“I taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by their arms; But they did not know that I healed them.” Hosea 11:3
“But they did not know that I healed them.”
Nine simple words.
Nine profound words.
Seven hundred years before Jesus.
Almost 3000 years before our time.
Yet still so relevant.
“But they did not know that I healed them.”
In the context of Hosea “healed” is referring to being made spiritually complete and whole. The children of Israel were rebellious and headstrong. They repeatedly turned away from God and insisted on doing things their own way. They worshipped idols and sought worldly pleasures. But over and over the book of Hosea speaks of returning to God. Of repentance and redemption. Hosea 14:4 “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely.”
The parallels of Hosea to our current world and culture are undeniable. We live in world of people, broken and hurting, suffering and striving, reaching for anything and everything they think will make them “feel” good. Searching for a healing they cannot attain on their own. Never finding a place of peace and contentment. It plays out in our homes, our churches, our schools, our workplaces . . . always grasping for more, seeking ever elusive satisfaction and freedom. Never coming to the realization that there is healing and wholeness and freedom found at the foot of the cross.
But we do not know that Jesus healed us.
We do not truly realize that what He did in dying on the cross and rising again brought to us a completion and a healing that far exceeds anything physical we could ever reach here on this earth. Even within the church we don’t quite get it. We walk around defeated, heartsick and heartbroken. We struggle emotionally and mentally. We’re angry and bitter, full of fear and anxiety. We’re never quite satisfied. We put men and things, attendance and activity, in the place of God, and we look to humans to do what only God can do. We do not fully grasp that we are healed. No matter what this world throws at us. No matter how awful things may seem around us. We are healed.
Every time I read those words in Hosea they hit me as if it’s the first time I’ve read them. The people of God, rebellious and striving, struggling and not understanding they are healed. God’s never ending compassion to rescue them time and again. My own struggling, worrying, trying to measure up, trying to be perfect, and never fully comprehending, I am healed.
What’s the catch? What’s the “condition” that must be met in order to embrace and live in this healing?
Submission to the cross.
Acceptance of the Savior.
Obedience to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Relinquishment of control.
It’s so simple. So basic, and yet, so complicated. Because nothing seems more daunting than submitting and accepting, obeying and relinquishing. It’s not so much about doing as receiving. Jesus did the work when He gave His life for us. It’s not about working to receive. It’s about accepting the completed work of Christ in our lives. Posturing ourselves in a place of full submission and acceptance of a God, our Creator, who knows us far better than we know ourselves so that we can relinquish and obey. Good works won’t get us there. Showing up and doing all the things won’t bring healing. That’s not how it works.
If we are Christ’s, we are healed, this broken world is not our home, and no matter how things play out in the here and now, we have the victory eternally. When I look at all the hardships and struggles, from an earthly, finite perspective, I find nothing but anxiety and fear. But when I look at this life as a mere blip on the timeline of eternity, knowing that Heaven is my ultimate home, and these years on earth are but a vapor (James 4:14), I find such immense peace.
Some of the freest and most healed people I know also seem to have the most challenges in life. Yet, they know where their healing is found. Not in things or possessions, not in self-satisfaction or self-serving pleasure, but in Christ alone. If Jesus is our Savior . . . the Holy Spirit our Counselor . . . and the Father our everlasting and eternal Creator . . . we are healed – completely healed, purified, have become fresh – just a few of the words that define that word “healed” in the book of Hosea*.
And if we are healed then we have a mandate, a command, and the great privilege of sharing that healing with the world.
He’s taught us to walk. He’s taken us by the arms. Let’s not forget that He has healed us.