H is for HEALING
The healing of the nations is fruit of his promise, that all nations will know his fullness, his wholeness--his shalom.
Health for all
At peace with God's creation
Loving relationships with God and others
Intentional changes in society
No more tears
God's will on earth as it is in heaven
Recently I read a Florida State University dissertation entitled Shalom and Its Relationship to Health/ Healing in the Hebrew Scriptures.* In it the author says that, "All shalom that is disrupted is in need of healing and restoration so that it may be reclaimed and God's cosmic order reestablished." (p. 61) The reestablishing of "God's cosmic order" is within our reach!
Obedience is essential for a healthy shalom relationship between God and us (his worshipers). Psalm 119:165 describes shalom as a state of well-being. The challenge to be God's obedient people, who are experiencing that blessing of "well-being," becomes very personal if we dare ask ourselves the question from the Lord through the prophet Haggai: What are we doing building our paneled houses and elaborate landscapes when God's "temple," the intended Body of Christ, is in shambles around the world? (see Haggai 1:3); when there are people from many nations in harm's way whom God wants to redeem for his glory (Is. 11:9)?
God's intention at the end of history is to restore shalom relationships throughout creation. God's intends to "wipe away every tear" (Rev 21:4) caused by imperfect relationships. Working toward shalom relationships is the mission of God and this is our mission as well. Until God ushers in that final perfect new heaven and new earth, Christ's followers serve as God's display window, showing what God's kingdom is meant to look like.
Paul Pierson once said in a presentation he gave at the Venture Center, "We are called to call people to become followers of Jesus as authentic disciples of Jesus in their culture and to show something to the world of what the Kingdom of God means, and what its values are…. What passion has God given you? If he gives you a passion, He'll give you the gifts to go with it."
The Body of Christ contains people with the gifts to "do" shalom in many different areas: justice, peacekeeping, skill-building for economic independence, health, fighting and eradicating disease, etc. All of these peacemaking activities can potentially demonstrate the values of the Kingdom and bring shalom into the lives of troubled people and societies. Before he left, Jesus promised to give shalom to his disciples when they were in the midst of trouble: "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace [eirene]. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)
So, take heart, brothers and sisters. The shalom of Jesus is upon you. And now is the time to obey him and carry his shalom to the nations.
If you would like to read more about shalom, health, healing, and wholistic development, I recommend the following resources:
*Savage, Joseph M. 2001. Shalom and Its Relationship to Health/ Healing in the Hebrew Scriptures: A Contextual and Semantic Study of the Books of Psalms and Jeremiah. PhD diss. Florida State University.
This article was written by Beth Snodderly, President of William Carey International University