August 15, 2013, by Kristin Neva
In the Fall of 2010, we went to Northern Minnesota so Todd could hunt possibly one last time. I hit the Deer Widows’ Craft Sales with Todd’s mom. Still reeling from Todd’s diagnosis and the loss of our dreams, some engraved beach rocks caught my eye. I found all of our names and another rock that said “Our Love Is Forever.” As I paid for the rocks, the seller reached down and grabbed a rock from a basket. “Here’s an extra one. You can have it.”
The rock was engraved with the words “God can.”
Back at home in Wisconsin, I set the rock on the window sill above my kitchen sink and read the words on it often. We were praying for Todd’s healing, praying for our house to sell, praying for peace and joy.
Over a year later our house finally sold and I packed the rocks amongst other miscellaneous items. We moved to my hometown, built a handicap-accessible home across field from my parents, and settled into life in Upper Michigan.
Another year has passed and I am still getting organized. I came across the rocks a few days ago. Smiling, I placed them on the kids’ bathroom counter. Sara and Isaac excitedly found their names. Sara read the writing on the other rocks. “God can,” she read. “God can do what? What does that mean?”
“You tell me,” I said. “What can God do?”
“He can turn water into wine. He can walk on water. He can feed 5,000 people. He can heal.”
Yes. God can heal.
I am teaching Sunday School at our church this summer. The curriculum for last Sunday paired the story of Jesus’ healing the blind man in Mark 8 with the verse Philippians 4:19, “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”
The curriculum pointed out that just as Jesus met the blind man’s need for healing, He will meet our needs. So where’s the healing for Todd?
To put Philippians 4:19 in context, Paul writes in verse 11: “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need…”
Wait a minute. Paul was in need? Paul was telling the Philippians that God will meet their needs even as he was in prison, at times hungry and in want.
Paul goes on to say, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”
God promises us strength. Maybe we get healed. Maybe we don’t. But He is with us, giving us strength.
We continue to pray for Todd’s healing yet the ALS slowly and relentlessly progresses. At the same time we see God’s hand in the timing of our house sale, in the building of our house with people volunteering to help with various projects at just the right time, and now we are in a place where we have the support of nearby family and are building new friendships.
Paul saw God using him to share the message of salvation through faith in Christ. And I am finding joy in passing on the things I am learning from God’s word to the Sunday School kids, helping prepare them to face adversity, teaching them that although life doesn’t always go the way we would choose, even in the midst of prison or pain, we can praise the God who is with us, giving us strength.
So what was the point of all those healings and miracles that Jesus did? To show us that Jesus is God’s son, the promised Savior. Jesus fulfilled prophecy when he healed people, he showed love and compassion to the sick and disabled he came in contact with, but He didn’t go around seeking out people to heal. In fact, in Mark 8 He told the blind man not to go into the village. He didn’t want the emphasis of His ministry to be His miracles when He had something much bigger on His mind. Jesus came to give us spiritual healing through faith in Him.
After Jesus healed the blind man He asked Peter, “Who do you say I am?” Peter told Him, “You are the Christ.” Jesus told the disciples not to tell anyone and then began to teach them about what was coming: His death and resurrection, the reason He came to this earth. He tells the crowd, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.” Our Lord suffered and died on a cross for us. Here on earth, we too suffer, and we follow Him.