For my parents as they battled fatal illnesses?
For my nephew and his family as the little guy underwent (successful) cancer treatment?
For folks in brick and mortar prisons whose souls are burden with the consequences of their errors and whose guilt grows as they watch their families struggling?
For folks bowed down and overburdened with additions running from work-a-holism to heroin, pornography to emotional eating to running other people's lives?
For expectant mothers and new parents anxiously scanning the horizon for any potential hazard to their child?
For those whose bodies are under siege from injury and illness, those who struggle with mental health issues, those whose souls are weary and sick?
For survivors of crime, fire, war, poverty, hopelessness, pain, fear, anxiety, and abuse.
For myself, those I love, those they love, members of our church family and those they love, folks whose stories make the newspaper and evening news, and folks whose stories come through social media or from the heart a weeping stranger?
God knew that my life in this temporary home would include much suffering and struggling and weeping and exhaustion, yet millennia before I was born revealed Himself as the God who Heals. The joy of prayer for the suffering is that it comforts and heals both the object of the petition and the prayer of the petition.
God heals in so many ways. Today we thank God for the life of a beloved family member, Woman of God, whose prayers to go home were answered on Christmas Day. Her family will miss her, but so much of what was amazing about her lives on in her children and grandchildren. Her deepest longing to meet her Creator face-to-face was granted. And she left confident, not only in her own destination, but in God's commitment to offer comfort and compassion to the children and grandchild whose lives here feel diminished today.
Jehovah-Rapha, we thank you for healing our beloved sister in Christ, and for Your tender care of her family as they learn to live with the new normal. AMEN