09 March 2014

Wandering thoughts on healing . . .

I was in a meeting at a local spirit-filled church last year. A woman was there, who had a broken wrist. I had met her several weeks before, and I knew her wrist was broken. She may have told me how it was hurt--I don't remember now. But I knew it was a real injury. As the pastor up front talked about grace and God's generosity, he pointed to her and said, "What's wrong with your wrist?"

"It's broken," she answered, lifting her wrist with its black brace that I had noticed every time I had seen her, whether out and about or during a drop-in visit where she was staying.

"No it's not" the pastor responded.

"It's not?" she said back, clearly confused.

"Nope. It's not," he said.

I watched her take her brace off, a look of wonder on her face, and flex her wrist. The most amazed look grew on her countenance, and she held her hand up and shook it hard and fast, like you would if you were trying to shake off a big hairy spider.

"It's not!" she said, laughing.

She ran up and down the aisle, so amazed, shaking that hand, smiling and crying. I'll never forget that. The pastor had never met her before. She was visiting family in the area, and is the sister-in-law to one of my best friends. It was real--and such a huge blessing for her, so penitent and broken in her life right then. Healing can happen simply because the Spirit of God is in a place, in power, and a disciple is ready to receive.

Remember people who were healed just because Peter's shadow fell upon them? I don't know if they were waiting for him to come by, or if they happened to just be on the street. I've actually been thinking a lot about healing lately, and about the story in Mark 2 of Jesus healing the man let down through the roof, when he said "But that ye may know that the Son of Man has power to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy), I say unto you, "Arise. Take up thy bed, and walk."

Healing and forgiveness of sins is the same. There's a positioning of the heart that has to happen that would allow both to occur. Maybe it's the same attitude, whether you're thinking of physical healing or spiritual healing . . . that's what I've been feeling like is the case lately. In that case, whether or not the person is seeking healing by asking, I think that nearly everyone who is sick or injured really does want to be healed. The question is whether or not their heart is penitent enough to receive it.

Remember the story of Paul, shipwrecked, who gathered fuel for the fire the sailors had built, and a venomous snake driven out by the heat of the blaze bit him? He shook the snake off from his hand into the fire, and went about his business, utterly unharmed. The sailors were astounded. Paul didn't think anything of it. He was full of the Holy Spirit, and nothing could harm him. I think of an elderly man I once saw in church in the hallway right after having some kind of health crisis, and know he would love to be healed . . . his wobbly voice and the tissue pressed to his eyes spoke volumes. This once tall, strong man, reduced to hunched pain and embarrassment on a metal folding chair, a knot of people around him, helpful, but helpless. I don't know if his faith was such that he could receive it or not . . . so little faith is actually taught, whether in word through action, that it may have been only that no one there even thought to reach out and declare, in the mercy and power of Jesus Christ, healing over him.

I've seen healings take effect at varying speeds, from immediately to a number of weeks. But it happens. Sometimes it's a matter of supplying missing virtue. Sometimes (for me) it's a matter of getting my heart in the right place, so I won't just go off and do something that the Lord really doesn't want me doing. (In those cases, the illness/injury has been a result of my own choices.)

If someone is following the Spirit of God, I think healing will always come to those who are ready to receive it, whether they ask out loud or not. I have a dream of someday, sometime, being sufficiently refined, having covenanted through sacrifice sufficient that I can carry the spiritual gift of healing. Wherever I go, I will hear the Holy Spirit tell me who to heal, and I can walk up to them, look them in the eye, and when I see the recognition in their eyes of the calling from God I carry, say to them my heart and face full of joy, "Be healed, in Jesus' name!"

Someday . . . someday.

And it's going to rock. Because my God rocks.

And He IS Good. :oD

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I welcome questions and concerns--they are most often what spur us closer to the truth. I only ask that we all give everyone the most generous benefit of the doubt, assigning the best motives possible. A soft answer truly does turn away wrath, and an atmosphere of Jesus's love is the best for learning, no matter which side of a discussion you're on.

Thanks so much, and God bless you!