* preaching notes from my message at The River Christian Church, Sunday 26th April

God is my healer.  I have seen Him time and time do dramatic WOW unexplainable radical things in my life and body.  This morning I’m going to weave my story into what I share about how God is our healer.  He is Yahweh Rapha – God our Healer.

I don’t know about you, but this week as I’ve read my Bible, I’ve had a whole new perspective of the name and heart of God.  Every time I read LORD GOD in all caps, or Jehovah God, or Yahweh God, it has touched my heart in a new way.  This is His personal name, His personal revelation of His heart towards us.  This is His personal promise, not out of duty as God or I must cos I’m God, but out of His love and grace towards us.  How awesome is that.

As we discover the different revelations of God’s name, the different expressions of His character and heart, our hope is that you will be inspired to a new level of love and awe at our incredible God who is all powerful, all creative, all wise, all loving, all amazing and that as you live that out in your real life that these are the truths that you hold onto.

We have to be confident in the character of God.  He is deliberately mysterious. God is outside the box, His ways are higher, His thoughts are above any spectrum our thoughts are on.  I believe He also calls us deeper, to seek out those depths of who He is, to stretch out beyond what we know today into more revelation and truth.  God is inviting us into more.

Jeremiah 29:11-13For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will SEEK me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

God invites us to seek Him and promises those who seek, will find.

We are just like the Israelites, on a journey.

If you could turn to, or turn on, Exodus 15:22-26 – which is where we find the Israelites and were we find God reveal, for the first time, His name, Yahweh Rapha.

Yahweh Rapha means God is our healer.  He is our great physician.  He is the one who heals our diseases and our brokenness.  He repairs our lives and restores and keeps us in health.

Psalm 103 says:
Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The revelation of this name of God, this defining name worthy characteristic, reveals that God’s heart to us is to heal us and restore us. It is God’s personal promise, woven into His name, to care for us and to demonstrate His great power over all of creation to keep us in health.   It comes from His heart and is His heart for you and I today.

The first time God reveals Himself as Yahweh Rapha is found in Exodus 15.

Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they travelled in the desert without finding water. 23 When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah.[f]) 24 So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?”

25 Then Moses cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became fit to drink.

There the LORD issued a ruling and instruction for them and put them to the test. 26 He said, “If you listen carefully to the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you.”

27 Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there near the water.

 Exodus 15:22 -27

I love the picture this paints of life and of the journey we are all on.

Have you ever hit a wall?  Ever been in a place where it’s like “ENOUGH!”  Ever had a season where everything seems to be falling apart, of where you feel like it’s just too hard to bear?  Have you ever had to deal with situations that are just too raw and have you gasping for hope?

The word Shur literally means WALL.  You’ve hit the wall.  There is no way forward.  That wall for you may be called sickness.  It may be relationship breakdown.  It may be financial constraint.  It may be pain and problem.   It may be something ongoing or something that blindsided you.

You may feel like the Israelites did, walking around blind in the desert, parched and with no hope in sight.   It’s the same old, same old.  Sand in your shoes.  Sand in your mana.  Sand in the very pores of your skin.

When you’re in a season of prolonged pain it can feel like an empty, lonely place.  Everywhere you turn the horizon looks the same.  Sand everywhere.

In the midst of the difficult season – when you feel like you’re walking in the desert Shur – when you’ve hit a wall – this is when we need to hold onto the truth of WHO GOD IS.  He Yahweh Healer.  He is near.  Personal.  Powerful.

20 years ago I had an amazing prophecy that God would heal me.  I had grown up relatively normal, but in the previous month had developed severe eczema.   To the point they were going to hospitalize me because my skin was just falling off. It was pretty dreadful.  Anyway at church we had a guest speaker from the UK and I went along one night and snuck in the side, the back row of the end section, where I could hide in the shadows.  He told me that God would heal me and that it was in my blood.  In the 20 years that followed I have learnt alot about allergies and eczema and it is in the blood as your body betrays you and fights against what should be normal.

There were plenty of walls that I hit over the 20 years.  Plenty of walls that God then knocked down.  Plenty of lows and plenty of highs.

Time and time again I would come back to God with His promise.  God you said you would heal me.

Time and time again progressively God would change something and I would get a breakthrough.

In the last 9 years however I hit a pretty big wall.  The desert sand of sickness seemed endless and it was exhausting.  Physically.  Emotionally.  Spiritually.

God where are you?   God do you see me?  God….

There were times I got raw and honest with God.  It’s okay to feel a little mad and a lot confused. Our God is big enough to handle our honest feelings. Deliberately mysterious.  But we mustn’t let our feelings lead us away from God or away from His truth.

Anyone relate here?

I’m sure that is the position the Israelites were in.  They had spent 3 days travelling, without water.

And then a glimmer on the horizon.  A scout comes running back, a rumour rustles through the formations.  Water.

Hold yourself in that moment.  Don’t read on! Imagine the emotions of the Israelites.  And then… the disappointment.

When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah.[f]) 24 So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?”

Ahhh the journey of life.  Ups and downs.  Roadblocks.  Detours. Blindsides.

How often is it at this point we throw our hands up and say “well that’s the last straw!”  “God you promised!”  “come on!” and we let our emotions dissolve into discouragement.

There were many times in my healing journey when I was like, really?  Like the time that I had an allergy test and out of the 18 things I could be allergic to, I was allergic to 15 of them.  Only to do the test 2 years later and not only did I add those 3 but a whole heap of other allergens too!  My specialist called me complex.  My dr said I was off the charts!  Over achiever much?

25 Then Moses cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a tree. He threw it into the water and the water became safe to drink.

There was a tree.  Say that to your neighbour.  There was a tree.

Now, a little botany lesson here.  Trees take a long time to grow.  They start as seeds and grow.

This tree was by this spring on purpose with a purpose.  Throughout time God had forseen a day when the waters of Marah would be visited by His Chosen People and that they would be thirsty and discouraged.  He knew that this was an opportunity for them to see His power and wisdom and for them to grow in faith.  To see that God is good, all the time.

Now I’m not sure that there are landscapers in the desert, so one can assume that one day, a bird ate a fruit somewhere, and flew over by the waters and poop…. the circle of life and the wonder of natures landscaping begins!

That seed became a tree.  A tree that God then used to prove His power and grace.  God showed Moses the tree and when Moses threw a branch into the water the water became safe to drink.

God has prepared a way forward for you.  A way of healing and freedom.  Just as He prepared the tree for the bitterness of the waters to become sweet, so He has prepared healing for you to make the bitterness of your circumstance become sweet.

God has prepared healing for every area of your life.  Yahweh Rapha heals the brokenhearted and brokenspirited.  He forgives us all our brokenness.  He repairs situations that lie in ruins.  He is our provider.  He gives us peace in the midst of the storm.  Whatever you face God is the answer.  Not He has the answer, but He is the answer.

What is the tree for your situation?  What is the miracle that God is going to do?

For me my miracle happened last year at Conference.

For me my desert of Shur, my wall, and my bitter waters was that I was so restricted in what I could eat, and yet still wasn’t well.  Before I was diagnosed I lived my life like had been hit by a bus.  Exhausted, all the time.  I would have strange pains and strange reactions that just seemed so random.  My body was betraying me.  I was constantly low in essential nutrients.  In the end I went to a dr who ran some bloods and immediately booked me into specialists.  I spent the next year having blood test after blood test and excluding this food and that food in effort to get to the bottom and make sense of what was going on.  About 4 years ago I couldn’t eat anything with wheat, egg, dairy, nuts, seafood, most fruits like banana and cats and dogs.  Not that I was eating the cats or dogs.  I was allergic to grass and trees and wanted to get shares in Kleenex.  Despite my best efforts at being a food nazi and only eating what was on my limited list I was still frequently ill to the point that my life revolved around my health.  I took antihistamines every day and carried an epi pen.

In the midst of this however I knew that God was at work.  I knew that God had promised, both specifically and generally.  He is Yawheh Healer.  My body would say “you’re sick” but my faith would say that ONE DAY God would do something to blow my mind.  In the midst of this circumstance I held onto the promise.

But how do we walk through seasons of difficulty with faith and victory?

There is a tension between circumstance UNTIL promise.

Blind Bartimaeous was blind UNTIL Jesus healed Him.

The lepers had leporsay UNITL Jesus healed them.

Lazarous was dead UNTIL Jesus raised him to life.

A tension between sickness and that moment of healing.

A tension between relationship ruin and relationship restoration.

A tension between crisis and victory.

Waiting can be the hardest thing you will face as a Christian.  Oh how we need hope in that waiting space.  We need to stir our faith so that the waiting draws us closer to God instead of weakening our relationship.  Waiting is so counter human.

You may need to walk through some desert and hit a wall until your miracle comes.  You may have to live in that UNTIL until your provision comes.  You may have to experience UNTIL until change comes.

UNTIL does not change who God is.  UNTIL does not diminish His power.  UNTIL does not mean He does not love you.  UNTIL does not limit God.

But there are keys we can take ahold of so that we can thrive with faith and victory UNTIL….

  1. Know who God is. Know His heart.  We have to have confidence in the character of God.
  2. Know the promises of God. Not just for physical healing, but about hope and how He cares for us and heals the brokenhearted.
  3. Know you are a loved child of God, whom God delights in and has compassion on. Your struggle is not your identity. Often when we’re walking through something that begins to consume us.  Guilty here.  There is a difference between owning something and making the best out of it and it owning you.
  4. Keep walking. Don’t give up.  Imagine if the Israelites gave up 20ks out of Marah?  Keep walking.  Peter gave us 5 great keys on Sunday night that we could connect with this topic… do whatever it takes to keep walking WITH God and towards God.  Do whatever it takes to feed your faith and starve your fears.
  5. Filter your life through His truth – this counts in so many ways. What is GOD saying about your journey.  I once had someone tell me that I didnt have enough faith which is why I wasnt getting healed.  Not helpful.  Other people wanted me to drag up a list of sins that perhaps caused it.  Not helpful.  Filter your experience through the truth of the word of God.
  6. Let your heart become sweeter – as I was sick God worked in my heart to develop compassion and wisdom. He made the waters of my heart sweeter as I trusted Him and found my hope in Him.  My heart is softer for those who walk through chronic illness because of my own experience.  As I sat in waiting rooms I would talk with people and pray with people and I could completely understand how they felt and their fears and tears.
  7. Find someone you can be real with. Sometimes in the outside it looks like we have it all together.  But in the inside we’re broken. We don’t have to do life alone.  We dont have to have it all together. Especially in the difficult places.

I was healed on September 13th in the morning session of conference.  Ps James Anson had a word of knowledge of a couple of conditions to pray for for healing.  And severe food allergies was one of them.  I was sitting right there, in the front row and could almost audiably here the ooooh as I stood.  People got around me and prayed and as I was getting prayed for something changed.  There was a big YES in my spirit.  I knew that I knew that I knew.  I had been prayed for many a time and people would say “you should test it, go and eat” and I’d be like, bless your heart, no thanks.  Even on the Friday night of conference I was having some weird cross contaimation reaction.  But I knew at that moment that I was healed.  That God had healed me.  That my UNTIL moment was here.  When Ps James said to the people with carpel tunnel and arthritis to test it I knew I could too.  I dashed around the corner to get caramel slice and right in front of everyone ate it.  Freaked some people out.  Rightly so, UNTIL I had been healed that would have probably triggered something incredibly nasty.  Within minutes I would have been itchy and dizzy and sneezy and then within 10 minutes I would have been making friends with the bathroom, feeling like I had been hit by a bus.  It would have taken a month for my system to recover.   But I ate.  And had no reaction.  I was healed.  Jesus healed me.

There was a tree.

There is a tree there for you.  Say it again to your neighbour.  There is a tree.

2000 years ago God used another tree to prove His power and grace.  A tree that God had prepared from before the foundation of the world.  Jesus Christ hung and died on that tree to give us a new life and to heal us from all our diseases.  By His stripes we are healed.   There is a tree.  Yahweh Rapha, The Lord who heals, was wounded for our sin.  The Healing God bore upon Himself all our sicknesses and death for our healing, physically, emotionally, spiritually, eternally.  There is a tree.

When God looks at me He sees Jesus, His perfect Son who fulfilled every part of the law, who was obedient in all things.  By that perfect man’s death and obedience I am healed.  In Christ I am righteous.  He came and lived the life I could never live and died the death I deserved so that I can walk in healing and favour with God.

Today God wants to meet with you as Yahweh Healer.  Today there is a tree.  In the UNTIL we declare that God is good and that God is great.

I feel that there are people today who need fresh hope, who need a fresh encounter with God to stir the waters of their heart and encourage them in the waiting zone.

There are people here that God wants to heal.  He is our healer.  Inside and outside.  Body and heart.

There are people here who need to know that there is a tree for your marriage, for your children, for your provision, for your healing, for your stress, for your depression, for your grief, for your pain.  There is a tree.  Jesus died for you so that you could walk in the freedom and grace He offers.