In the process of writing biblical fiction, my research can lead me to fascinating facts, like how first-century Romans built a network of 250,000 miles of roads across three continents. But that’s just trivia until you consider why those roads still endure today.
Usage, time, weather, groundwater seepage, and other factors should have destroyed the roads. Instead, they still stand, largely intact. But not because their roads had curbs, good slope, and drainage ditches.
Somehow the Romans knew how to select material that could adapt and remodel its structure on a molecular level over time. That has enabled the roads to withstand the ravages of time.
The Romans essentially built self-healing roads.
Scientists are still trying to discern the secrets of that construction. Ironically, for years, they looked upon one of those secrets as a “mistake”—perhaps subpar raw material or the result of poor cement mixing. Instead, the chunks of stuff now known as “lime clasts” are one of the keys to the roads’ ability to heal its cracks.
The Romans used different techniques and materials, but to the same effect, in building their mausoleums. (Again, scientists are still trying to figure out how they did it.)
If first-century Romans had the wisdom to build self-healing structures, how much more can God do that in us?
Our lives get cracked, even shattered, from bumps in the road. But God lovingly transforms every broken part of our lives into something beautiful and whole again. We come through that healing different but stronger—so we can endure in this life and beyond.
Because He made us for “beyond.”
God intends for us to be with Him forever as joint heirs with Christ. We couldn’t accomplish that on our own. Praise God that He fixed what was broken in us before we ever knew we were broken! His Son’s atoning sacrifice on the Cross was the only way to heal our broken relationship with Him. But God didn’t stop there.
With God’s Word in front of us, the Holy Spirit in us, and Christ interceding for us, we have continual access to God, who abundantly provides all our needs, including every instance of “mending” that life requires.
God speaking through the prophet Jeremiah said, “I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal (Heb. rapha) …” (Jeremiah 30:17) In Scripture, one of the names of God is Jehovah-Rophi (more properly Yahweh-Rapha)—the God who heals. The first use of that name for God appears in Exodus 15:26.
I love that “rapha” embodies both healing and restoration. That’s exactly what God has done and continues to do for us.
I could draw more parallels between Roman roads and God’s provision. Roman roads had sign posts, guards, inns, and rest stops. God provides guidance, warnings, shelter, and rest when we need it.
But for now, I’d like you to keep that image of self-healing Roman roads in the forefront of your thoughts. I’m so grateful that God can heal every broken thing in you and me! And He does it in miraculous, infinitely creative ways. He even uses things that look like mistakes to strengthen your faith and the fabric of your life. He restores you. Because God made you to last. Forever. Hallelujah!
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