Monday, February 04, 2013

On healing

I've been thinking a great deal about healing the past couple of days, partly because I've been working on a project that talks about how Jesus healed the sick in his day and partly because I've been thinking about how healing happens...or doesn't my own life.

One of the insights that has come to me is our assumption that for healing to be miraculous, it has to be instantaneous. A prayer, an anointing and Voila! The cure is complete. It's how we tend to assume all of Jesus' miracle cures happened.

While many of his cures did seem to occur at the speed of the spoken word, others didn't. Take the story of the blind man who first saw men like trees. Jesus had to apply the mud pack a second time before his sight wasfully  restored. And then there are the 10 lepers who were cured somewhere on their journey to see the priest. We don't know how long it took for their healing to show up, but clearly it wasn't right away.

As I've said before, since my mother died, I've battled anxiety and panic on a near-daily basis. I've done all the "right" things, all the medical and psychological things one does to combat these problems. I have also prayed until I feel like I've battered the gates of heaven as well as had the anointing of the sick. While I am gradually feeling more like myself, there are days, like today, when for no good reason that I can discern, the sensations well up and I feel like a deer caught in the headlights of life. And the headlights are attached to a semi going 75 miles an hour down a one-lane road.

On days like this, even the hope of healing feels like a bad practical joke.

I have an acquaintance who has been involved in healing prayer and ministry for several years. We prayed together about my anxiety and afterward he said to me, "healing itself is a journey...remember that there is still part of the road left to journey on."  Then he added, "the reality(is)  that healing is possible and Jesus longs to pour that healing out on your life."

I've been pondering his words as I've been reflecting on how Jesus cured. I don't claim to have the answer to why we are sometimes healed and why we are sometimes left in our illnesses. Much better minds than mine have grappled with that question. But it has come to my thoughts that our belief, our faith plays a role, perhaps even an essential one, in how we experience healing. Believing that we are being healed isn't any guarantee that we are being healing. But doubting that healing can take place seems to effectively block any possible healing.

So I ask myself, do I believe that the combination of medicine, psychology and faith can really remove the burden of panic? Do I truly believe that healing is possible? Do I actually think that Jesus wants to pour healing on my life.

Do I believe?

"Lord, I believe.  Help my unbelief."

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