Yahweh Rophe-The Lord who heals. The turning of bitter to sweet. (Part One)
Exodus 15 shows us that Yahweh Rophe first appears on history's page in Marah, the southern desert region in Israel. Three days had passed since the Israelites miraculous passage through the Red Sea. They were hot, thirsty and crabby. The only available water was bitter, salty or brackish. The people cried out for Moses to do something, he in turn cried out to God. Instructions were given to Moses and he obediently complied. The results? God, Yahweh Rophe, healed the bitter waters and made them drinkable and sweet.
I met Yahweh Rophe at Chicago’s Children's Memorial Hospital over twenty-six years ago. Our beautiful four-year-old daughter, Emily, had been diagnosed with Acute Leukemia. The blinking light on the heart monitor proved a reassuring companion throughout another sleepless night. The sharp odor of antiseptic pooled in the back of my throat as I tossed and turned on the hard cot I had placed alongside Emily’s bed.
Emily had finally fallen asleep, I reached up and held her tiny hand and called to the God who heals. Her diagnosis was hard to swallow. It was beyond bitter, it was poison and I let God know how I felt about it. I hounded Him like a mosquito desperate for new blood. I flew by His ears every hour on the hour, sometimes every second by the second. I pricked His arm to make sure He was awake and yelled accusations when I couldn’t get a response. I couldn’t eat or drink, everything was sour. Both life and death hung on her I.V. pole and the urge to run was overwhelming.
Like the Israelites, I cried out in anger and despair. This was not supposed to be our family’s story. The uncertainty of the outcome was one thing, but the route to get our daughter to a place of being cancer free was almost more than we could bear. The protocol was pages long and would go on for several years. Rich and I had a new baby and a seven-year-old son and an insurance policy that had just been cancelled. How were we going to manage?
Wisdom definitely comes with age. I rarely think back on those years, but when I do, I cringe a bit. I wish I had been stronger, not given to fear. I wish I had had a looser grip on the “things are supposed to go this way” aspects of life so I could have stood more sure-footed on the truth of God’s love. I would tell my twenty-something self that I could trust Rophe to take me through. That sometimes healing is in the slow turning from the bitter to the sweet. It's in the process and if we stay present and alert, this expression of His love will change you forever. As a believer, healing always comes. Not always as we think it should- but always and eternally.
Emily’s is a happy ending. Healed, married with three children, and serving the Lord alongside her husband in a church in Wisconsin. Thank- You Jesus!
In Just Let Them Love You the characters encounter the healer in a cancer ward. They also visit the Jerusalem House of Prayer for all Nations and discover Yahweh Rophe is in the business of healing nations and hearts as well.
Next week we will delve deeper into the region Yahweh Rophe first appears.
A point to ponder until then- If each name of God is an expression of His love, how does that fit into a narrative that doesn't turn out like we had hoped?