging over a cliff. The Lord asked him this question: “Will you trust me?” He wrestled to reconcile God’s goodness with the direness of his circumstances. He was in his early forties with a brain tumor that was later diagnosed as glioblastoma.
The following days were a wilderness of surgery, medications, and recovery. Contrary to what doctors had told him, Lee got better, with no signs of cancer. He felt great and took every opportunity to share about God’s miraculous healing in his life.
After five years of excellent health, Lee told me at a church campout to pray for him because he was experiencing terrible headaches. The next week his suspicions were confirmed. The tumor was back and growing.
Our church family set up a prayer schedule to pray for him around the clock. Men from our church gathered on his front porch most nights singing worship songs and praying for him. I had the chance to sit with Lee in the final weeks of his life and take notes as he told his story of faith in order to write a short memoir of his experiences.
Lee told me that he was a winner no matter how his cancer journey ended. If the Lord restored his health, he would have more time to spend with his family and to share God’s story. If he died, then he would be with Jesus. “I can’t lose,” he told me. Within a few weeks, Lee found ultimate healing as he entered heaven.
God’s healing power leaves me with many questions such as:
- Why did God heal Lee the first time but not the second?
- Why does God heal some people and not others?
- Why does God allow us to suffer?
Pain and healing can be difficult topics. We want to celebrate God’s healing power when we see it, but I believe we need caution in tying God’s goodness to the desired result. Does it mean that He is bad or that we lacked faith when diseases progress or people die? God is good all the time—not just when we get the result we wanted.
One of the compound uses of Yahweh’s name is Yahweh Rapha. Rapha means “to heal, make healthful.” It is used sixty-two times in the Old Testament and can refer to the healing of persons, nations, individual distresses, water, and even possessions like pottery.
The first mention of this name is found in Exodus when the people of Israel found bitter water that was undrinkable shortly after crossing the Red Sea. He [God] said, “If you will listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, obeying His commands and keeping all His decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the Lord who heals you,” (Exodus 15:26 NLT).
The water needed healing for the people to live. Yahweh Rapha miraculously healed the water so the Israelites could quench their thirst and then promised to be their Healer if they would follow Him. (Exodus 15:26)
We tend to think of healing in terms of physical ailments, but we are broken in many ways: physically, sexually, emotionally, intellectually, relationally, and spiritually. Each of us needs spiritual healing through a relationship with Jesus Christ. All of us are born with the bitter waters of a sinful nature. Jesus said this in John 7:38, “Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” He is the only source for eternal healing in our lives.
We may not always understand God’s decisions regarding healing. My friend Lee experienced physical healing and then ultimate healing. It didn’t all make sense to those who loved him, but we can grow in faith through every difficult circumstance that tests our faith and trust that our God is the Lord who heals.
Yahweh Rapha, You know all my pain. I am broken in every way and in need of Your healing touch. Heal me from sin, disease, and brokenness today so that I might serve You with a whole heart and a willing mind. Help me to trust You even when my prayers aren’t answered according to my desires and timing. I surrender myself into Your care as the God who heals me.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
As you consider your life right now, what is your bitter water? In what situation do you currently need a touch from Yahweh Rapha?
More from the Girlfriends
Check out Melissa’s Bible study titled The Names of God for an in-depth study of Yahweh Rapha and many other names of God.
© 2021 by Melissa Spoelstra. All rights reserved.