Devotion 4 in the series Leaving a Legacy: Psalm 103:3

How to Leave a Soothing Legacy of Healing

The very character of God is to heal. His words may challenge, but they never wound. I, on the other hand, am taking years to soften. How can you leave a soothing legacy of healing?

Close-up of woman's face, leaned over, head in hand, tear dripping from chin

“No, you cannot wear those shorts to school. No shorts. Put on pants.” I had been clear and firm all morning long. It was 35 degrees out, and, besides that, the shorts were too tight and too short.

The tug-of-war raged on. However practical and logical I was to suggest wearing pants on a winter day, it was little match for the emerging independence of an 11-year-old.

The last straw came as she walked to the car with the shorts still on. “You will go back in the house and put pants on,” I yelled. She turned on her heels, slammed the door, changed, and reappeared.

I started the drive to the school, but I hadn’t left the argument, and neither had she. We fumed. We fought. And then I said it. It sliced. Silenced. Wounded.

It was worse than sticks and stones.

I spent the drive home confessing my wrong, tears streaming. However heartfelt my apology before she got out of the car and again at the end of the day, no words could unhurt what had been bruised.

Tucked one verse after the middle verse of the protestant Bible, we find these healing words in Psalm 103:3:

who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,

The very character of God is to heal, and although God could heal every physical disease — and He frequently shows us this power — the context of this verse ties the physical and the spiritual. The healing is of our moral flaws, our sinful, diseased selves. For we know that we will eventually die an earthly death, but because of God’s great love for us, we do not need to die an eternal one. He heals our very soul, wipes clean our every transgression.

His words may challenge, but they never wound. His compassion never fails.

  • Are the words that flow from my mouth a healing balm for hurting souls?
  • Do my actions bring healing when the other choice could be divisiveness?

We talked quietly, gently with each other that night. She wore shorts a few days later, pressing her point, now that the weather was warmer. I smiled wistfully, learning my lesson, leaving a soothing legacy of healing.

Digging into God’s Word: God Heals

As you read these verses in Psalm 103, consider the gift of God’s healing of your soul.

Psalm 103:1-5, 11-12 (ESV, emphasis mine)

1 Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
2 Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
3 who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
5 who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

God’s character causes Him to heal us of life’s most significant ill: the disease of our sin.

Jesus Heals

When Jesus healed, He often healed both a physical malady and a spiritual one. To the woman who had been bleeding for 12 years, He said, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease” (Mark 5:34, ESV, emphasis mine). This was not an empty promise: God’s peace truly does surpass all understanding (Philippians 4:7).

Notice the priority Jesus places on spiritual healing in this account from Matthew 9:1-8 (ESV):

Jesus Heals a Paralytic

1 And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city. 2 And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” 3 And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” 4 But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? 5 For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? 6 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” 7 And he rose and went home. 8 When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.

Digging Deeper: Am I Leaving a Legacy of Healing?

Treasure this time with the Lord. Reflect on or journal about the following questions, listening for what God has to say to you.

1. How has God shown healing to you in your life? Consider the healing of physical problems and spiritual ailments.

2. Who in your life would be blessed by a healing word, a healing touch, or a healing action from you? This might be someone you love dearly and are very close to. It could also be someone not as easy or as comfortable to reach out to. In either case, listen for what God brings to mind as a way to offer the balm of Jesus’ healing love to this person.

3. Continue memorizing Psalm 103 with me. How are you doing with this? Next week, we will only need to add 3 verses, so let’s work together at catching up this week. This week, we add verses 15 to 19:

15 As for man, his days are like grass;
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.
17 But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children’s children,
18 to those who keep his covenant
and remember to do his commandments.
19 The LORD has established his throne in the heavens,
and his kingdom rules over all.

4. Music is used in therapy because it heals. Let these songs bring healing to your soul throughout the week.

God With Us (MercyMe)

I Am the God that Healeth Thee (Don Moen) (Give this one a chance. It might not be your style, in tune or visuals, but the words, oh my!)

I Know that My Redeemer Lives (sacred version; the words start at 00:43) For some traditions, enjoy this hymn one last time before Lent!

or My Redeemer Lives (Nicole C. Mullen) I can still remember belting this out in a grocery store when it played over their system.

10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord) (Matt Redman) You may have sung this song many times. This week, notice how many themes in it are taken from Psalm 103!


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This marks the fourth, and second-to-last, devotion in our series on Leaving a Legacy. We have looked at leaving a legacy of compassionleaving a legacy of forgiveness and leaving a legacy of justice for the oppressed. 

In this series, we are

  1. meditating on Psalm 103, where we see the characteristics of God,
  2. discovering how Jesus illustrated those same characteristics, and
  3. evaluating whether the legacy we are leaving is one that flows from God.

Find all of the devotions in the series Leaving a Legacy here: Leaving a Legacy

Find Past Devotions from other series on the website under the Devotions menu or at

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