All of us, I think, want to be healed of something. Whether it’s something outwardly obvious, like a condition or an illness, or something internal like depression, or even a character trait or flaw that we or others perceive, none of us, if we’re truly honest, would say there was nothing we would change about ourselves. And that’s quite apart from the game some of us like to play where we look at others and decide how we would change or improve them. We’re a fun bunch aren’t we?
If you’ve read my stuff here before you’ll know that I have issues with depression. You might well have picked up too that I have Cerebral Palsy and use a wheelchair to get around (and to gain free entry to sporting events). As I’ve grown up around the evangelical charismatic wing of the Church, I’ve had a pretty wide variety of experiences of healing. I think I’ve seen miracles happen. I’ve definitely seen medical professionals and carers act as agents of the miraculous in changing my life and the lives of many people. And yet I’ve also seen many people who have had sicknesses, ailments, life-ending diseases, for whom grace and mercy has not included a cure or healing. What are we to make of this?
Thinking about answering the question though, I’ve kept coming back to one thought: Are we seeking healing so that we can be who we were created to be, or are we seeking healing so that we can be someone else? In short, are we seeking healing from ourselves? Jesus healed the sick. So did the disciples. We are called to do likewise in His name. Often, healing encounters in scripture begin with “what do you want me to do for you?” or some such question as this. The question is not “what do you want me to make of you?” or “who do you want me to make you?” There is the possibility of us carrying a prototype image of the perfect Christian man or woman around with us and aspiring to that. Personally, I think this is dangerous.
The only measure of success in the Christian life is in our fruit and in our being changed more and more into the likeness of Christ. Sadly, and I do mean this, I have had to find a way to come to terms with the idea that Cerebral Palsy might be part of the person that God designed me to be.I believe, instinctively, that this is possible, whilst at the same time believing another person with Cerebral Palsy might be healed (although I’ve never heard of such a healing taking place). What I mean by this is, in the provision of God, I don’t always get what I want (probably a good thing), but somehow I have to trust God that He knows what I need. If I could have convinced Him to get rid of my CP I would have. So far it hasn’t happened. We all need the (promised) healing of salvation, though. Perhaps we also need to ask God to heal our senses of self, our perspectives on who we are, our aspirations, so that when good and bad things come, we can remain firm in the faith that has been set before us, and find some way of staying thankful.
I realise that I have by no means explained why healing doesn’t always happen. I think it would be a falsehood to claim it were possible to explain it all. Wherever you find yourself as you read this, whether you are aware of your need for healing, or whether you rejoice in having already received it, or you mourn for the lack of it, I want to close by encouraging all of us to look to Jesus.
Jesus may not answer every question. Some do, maddeningly, remain unanswered. He will, though, go before us and stand with us in whatever we face. As His strength is most clearly shown in overcoming the ultimate weakness of the cross, so when I am weak, then the strength and vulnerability of Jesus, His victory, is what I can look to. So can you.
(Photo via Creation Swap)