By Elder Dr MASIMBA MAVAZA
Free to Rest
Memory Text: Psalms 27:1
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
Ma ny of the people Jesus encountered in His earthly ministry were sick, sometimes even unto death. They thronged to Jesus for healing and for rest from their sufferings. And they always received it too.
Sometimes He just spoke a word, and they were fully recovered. Sometimes He touched the sick, and, miraculously, they were healed. Sometimes He sent them off, and healing took place as they went on their way. Jesus healed men, women, children, Jews, non-Jews, rich people, and poor, unassuming people. The worst cases of leprosy and blindness were not beyond His reach. Indeed, He even healed those with the worst “sickness” of all—death.
This week, we look at two very different examples of healing. In the one, the sufferer was so ill that he could not even come to Jesus on his own. His symptoms were clearly visible to everyone. In the other case, there were no obvious visible symptoms. In both cases, healing came in God’s time and way.
As we explore the topic of rest from pain and suffering, we also will contemplate the question that all of us, at some point or another in our Christian walk, have experienced. What happens when our prayers for healing aren’t answered?
SABBATH: Jesus Christ is the Great Physician. He devoted more time to healing the sick of their maladies than to preaching. No ailing soul came to him & left unattended to. He healed by words, by touch, & by command (sending away). The rich, poor, young, old, Jews, & Gentiles all got their healing. We’ll study two kinds of His healing; 1. when signs are visible & 2. when not visible. God answers prayer in His time.
SUNDAY: The “why” questions in life are often asked when one is sick; whether life threatening or not. Has the unhealthy habits made us sick? Is it because of our weight or the drugs we took 20 years ago? The sure thing is that we need rest; physically & mentally when sick. A paralytic self-inflicted his malady on himself but Christ healed him (Mark 2:1-4). Sin is the root of all maladies (see DA, p. 267-271).
MONDAY: In healing the paralytic, Christ tackled the root source for his ailment—sin (Mark 2:5-12). He who is the Searcher of hearts operated not by sight—signs & symptoms but what was unseen. Being alienated from God, He was exposed to sickness & no true rest. He who rests in God is able to face all woes in this world. Christ gave healing to the paralytic in both body & soul (Mark 2:8, 9, Gen. 1).
TUESDAY: Statistical data from the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that over 300 million souls are affected by ailments without symptoms, yearly. Depression, the leading cause of disability in this world is often not talked about in the Christian circles. Some see it as a depiction of lack of faith & hence shy away from raising it (not true). Elijah also got depressed (1 Kings 18 & 19:1-5). God brings joy.
WEDNESDAY: Elijah fled from his post of duty when threatened. If he had faith in God as in Mt. Carmel, he would sparked a major reform in Israel (1 Kings 18:36, 37 & 19:4). When calm, he realized he was just like anyone of us, a sinner in need of a Savior; Christ. He felt weak & was too tired to run. He prayed to God. God sees us as He see Jesus when we pray (Phil. 3:9). Death is not the escape for depression (1 Kings 19:4, 7). Christ is (SC, p. 97).
THURSDAY: As the Burden Bearer, God knew the plight of Elijah. He was physically & emotionally tired. As Jesus gave the paralytic rest, God relieved Elijah from his loads of burden (1 Kings 19:5-8). Elijah was running away from his troubles but God bid him to run to Him. There comes a time in life when we feel down & wants to run. God feels our sorrows & wants to redirect us (1 Kings 19:12, 15, 16 & 2 Kings 2:11, 1:10).
FRIDAY: Times change, but God does not. Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor power shall be able to separate us from God’s love. God is forever good. His relation to us does not change with a change in our circumstances. Always look unto Jesus, for He cares for you. Offer silent prayers in faith & take hold of His strength no matter how you feel. Even when depressed, God listens. His light will find you.
—Ellen G. White, In Heavenly Places, p. 120 & Selected Messages, book 2, pp. 242, 243.
SC- Steps to Christ
DA- The Desire of Ages
Elijah- Elijah was desperate to die under a broom tree, but God had in store for him a fiery chariot ride to heavenly rest.
SUNDAY- Healing Rest
MONDAY- Root Treatment
TUESDAY- Running Away
WEDNESDAY- Too Tired To Run
THURSDAY- Rest And More
📌 It is often very difficult to help someone suffering from mental disorders or depression. What would be a good strategy for your church to learn how to minister more effectively to those affected by depression?
📌 We often struggle to be open and honest before God. Scan through some psalms and see how open and honest the biblical authors were before God. How can we foster an atmosphere of openness and honesty in our local congregation?
📌 Prayer is often difficult when we face depression. Discuss the power of intercessory prayer for those who cannot pray for themselves.
📌 Why is it so important that we remember that faith is not feeling? Just because we are depressed, discouraged, fearful, and worried doesn’t mean we lack faith or trust in God. It means only that, for the moment, we are depressed, discouraged, fearful, and worried, as all of us have been at some point or another. How can we learn that, at times like this, reaching out in faith is so crucial, no matter how difficult it may seem?
📌 What great hope can you take from the story of the paralytic, especially if a sinful lifestyle has brought disease and sickness upon you?