NCFI Cares: God’s Name in Nursing–Yahweh Rapha

As nurses one of our favorite names of God is Yahweh Rapha—the God who Heals. God used the name to describe himself to the Israelite’s in Exodus 15:26. As the Son of God, Jesus demonstrated the same healing characteristics through miraculous healings and resurrections. Many times Jesus emphasized the importance of faith for miraculous healings: “Jesus said to him, ‘Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.’“ (Luke 18:42). Does this mean Yahweh Rapha heals when we have faith? Of course not, non-believers are healed all the time. Instead, the emphasis on faith, points out our belief in God as Yahweh Rapha. For example, do we have confidence in the Lord to heal every disease, every illness, every deformity, every trauma, and every ‘fill-in-the-blank’? Do we believe the same miracles that occurred in the Bible can happen today? Is our faith, which is probably smaller than a mustard seed, enough to confidently say, Jesus can raise the dead?

God's Name Wordcloud2

Other questions to reflect upon are: Are we content with the healing God does provide? Or do we get bitter when his sovereign wisdom chooses not to heal?  Or maybe, an even more profound question is: In this day of surgeries, treatments, and cutting-edge technology, do we even need Yahweh Rapha for healing? Or do we only run to him when the prognosis is bleak? One Bible scholar had a poignant reminder, “God answers every prayer. We just don’t like it when he says “no” or when he provides the answer we don’t want”. The same is true for healing. God does heal everyone, every time. We just may not see his miracle until we come to our eternal dwelling.

As we consider how healing interfaces with our faith, God’s Name–Yahweh Rapha includes the realization that God is sovereign in how his healing power is dispensed to our patients, our families, and to ourselves. “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion” (Exodus 33:19; Romans 9:15), while trusting in his everlasting lovingkindness (Psalm 136).

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A Happy Birthday Letter!

Birthdays of our deceased loved ones can be difficult days. As a nurse, I have encouraged family members to plan on birthdays as “sucky” days. Now, that I am more than a casual observer or educated professional, planning can help, but it still sucks.  So what can we do? Well, one of the things I do is write my sister a letter. I mean literally a letter. For those of you who are younger than 30 or so, I take out a piece of paper (nothing fancy) and a cool pen (I am totally into pens!) and hand write a letter. No texting, no emails, no facebook postings–a letter that normally would go through the post office or snail mail. Sounds crazy and a bit sad, but I like it!

Part of the reason I like it, is that I feel like I am updating my sister on everything that is going on. I have read historical fiction/non-fiction books that include excerpts of a letter from a daughter who came out west in the 1800’s. Or letters from sons written during the Civil War.  The letters give such a real-life, first person account.

This is how I feel. I am reaching across the expanse of time and space to tell Debbie what is going on.  For example, this year’s birthday letter included a note about writing the memoir. I shared how I hoped she will like it and that it will honor her memory. I know, I know it sounds psycho! But, I don’t care. When I am writing this letter I feel like I am talking to her and she is close to me. Also, I don’t feel like she is missing events that are happening in our family’s life. I update her on how our parents are doing and what her sons are doing.  I also update her on our grief. How much I miss her and the problem my mom had choosing a headstone.

Once the letter is completed, I fold it up and put it in an envelope and mark it–Happy Birthday, 2014. I have also written a letter for Christmas and include a Christmas family photo.  In ten or twenty years from now, I envision opening the letters up and reading through all the life events she has missed.  It sounds heartbreaking and I am sure it will be; YET, it will be better to have a record of all I have shared with her. Instead of the alternative–which is ZIPPO–as if she wasn’t my sister anymore.

Dear Debbie,

Dear Debbie,