Summary: Spiritual health and healing
Introduction. Isaiah promised that "God will come ... and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing" (Isaiah 35:4-6). When John the Baptist sent some of his disciples to Jesus inquiring if He really was the Messiah, Jesus answered, "The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them" (Matthew 11:5). Isaiah’s promise was being literally fulfilled in the ministry of Jesus, and it continues to be fulfilled in the ministry of His church.
One promised relief captures our attention: "Then shall the lame man leap as an hart." This miraculous recovery from a crippling disorder is similar to the kind of experience undergone by everyone who has been made spiritually well by the Great Physician. Spiritual lameness may be called moral impotence, that weakness which keeps all of us from being as healthy and sound in spiritual matters as we ought to be. Let us consider three types and causes of physical lameness and how they typify certain kinds of spiritual lameness.
I. Lame by Birth. Some people are born crippled. How disappointing to parents and frustrating to medical science that children continue to be brought into the world with birth defects. How much greater yet is the tragedy for children to be born with spiritual handicaps. the serious guilt of the latter situation lies in the fact that spiritual lameness is not actually in the child, but in the home. The guilt belongs to the parents who do not provide a healthy spiritual atmosphere. How often have we heard, "The poor kid didn’t have a chance with those kind of parents."
In the early part of the Bible, the Old Testament philosophers observed that "the fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on the edge" (Ezekiel 18:2). Jeremiah contends that God is working for a state of human life when everyone shall suffer for his own sin, and not for the sin of his fathers. We believe that this has been accomplished in Christ, who has the power to rescue every man from the guilt heritage of his ancestry. Paul reinterated that everyone of shall give account of himself before God. Yet, there still remains the fact that children are born with personality tendencies that are more susceptible to temptation and enviroments where resistance is weak. Many careless, selfish parents will some day answer for the moral cripples the have furnished society.
II. Lame by Accident. An accident is the intrusion of an outside force into the order and well-being of a person or thing. Most accidents do not just "happen"; they are caused, usually by carelessness. When we speak of spiritual accidents we do not mean to imply that sin is excusable and unavoidable. On the contrary, sin does not just "happen" either; there is a specific cause thay may begin in carelessness or ignorance.
Regardless of orgin or intention, the effect is just as crippling. A sin, and more especially a life of sin, will twist and mangle the finest specimen of moral strength. Traveling toward the Light, men are suddenly struck down with the darkness of sin and carry the scar of the encounter all their lives. It was just for such cripples that Christ came to earth.
The glorious message of the cross is His willingness to forgive. Even those who have knowingly and willingly sinned can find help in binding their wounds and mending their bones at Calvary.
III. Lame by Time. The world is full of the lame who are weary with age and stooped by many long years. Their visions of youth have failed and life has broken some of its promises. Because these have not known the success they wanted, they assume that life is pretty well over.
They have accepted the world’s maxim that "nothing succeeds like success." Jesus, on the contrary, states that nothing fails like success. He offers a new concept of life through death and gaining by giving. He holds up unusually bright hope for the weary, assuring them that all in not over, and all is not lost; there is still work for them in the Master’s vineyard. "Show me a thoroughly satisfied man, and I will show you a failure." -Edison.
"The secret of success is consistency of purpose."-Disraeli. Those of us who are weary on the journey will need to remember of both men.
Conclusion. Artists used to write at the bottom of their pictures: "Finished, by the help of God." Our life is not over yet. Let us here determine that the rest of it shall be finished by His help and that He will make us whole and healthy for His service.