My morning devotional brought to the light the number of times women who were unable to bear children gave birth to key figures in the Bible. Sarah have birth to Isaac, Elizabeth gave birth to John (the Baptist ), even Samson’s mother was unable to have children until a holy messenger appeared with some unexpected news.
The point is these women were touched by God and their life took on a direction they were not expecting. In each of those stories a heavenly being appeared and told them the news: Congrats! You’re having a child! (so I paraphrase). But each had fully accepted they would not have children and what they thought their lives would be – in fact each of them responded with something like: Are you sure? But we’re old… In fact once Samson was born his father begged for the angel to come back and give further instructions (and God fully complied with a nervous dad’s request).
These women were touched by the healing presence of our Lord, and their life began anew.
Jesus spent much of his time healing. Healing lepers, the blind, the lame, and more. Those who needed God’s healing touch were the outsiders, the least in their society, the marginalized; but Jesus touched them – and their life began anew! They were able to see, walk, were without illness – they were free of the life previously lived.
Today many of our churches may be in the same spot as those famous mothers in the Bible. Too many churches are unable to birth anymore disciples. Too many congregations have become irrelevant, too insular, too many churches have acquiesced to being a church with a dwindling or dying congregation. Too many churches have become marginalized in a culture where they once held a prominent role to proclaim the gospel.
But Jesus healed. The angels appeared with good news.
Our congregations are crying out to be healed; to feel the living touch of Jesus and be made new. I believe God is there in our midst and is moving in our churches. Are we willing to listen? If we are ready then the churches we knew will cease to exist – they will be made new in Christ. The mothers lives’ changed drastically – those who were healed by the touch of Jesus were given a new life. The old passed away. Our churches will change if they are going to go forward in a new direction.
Are we willing to live into the new creation?
My prayer is for those longing for a healing touch to be healed. For those who feel lost to feel the comfort of the Lord. And for our churches to be made into new creations.