Psalm 136

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever.

to him who alone does great wonders, His love endures forever.
who by his understanding made the heavens, His love endures forever.
who spread out the earth upon the waters, His love endures forever.
who made the great lights— His love endures forever.
the sun to govern the day, His love endures forever.
the moon and stars to govern the night; His love endures forever.
to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt, His love endures forever.
and brought Israel out from among them, His love endures forever.
with a mighty hand and outstretched arm; His love endures forever.
to him who divided the Red Sea asunder, His love endures forever.
and brought Israel through the midst of it, His love endures forever.
but swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea; His love endures forever.
to him who led his people through the desert, His love endures forever.
who struck down great kings, His love endures forever.

and killed mighty kings— His love endures forever.
Sihon king of the Amorites, His love endures forever.
and Og king of Bashan— His love endures forever.
and gave their land as an inheritance, His love endures forever.
an inheritance to his servant Israel; His love endures forever.
to the One who remembered us in our low estate, His love endures forever.
and freed us from our enemies, His love endures forever.
and who gives food to every creature. His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.

In my younger days I was a runner, and even ran a couple of marathons, 26.25 mile endurance runs. After the last one I developed a sharp pain in my right knee and went to a podiatrist who specialized in sports related injuries for a diagnosis. He pointed out a slight deformity in my right lower leg that caused my right foot to point out at a more pronounced angle than my left one and prescribed a pair of orthotics. These are specially formed inserts I wear in my shoes to correct for this difference. He said the problem only presented itself because of the stress of running and suggested that I try brisk walks instead. I took his advice about walking and wore the orthotics. Sure enough, the pain went away and for 20 years I thought nothing more about it.

Then, about 4 years ago my knees started hurting again. Not nearly as bad as before, but noticeably. I thought it was just a sign of aging, so I increased my daily dose of a natural supplement that helps restore deteriorating joints, and asked the Lord to heal me. As long as I took it easy and took the supplement the pain stayed away. But recently it’s been getting worse again and I began to consider another trip to the podiatrist, throwing in more prayers on those mornings when my knees really hurt. Moving into a single story house helped, since I could hardly get down the stairs in the mornings. But taking long walks became a problem and even standing on my feet to deliver an hour long Bible Study caused real pain the next morning.

Out of the blue my wife became convinced that I should try a pair of shoes she had heard about, before doing anything else. I did, but they didn’t help. Then she insisted on a different model of the same brand, one that had something called negative heel technology. Since the first pair hadn’t helped I was really hesitant but finally agreed. Meanwhile I hobbled around waiting for them to arrive in the mail.

On the day they arrived, I put them on. The instructions said to only wear them for a little while because my feet would need time to get used to them. So I wore them around the house for a few hours before going to bed.

The next morning I awoke to pain free knees. No stiffness or soreness at all. I went around telling everyone how great these shoes are. The only problem is that they’re dress shoes, and Sunday is the only time I have occasion to wear dress shoes. Not wanting to go back to the orthotics, I tried wearing slippers and sandals and other shoes I haven’t been able to wear for years. No pain, and it’s been three weeks now.

Believing that wearing those special shoes for a few hours one night took all the pain away forever was one thing. But there’s no way that it can explain why I can suddenly wear any old shoes or even no shoes and still be pain free. I’m convinced that the Lord answered my prayer for healing and getting those shoes was like Elisha’s servant telling Namaan the Syrian to wash in the Jordan seven times to cure his leprosy (2 Kings 5:1-19). Or like Jesus rubbing mud on the blind man’s eyes and telling him to go wash it off. (John 9:1-7). They were just something for those being healed, in this case me, to do to supplement our weak faith, to make us think we were really contributing to the process.

Just like Naaman was skeptical about washing in the Jordan and only did it to accommodate his servants, I only agreed to try the shoes to accommodate my wife’s suggestion. Naaman didn’t think there was anything special about the Jordan’s waters and I didn’t think a new pair of shoes would do any good for me. Turns out we were both right. It was just something for us to do as an act of faith.

The Lord has healed countless numbers of us over the course of human history and He continues to do so to this day. The fact that we don’t give Him the glory anymore, crediting instead the methods He uses, is irrelevant. But I’ll bet that there are thousands of you out there with a story similar to mine. Now you have an explanation. And from now on when something like this happens to you, give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.

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