“I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.” (2 Timothy 2:8-10)
I must admit, I left writing to the last minute this week! Of course our Heavenly Father is always looking for ways to draw us nearer to him, and he’s got me tonight. I spent the majority of the last 3 days driving our van with our very spicy two year old in the back. She was a flower girl in a family wedding so she and I went on a very long journey to Topeka, KS to be a part of a very special day. Many miles later, I’m sitting down with my Bible and cup of water to connect with you and His word. This was my first read through, and what did I find? The very words I heard and prayed on at the wedding this weekend! This Bible Journal project has been such a blessing to me. Even on a night like this one, when I’m tired and not sure what to write about, God takes up the pen and sends a message.
I love that God gently nudged me to see this passage again. When I heard it during the wedding, I immediately thought about the surface level implications. God wants us to come to him as ourselves with modesty and with raised hands. He wants us to show him that our love for him is genuine. I heard the thread that reminded us all that a marriage is about bringing one another closer to God through good works, not just putting on fancy dresses and jewelry. Today, I’m hearing another deeper level of communication from my Father. He begins this passage by asking us to come and pray without anger or quarreling. I considered this even more tonight in the context of our first reading from 2 Kings 5. Naaman is suffering from leprosy but is hesitant to dip in the Jordan 7 times as God commands in order to be healed.
How many of us come to the alter carrying anger? How many of us are desperate for healing but aren’t quite ready to follow God’s path to get there? When families get together, there is always a Naaman. There is quarreling and old anger that wells up. God gives us an opportunity in 2 Timothy to come to Him with our hands raised, without the distraction of braids and golden rings. This weekend I witnessed some healing that I know was initiated by His love. Our family was broken many years ago by some infidelity, some lies and subsequent divorce. This event brought those people face to face for the first time in a decade, in a church. And in that church, we heard those words from 2 Timothy! And after that ceremony, there were some handshakes and even some hugs! Like Naaman, our family has carried this burden for years. When we come to the alter to pray and to give ourselves to Him, He heals us. At the end of the night, I said my goodbyes. Without fear or hesitation I opened my arms to the one that began this hurt so many years ago. Within that hug, I heard the words, “I love you.”
If you are hurting GO to Him. If you think that the pain is too deep, if you think you have been suffering for too long GO to Him. Ask him for healing and then follow his commands. There is hope in our Heavenly Father’s love.