Scripture: Acts 9:32-43
Key verse: (42) “This became known throughout Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.”
Reflection: There are two miraculous healings in today’s scripture passage. Both stories reinforce Peter’s authority to minister in the name of Jesus Christ. The healing of Tabitha – raising her from the dead – renewed Peter’s relationship with the community of widows. Earlier in the book of Acts, the Apostles got off to a bad start with this group. Now they have the opportunity to give thanks for him and the power of Christ to heal. The healing of Aeneas led an entire community to turn to the Lord. These are wonderful stories about how God uses God’s power to transform lives – not just the lives of those who were healed but the lives of everyone who witnessed the healing. There is still a question that followers of Jesus ask and wonder about: why are some people healed and others are not? It is natural for us to want the same healing in our lives that we read about in scripture.
When my best friend became ill years ago, many faithful people prayed for her. I prayed every day, pleading with God to heal her so that she could see her son grow up. Our prayers were fervent, yet in 1990, when her son was 8, she died anyway. I have prayed for many people over the years. Some have recovered and some have not. There is a mystery here that only God understands. The cancer that killed my friend now has a chemo protocol available that puts the cancer into remission. Healing in now possible for many women. So, even though it came too late for her, I am grateful to God that the gifts given to medical researchers make healing a possibility now. Of course, I have seen how God heals in many ways beyond my expectation and imagination. I don’t pretend to understand these miracles. I have also seen people healed, but not cured. I have seen relationships restored and new and renewed faith emerge. God takes a wider view that is often hard for us to understand, but if we look carefully we can see the active presence and mercy of God all around us. God is present and calls us to live by faith. In the book of Hebrews, we are reminded that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” No matter the outcome, praise be to God who continues to heal and to help.
Prayer: Merciful God, there are so many things we don’t understand. Help us to place our lives in your hands knowing that nothing can separate us from your love. We give thanks that you hear our cries for healing and that you are always with us, no matter what might happen in this life. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Author: Deborah Conner
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].