A Happy Worm in the Garden of CURE

Posted on Mar 6, 2012 in Faith | 69 comments

To fully appreciate this story you should know that for many years–maybe decades–I have been intrigued by a certain phrase in the Bible.  One word in particular I have found rather amusing except that it doesn’t seem to be written with any intentional humor.  Instead, it is part of a beautifully personal passage, spoken directly from God:  “‘Do not be afraid, O worm Jacob… for I myself will help you,‘ declares the Lord, your Redeemer….” (Isaiah 41:14).  “O worm?!”  How interesting, I’ve thought numerous times, that in saying such kind and comforting words to Jacob, God calls him a WORM!  Not exactly a creature to which we typically attach great value, right?  My mind reverts to 9th grade biology… I can almost smell the formaldehyde in which hundreds of dead worms were packed, waiting to be dissected.  (My nose is scrunching!)

But believing every word in the Bible is there for a reason, and knowing from Scripture that we “children” have exceedingly great value to our heavenly Father, I’ve silently maintained there HAS to be a reason God chose the word “worm” (see 2 Timothy 3:16, 1 John 3:1).  He could have said “humble,” “lowly,” “parasitical,” etc., but He didn’t.  He said “worm.”  Personalizing Scripture as I always do, I’ve wondered what meaning this characterization has for me?  “‘Don’t be afraid, O worm Laurie… I myself will help you,‘ declares the Lord, your Redeemer.”  Of course I LOVE that God HIMSELF helps and redeems me, but I’ve continually felt there must be more to being a “worm.”  Well, guess what?!  Recently God opened my eyes in a brand new way, and, finally, I saw the “light”… or shall I say “the soil?”

Perhaps you’ve heard of CURE International–a ministry which provides spiritual and physical healing to children with correctable disabilities all over the world (cure.org).  A couple weeks ago I was blessed to be listening to inspiring messages by CURE’s founder Dr. Scott Harrison and President Dale Brantner and watching heart-wrenching videos of the children whose lives have been transformed.  “Precious,” “Beautiful” and “Joy” took on new meanings as I saw the post-surgery smiles of these little girls whose crippled bodies had been made new.  As CURE’s motto states, their healing had changed everything… in addition to their radical physical transformations, the little girls’ precious hearts, beautiful minds, and joyful spirits had also been renewed.  In many of CURE’s cases, the child’s family–if not entire village–is also touched and transformed by the love of God.  Very broken, hopeless lives experience physical and spiritual healing, and all praise goes to Jesus.  Sniffles from around the room told me my tears were not the only ones flowing.

While my eyes, ears, heart and soul absorbed these amazing stories, larger than normal, vibrantly colored Gerber Daisies appeared in my mind.  I immediately sensed they symbolized CURE’s hospitals around the world.  Many other flowers appeared as well, much smaller but each uniquely shaped and colored… they represented the children in the hospitals!  I was “seeing” such a beautiful garden!  All of the flowers were rooted in rich, fertile soil which was the LOVE of people sitting around me–some I knew, some I didn’t–as well as the doctors, nurses, spiritual directors, and everyone around the world in the “family” of CURE.  I’ll never forget what I saw next:  a little worm, hidden in the soil, seemingly unimportant but simply blessed to be in the garden.

That is exactly how I felt in real life!  Amid the extraordinary medical and spiritual work and people of CURE International, I didn’t know my purpose, but I was simply happy to be there.  How sweet of God, I thought, to meet me personally (as I believe He LOVES to do with us) and give me this revelation of a worm!  (I realize this may sound silly to you, but I KNEW it was my Lord and Redeemer speaking to my innermost being.)

The next day, as I listened again to inspiring messages about CURE, I was taken back to my “garden” and this time felt compelled to research worms.  Via my iPhone, I learned the strength of a worm is in its mouth.  As soon as I read that, I felt God giving me a purpose within CURE.  No, I can’t perform surgery nor can I move to Africa and become a Spiritual Director (right now), but I can pray.  As a worm in the beautiful garden of CURE, no one may ever see me but that’s okay.  That’s more than okay.  God is the One hearing my prayers, and He is the One touching lives.

Not only did my new purpose bring me joy, it also provided insight into why God called Jacob a worm and referred to Himself as Jacob’s “Redeemer.”  By definition, a redeemer is one who compensates for someone’s faults or past poor performance… who saves them from their sin.  I cringe at the thought of my countless horrible performances as a follower of Christ… based on past sin alone I should have less worth than the least valued worm.  Yet God saves us from our prior state–all because of His grace–and gives us precious value, renewed purpose, and a beautiful life to be centered on Jesus.

Since my “garden” experience, I imagine Jacob felt indescribable love when God called him a worm!  I certainly do.  I pray the children of CURE will know this love, and I pray YOU will, too.  No matter who you are… no matter your brokenness or sin, know and believe that Jesus saves.  In the garden of our life, He heals, transforms, renews.  Oh, excuse me–this worm’s gotta go.  I have an important job to do….

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