By His Stripes We Are Healed?
Praying Isaiah 53
“I stand here and hold my pain. I nurture it. Though I hate it…I love it. It is the one thing standing between me and freedom, yet I hold it dear for I am entitled to it. In front of me standing patiently is Christ. His hands are held out waiting for me to hand over my hurt, my pain, my anger, my un-forgiveness, my resentment…
He is not pushy, He does not insist on His way, He will not take this out of my hands. He just waits. Ever so patiently, He waits for me to realize I really don’t need or want this pain after all.
What does it mean that He died to heal the broken hearted? What does it mean that He came to set the captives free? What is “by His stripes we are healed” supposed to mean anyway?
At the cross He defeated everything evil; He broke every form of bondage on this earth. He died to set us all free. Sin and death lost its grip on mankind. When I give myself to Christ nothing has power over me anymore because His resurrection showed His power over all things.
If all that He did was for my benefit…to set me free and to heal me…than is it an insult to Him for me to hang onto my pain? Lord, please help me let go. Teach me to let it all go.”
I wrote this over 20 years ago…I don’t even know what to call it-A poem? Poetic journal entry? A rant? I wrote it as I struggled through my own story of pain. The struggle to hold on is real. The struggle to let go is hard. If you are anything like me, you want the relief that comes with healing, but the work that it requires sometimes seems like too much, and the courage to forgive is almost out of reach. In fact, it is my experience that forgiving in and of itself brings pain initially.
I am writing this narrative about the poetic rant years after I initially wrote it. Day after day I have prayed Isaiah 53:3-5 over myself (See Scripture below). “Lord, please heal me!!” became my daily plea to God starting years ago, yet it has often felt it was met by silence. It began to feel pointless in some ways.
My silly human nature tends to think that when I pray for something, God should act immediately as the words pour out of my mouth. I feel even more entitled when I am mature enough to use Scripture to pray over my situation. The more elaborate my Scripture quotes and words, the more powerfully and quickly I thought (and still think) he should move. But that’s not what happened. In some ways things seemed to get worse. But there was this small light of hope in the back of my soul that I have clung to. A small piece of me held tight to that hope as I continued to claim Isaiah 53, and plea for the healing.
I didn’t realize it at first but God was actually moving in my pain. God had a purpose for my pain, God was healing me as He was breaking me and allowing the pain. And God was challenging me to stand firm in spite of my pain.
God has promised us that He will heal us. Sometimes healing looks different than how we think it should look. Perhaps it’s a relationship you are praying will heal. Yes, God longs to see unity in His people, and if it is a marital relationship God does hate divorce, but you cannot be the one to heal the other person, and God will not push His will on anyone else. You can claim the healing for yourself, but the loved one you are praying over may reject it. That is a risk we take when we love others, the risk of a broken heart, or unfulfilled expectations.
Receive the healing for yourself and continue to love the other person anyway. Love them in a way that is healthy for you and healthy for them, whatever that means. God’s healing will show up, even if it’s not the way you hope. On the other side of your broken heart, you will be healed and a better person for what you had to go through.
You may be praying over physical healing. We live in a broken world. Pain and sickness is a part of our experience here. Healing on this earth may be different than what we perceive it to be. As we pray over our health, it may be that God will not touch our physical bodies this side of heaven, but He will heal our spiritual self. He may not heal the body, but give us strength and lessons surrounding our physical ailments. Our ways are not the same as His ways, and His ways are always higher (Isaiah 55:8-9). As we believe this we will begin to heal.
It may be some form of mental illness. Anxiety, depression, trauma induced mental anguish. Far too often we look to other things to heal this kind of pain. Some things that we look towards are tools that God can use to help heal us, but they should never take the place of faith that God can heal us. I tend to believe there are different levels of healing when it comes to mental illness. God can take it all away, but sometimes He allows us to walk with a “thorn in our flesh” for his own purposes. I have heard of many people who struggled with Bi-Polar disorder. Though they prayed for God’s healing, they continued to struggle. Yet God used their struggle to mold them into mighty prayer warriors. I have also known of people who struggled with PTSD and suicidal ideation for years and they were fully delivered from it.
Ephesians 6 says to stand firm. The key to find the healing is understanding that it is already there for us is to pray and ask God for, and then we have to stand. Stand in Faith, and stand in truth. Stand when it is easy and keep standing when we are tempted to stop standing. From the time I began praying my prayer to the time I recognized that God had answered it was a period of about eighteen months. Things got worse before they got better. I got angry at God and I could barely talk to Him during my time of standing, but I stood. And now I see very clearly what he was doing.
I pray with my readers for healing. Whatever it is that this person who is reading this right now is going through, you Lord are very aware of it. Lord Jesus, You were wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities. The punishment that brought peace to all of mankind was upon You and by Your stripes we are healed. Lord Jesus, I ask for healing on this person who is reading this. Please don’t let the blood You shed go unrecognized because it is hard for us to understand Your ways. Give this individual the courage to stand as You do your good work. May they learn to stand with the belt of truth securely in place around their waste. May they stand with the shield of faith, no matter how heavy that shield is to hold. Give this person the strength to stand until You see it fit to reveal to them that you have been right there by their side this whole time.
Thank you Lord for hearing my prayer. It is in the priceless, matchless name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior that I ask all of this,
"He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held Him in low esteem. Surly He took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered Him punished by God, stricken by Him and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him and by His stripes we are healed."