This is another article in our current series:
“Scars: The Art of Healing”
We’ve explained previously how God can take our wounds – those events that have impacted our lives – and turn them into scars. We defined a wound as an unhealed injury and said that a scar is created from a healed wound. A few weeks ago, we started talking about emotional and spiritual healing. We said that healing is a choice we all need to make. The question we asked is “Do you want to be healed?”
In John 5:6 Jesus asked the same question, “When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” To help us answer the question we started to look at the journey of God’s people from captivity in Egypt to the Promised Land. The Israelites have been freed from captivity by God’s power and now Moses has led them through the desert to the edge of the Promised Land. Moses sent out 12 leaders to explore the land and they’ve returned with their report. Ten are terrified by the very thought of the journey ahead and believe moving forward is impossible, so they want to return to slavery.
So, let’s pick up the story in Numbers 13:30-14:9, “Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” 31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” 32 And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. 33 We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” That night all the members of the community raised their voices and wept aloud. 2 All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness!3 Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” 4 And they said to each other, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.” 5 Then Moses and Aaron fell face down in front of the whole Israelite assembly gathered there. 6 Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes 7 and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. 8 If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. 9 Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”
We said there are important principles from their journey that we can apply to our own path to healing if we are going to turn our wounds to scars. And we’ve already looked at three:
- We need to follow God’s call.
- The journey will not be easy
- And we need to understand our ABCs
A – The right attitude
B – Belief in the power of God
C – Capacity
D – Determinationu
E – Enthusiasm
Which brings us to number four.
The Fourth principle we can learn from their journey is…if we are going to turn our wounds into scars, we need to Put Away Our Excuses.
Let me go back to Jesus’ question, “Do you want to get well?” If the answer is yes, then we need to put away our excuses. Let me ask you a few other questions based on your answer. Is Jesus Christ the Lord of your life? Are you a joint heir of Jesus? Have you been sealed, and filled with the Holy Spirit? Are you a Royal Priesthood, a Holy nation, a person belonging to God? Are you God’s special possession? Is the one living in you greater than the one who is in the world? Then you need to put away your excuses!
To truly understand what I mean, we need to take a closer look at the life of the man who was ready to pick a fight with any giants that stood in his way…Caleb.Unlike the man at the healing pool, in John 5:6, if Jesus asked Caleb “Do you want to get well?”, he wouldn’t have gotten excuses, but a quick and emphatic…yes!
Let’s look at how Caleb spent his golden years.
Joshua 14:7-12, “I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions, 8 but my fellow Israelites who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt in fear. I, however, followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly. 9 So on that day Moses swore to me, ‘The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly.’ 10 “Now then, just as the Lord promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the wilderness. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! 11 I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. 12 Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.”
Look at this man. He never lost sight of his goal. He never gave up on God’s promise. For 45 years he prepared. Now he’s 85 years old and he’s not looking for a rocking chair or to collect shells on the beach. He wants to fulfill his destiny; he wants to take the mountain where the giants lived. He goes looking for a fight. If we are going to turn our wounds into scars we need to go on the offensive! Caleb’s ready to take on a new challenge, no fear. He was saying, give me that mountain, up there where the giants live. Give me the mountain that struck fear in the hearts of the other 10 spies. He chose an overwhelming task for any man at any age. He didn’t want to talk about the good old days and past battles, he was ready for one more. Not with a sense of pride, but with a genuine sense of faith in the presence of God in his life. He said, “The Lord helping me I will drive them out…” Caleb’s greatest fear was not reaching his goal, was not realizing his dream, was not seeing God’s promises fulfilled in his life. And the giants were in his way! They had two choices, move or get crushed. If God calls us, if He promises to turn our wounds into scars, what can stand in our way? Nothing!!! If that’s true, then why are so many of you still living like victims? The only victims in your story should be those who try to stand in your way to healing! Merle Shain wrote, “There are only two ways to approach life – as a victim or as a gallant fighter – and you must decide if you want to act or react…a lot of people forget that.” Here’s the point…stop playing defense, go on offense! Jesus asked, “Do you want to get well?” The time for excuses is over!
I can’t move on to the next phase of our series, the HOW, if we continue to make excuses as to why we can’t heal. Excuses like, “It’s been too long, I’ve tried before and failed, I’m afraid I won’t have the strength.” Deut. 20:4 reminds us, “For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” And remember, our God never loses a battle.
We have so many reasons why we can’t heal, but I believe Caleb’s background and character can give us a glimpse into our own lives. Caleb was a Kenizzite. Gen. 15:19 tells us that the Kenizzites were a tribe of Canaan in Abraham’s day. Originally Caleb’s family was outside the covenant of Israel, like Ruth the Moabite, or Uriah the Hittite. So, his faith was not hereditary, it was built on his own convictions, and he displayed his faith, his confidence in God throughout his life. We need to ask ourselves why we don’t have that kind of confidence in God? Why does our faith often seem so weak? Why are we so afraid of the giants in our lives? Is our faith hereditary or is it conviction? Do we own our faith or did we barrow it from our parents? I guess I’m asking, “Is Jesus Lord of your life?” Answering this question will answer a lot of other questions. God is calling you to fulfill His plan for your life. To step out in His power. To replace fear with faith and claim His promise of healing. Like Caleb, God has called you for a purpose, but you need to allow Him to fulfill that purpose. I said last week, Satan can change your course, but he can’t change your destiny. Most people in the world never completely heal. They’re the walking wounded. That should not be the case with us! We are His people!
There is no desert too long for you to walk
There is no river too wide or deep for you to cross
There is no giant too big for you to slay
There is no mountain too high for you to climb
We are God’s chosen people, filled with His Spirit, heirs to His promises.
In 2 Cor. 11:23-28 Paul reminds us of God’s strength working through him, “I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.”
Listen, Paul was only a man. My point is we can draw from that same power. The enemy is no match for people filled with the Spirit of the living God! Do you believe that Jesus can heal you completely? I’m not talking about feeling a little better. I’m not talking about surviving this life, I’m talking about thriving in this life. I’m talking about total healing…wounds to scars! I’m talking about being cured…total restoration.
In John 10:10 Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life, and have it in all its fullness.”
I said last week I’m not just asking to be healed, I’m asking to be enhanced. Not a healing that leaves me like I was before that event, but stronger. We are standing on the edge of the Promised Land…looking, ready, but now the mighty Jordan river stands between us and our healing. It’s time to cross. Are you ready to step up, are you ready to step in? We’ll talk about facing that challenge…next week.