Our lives are reflected in still water- (Psalm 23)
But healing comes when the water is stirred up- (John 5:2-9)
“He leads me beside still waters, he restores my soul.”
Such peaceful words. The image of God as a gentle shepherd, leading us to a place of safety, where we can recover from the wounds of the world.
Sometimes, we need such a sanctuary: a place far away from the rat race, away from the constant beatings our spirits endure in the land of push and shove. When we are broken, crushed, and defeated, we ache for that quiet place where we can be restored.
There, beside the calm waters, we can be renewed. Now with time to gaze into the refreshing pool, we can see the reflection of our lives. In that reflective moment, God can show us His hopes, His plans. There is a time to give the worn-out spirit a time to rest in the loving lap of God. There is a time when restoration of the soul requires quiet.
But sometimes, the path to healing is not found at the pool of still water. Sometimes, healing comes when we enter the troubled water. Sometimes, healing will come from striving against the turbulence.
The athlete injures a muscle. Immediately, the numbing power of ice alternates with the soothing warmth of still waters. The injured muscles are bound up, keeping them still to limit further damage. The therapies are designed to summon the healing power of extra blood supply to the injured area, and to rest the afflicted area for a time.
Rest is for a time. But rest alone will not bring full healing. Initially, rest stops the injury process and gives the muscles time to get over the trauma. There is a time when rest is the best medicine. But only for a time. If rest is the only therapy, then after a long while, the muscle will heal, but it will have lost much of its strength. It will be whole again, but much, much weaker. Rest alone seriously deteriorates the muscle’s ability to do what it was made to do: work.
After a brief time of rest, the best healing comes from working the muscles. After the initial day or two with ice and warm heat, the trainer switches to the whirlpool. Legs stride and arms swim against the surging current of the whirlpool, and in the striving against the stirred up waters, the muscles regain their strength.
Muscles are much easier to heal than souls. When our souls are hurt, the wound goes much deeper, the disability is much more severe.
In that first stage, God leads our damaged souls to the place of safe pastures and still waters; a place where the trauma of the soul can be stopped; a place of safety and security where we can rest and reflect.
That is exactly what we need at first. But if we were to remain there, our spirits would wither. Complete healing will come when we enter the stirred-up waters of spiritual life. Wholeness and restoration of our spirits comes when we exercise those “spiritual muscles” against the turbulence of life.
Our spirits regain their strength when we venture back out into the world which has caused the damage and proclaim the healing power of Christ Jesus. In the turbulence is where we grow.
Our lives are reflected in still water
But healing comes when the water is stirred up