Day 24: Adonai Rapha // 31 Days of Hope in Brokenness
Hi there! This is day 24 of a series I’m writing this October called 31 Days of Hope in Brokenness. You can find the entire series here: 31 Days of Hope in Brokenness.
It’s fall, the prettiest and most fitting season for life changes. I’m celebrating two sweet friends who got engaged this week, one who just got married, and another two who announced they are pregnant with their first babies. I am SO genuinely thrilled for them, but can I admit something tender to you? If I’m honest, the huge joy I feel for these friends is tinged with a tiny drop of bitterness.
Ever since I was a little girl, it seems like all I’ve wanted is to be a wife and mama. I’ve stumbled my way through this career path and that one in the meantime, but really I’m just waiting for my real job to begin. The trouble is, you can’t major in being a stay at home mom, and some of it is out of your control. So I’ve struggled with trusting God on this. I’ve smiled on the outside for dear friends and wept in secret for myself as I have watched what seems like every single one of my friends step gracefully into a life I have so desperately wanted since I can remember. Some are friends who never expected or even wanted to get married and have babies, who are now joyfully welcoming their second or third child into their growing, beautiful families. Again, I am so truly, honestly happy for them. But another part of my heart is so sad that I am not also in that season.
Sometimes these feelings can be amplified by my surroundings, too. I know people generally marry younger and start families younger in the South/Midwest where I’m from. To be unmarried at 29 is not as much of an anomaly as I often feel, but it can seem that way. It often seems like the vast majority of books, resources, and material aimed at women my age is for wives and mothers. Not that they should not have resources, but I don’t get the impression that I have a lot of peers who are like me – unmarried, no children, trying to live out her calling and follow Jesus in her relationship, friendships, and (if marriage and a family are things she wants) trying to handle the waiting gracefully. If there are books like this, they are often aimed at teens and college students/very young adults, which doesn’t quite fit either. It can be a lonely place to live. And while I absolutely love seeing everyone’s sweet family photos and stories float by on social media, it’s hard not to feel that brokenhearted pang in my chest as my arms are still empty of babies and my finger still ringless.
As ugly as it is, like everything in me that needs healing, this bitterness sometimes gets the best of me. But my Father reminded me today that He is working on my healing and my story, and it won’t taste bitter forever. Today He spoke to my heart through a story in Exodus.
“So Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea; then they went out into the Wilderness of Shur. And they went three days in the wilderness and found no water. Now when they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter. Therefore the name of it was called Marah. And the people complained against Moses, saying, ‘What shall we drink?’ So he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree. When he cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet.” – Exodus 22-25a
Like the Israelites, how quick I am to panic and complain when all I can see is bitterness. Even though God has shown His faithfulness to me over and over again, I still worry He won’t come through this time. As I mentioned, what really seems to give birth to bitterness in my life is the comparison monster. When I look around at others who have more than I do, or are achieving dreams I also have, it is hard not to slip into despair and bitterness. If I keep my eyes on my Jesus, it’s a little easier.
But how do we do that? We worship and pray and try so hard to trust that He is healing us, even if we can’t see the evidence yet, but how can we lift our eyes to our Healer in a practical way? The rest of the passage gives us the answer.
“There He made a statute and an ordinance for them, and there He tested them, and said, ‘If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am Adonai Rapha (The Lord Your Healer).’” – Exodus 15:25b-26
I see four instructions:
- “diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God”
- “do what is right in His sight”
- “give ear to His commandments”
- “keep all His statutes”
These four things can be further distilled into two simple, practical ways to lean into our healing and lift our eyes to our Adonai Rapha, the God who heals:
- “diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God” —–> (listen)
- “do what is right in His sight” —–> (do what is right)
- “give ear to His commandments” —–> (listen)
- “keep all His statutes” —–> (do what is right)
Listen. Do what’s right. How do we listen? Read the Scriptures, seek godly counsel, perk up your ears for His voice in the beauty and experiences around you. How do we do what’s right? Study and grow in wisdom, trust the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit giving us discernment in small choices each day, pause to think before making a decision that might hurt someone or cause us to sin. To the best of our ability, we listen and do what’s right, and that is how we take part in the healing He is working on in us. The crazy beautiful thing is He doesn’t need us, but He lets us put our hands in anyway. He invites us to take part in our healing even though He could do it Himself with a snap of His fingers. Why? The same reason God loves to listen to our prayers even though He already knows what we’re going to say. The same reason He allows us to have the free will to make our own choices instead of creating a perfect robot world where nothing is ever free to go sideways. The same reason God promised He would stay nearby always.
We grow closer when we work it out together.
This is the reminder I need, that my God is Adonai Rapha – the God who heals. No brokenness, no bitterness can stand in the presence of His sweetness and His healing. In His eyes, I find every time that there is no condemnation or disapproval because I am not yet as wise as my neighbor, don’t have a marriage or a family yet like most of my friends do, or don’t have as strong or as large of a ministry as the next girl. No, in His eyes I find only a sly smile and encouragement to keep walking and find out His wild and giant dreams for my life. All my mental exhaustion from comparing my life to others’ fades away in the light of His excitement when I decide to focus on my own path and my own healing. He makes my bitter waters sweet, and I remember I am home wherever I walk in the One who moved heaven and earth to reach me. The more I lean in close like this, the more He chips away a little bit of my brokenness.
And I get just a little
So. Pray with me?
I need you, God who heals. Please show up.
I believe in you and your timing, Adonai Rapha. I wait for your healing.
In the meantime, I will do my best to listen and do what’s right.