A POWERFUL WAY OF MEDITATING ON SCRIPTURE
When I first read the words Lectio Divina, I had no idea what it was. I was tempted to pass over it, but I’m so glad I stopped to read more when I saw it posted on Chronic Joy’s Facebook page the other day. It’s an old spiritual practice that can help you slow down, deeply contemplate, and be fully present with God and His Word.
Can I tell you about a powerful encounter I recently had with God and His Word through the help of Lectio Divina? I was reading a familiar passage in Matthew 9:18-26 (If you’d like to refresh yourself with the story, read it through below.):
Jesus Raises a Dead Girl and Heals a Sick Woman
While he was saying this, a synagogue leader came and knelt before him and said, “My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.” Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples. Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment. When Jesus entered the synagogue leader’s house and saw the noisy crowd and people playing pipes, he said, “Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him. After the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took the girl by the hand, and she got up. News of this spread through all that region.
MEDITATING ON SCRIPTURE
Healing is an interesting topic for those who have a chronic illness or for those who love someone with an ongoing disease. Each person reading this could probably share a journey they have been on with God when it comes to healing. God met me in a new way on this topic as I read His Word.
I began with silence and tried to let the worries of the day leave my mind. Then I read the passage – slowly, trying to reflect on words that stood out or phrases I hadn’t noticed before. I read it again to let the words settle in my heart.
As I began to meditate on the Scripture, I felt nudged to think about the perspective of the different people mentioned in the story.
- The synagogue leader: How did he feel as he knelt before Jesus? Why did he have such assurance that Jesus could heal his daughter? How did he feel when Jesus got up and went with him? Then, how did he feel when the woman caused Jesus to stop? Was he impatient that Jesus would stop for someone else?
- The woman: How desperate was she for healing after so many years? How did those around her respond to her illness? What led her to such faith that she knew the simple touch of Christ’s robe would be enough to heal her? Was she shocked when Jesus stopped and spoke to her?
So many thoughts and questions!
PRAYING AND CONTEMPLATING
As I began to pray, I realized I was relating to the woman. I told the Lord how I can feel that my illness isn’t worth His attention – that there are so many others who are sicker, needier. I want Him to carry on and heal them. As I prayed this, I felt a nudge from the Spirit reminding me that Jesus stopped and spoke to the woman. He recognized her faith. He healed her. I sat with the Lord on this for some time.
As I contemplated this time with God, I realized I matter to Jesus. I was reminded that He has healed some of my physical ailments even just for a time – a headache, vertigo, a specific pain. Some things remain unhealed, but my illnesses are important to Him. I rested in this. Tears of peace came with the assurance that He has time for each of us.
I’m going to continue reaching out to touch the hem of His garment – and someday I’m going to fall before Him and boldly ask for healing. No matter how it appears, I know He hears me and sees me.
Maybe Lectio Divina is a new way of reading scripture for you like it was for me. Can I encourage you to give it a try by using Chronic Joy’s Printable? Allow God to meet you in a fresh way as you read His Word.
Father, thank you for your word. Thank you for wanting to speak to us through it. May we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us as we read it today. Make us open and receptive to how You want to meet with us. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Chronic Joy® Staff Writer and Prayer Team
Kara and her husband Conrad live in Calgary, Canada, where she was a teacher for 28 years. She loves the Word of God and encourages others through her devotional writing. Kara felt led to write a book of devotionals (Searching for Sea Glass) when her journey with chronic illnesses pressed her into God’s arms of love more deeply. She prays that her journey and refinement will encourage you in your walk with God.
Lectio Divina is the ancient practice of slowly, contemplatively reading the words of Scripture, an invitation to encounter God through His Word, to pay close attention, and to be fully present.