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22nd December: Beautiful Feet

How beautiful are the feet of those who preach good news! Rom 10:15

We often have the privilege of passing on good news to our patients. Whether it's reported that a newborn baby is normal or that a screening test for a fearful disease is negative, our words can trigger enthusiastic and happy responses. Occasionally, we can provide good news in tense situations. Gasping to pull air in past a swollen epiglottis, a young girl looked at her mother with panic in her eyes. Shortly after arriving at the hospital, the child slumped over, apnoeic. The mother ran from the room screaming, `my baby's dead!' A few minutes later, however, I had the privilege of telling that mother that an airway had been established and that the child should be home and fully normal within days. It was a thrill to me to be able to proclaim the good news, to be able to report peace to a woman whose world seemed to be tumbling in on her. I still remember the grateful smiles as the girl left hospital a few days later.

Millennia ago oppressed Israelites knew this mother's feeling of relief. How lovely it was for them to see a young man, with dust trailing his feet, running on a distant mountain. And how glorious it was for people waiting at the city gate to hear the runner shout news of victory as he completed his run from a distant battlefield.

Twice in the biblical record before Christ, we are presented with a description of a messenger's beautiful feet. In each case, the courier was returning to afflicted people. Spiritually, politically, and economically, the Hebrew people faced stability that God offered. To people nearly buried in their distress, God's prophets told of coming messengers who would bring good news. There was promise for the near future and for times far off.

We wait today with godly men of old for the final revelation of God's victory over disease, sin and death. But we also have a promise that God will work now in all circumstances to bring about good for his people. This is good news for us and for our patients. Even though we may not see the beginning of the age free from sorrow and death in our physical lifetimes, God promises to bring about good from the bad situations that we, his people, face. With our patients, we shall face sorrow. Nonetheless, good can come. This truth encourages me.

I am thankful that I have the privilege of bearing good news. But I am challenged, too, to take some of the responsibility of the biblical messengers. Their messages did not end with news of victory at war. Isaiah's messenger told his people, `Your God reigns!' I, too, must point to God as I provide good news, for every good and perfect gift is from above. And in hardship, I can look with my patients for the good that God will bring now and in the coming age.

Get you up a high mountain,
O Zion, herald of good tidings.
lift up your voice with strength,
O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings.
lift it up, fear not.
say to the cities of Judah,
`Behold your God!'

Is 40:9

Further reading: Is 52:7. Rom 8:28-39. Jas 1:17.


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