Reviewing the last four weeks’ blogs on healing, the first thing I notice is that all different kinds of people need healing in the accounts of Jesus’ healings: yes, the blind, the deaf, and the lame, the poor and outcast, but also a synagogue leader, the son of a royal official, friends of Jesus and strangers. Jesus welcomes everyone with his healing touch. Secondly, I think that Jesus is demonstrating in all the healing stories that death or illness or physical disabilities, even demon-possession is not the final word. Once suffering from any one of these conditions, a person can still find healing in his or her faith in him. Thirdly, nothing is beyond the power of God. Jesus, like us, had gone to the Father to bring Lazarus back from death. Fourthly, healing restores us to joy and to living life to the fullest.
In addition it is important to understand that healing needs to take place on all four levels of our being—physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. What good is a physical healing if our emotions carry the same wounding as the body did. Or that we cannot forgive that we suffered terribly and are blaming everyone else including God. That is spiritual sickness. On the mental level what if our thinking and emotions now decide that we are much more vulnerable to every disaster that comes along and cower in fear. We are still “crippled” by the physical condition that is now healed.
And was Jesus just talking about the physical infirmities—blindness, sickness, possession or was he talking metaphorically. Are we blind to the truth that he preached? Are we possessed by our own egotism or a thinking that is foreign to us? Are we dead to life? Are we dead to the life we were created to live?
The biggest mistake I think we make about praying for healing is to decide in advance what that healing will look like. We set the conditions, we pray vigorously, and, if our prayers are not met exactly as we wanted, we are deeply disappointed in God and in ourselves. “God didn’t answer my prayers!” I hear this a lot. “Maybe God doesn’t love me so much after all.” And what does that say about me? Ouch. God knows far better than we do what we need and he does answer prayers, but often in the least expected way. When we pray, it is best to ask for the best and highest outcome for another or ourselves, rather than set narrow parameters about what we think we need. When we didn’t get what we asked for, we are often blind to the answer that was sent. Maybe it was an invitation to relax, be more open, take down some walls between us and God, or us and other people, the very thing that could lead into the healing that we wanted. We are more likely to envision and miracles than subtleties, but I think that God is more likely to send “baby steps” towards our goal rather than the full-blown request.
Or maybe God is asking us to appreciate what we have, the joys that are already in our lives, to be grateful for all the positive things that we ignore in our hurry to get over this suffering. Is our anxiety or anger or fear about our condition blinding us to what God is already doing for us. If God is not giving us what we prayed for, what is that saying about us? Did we pray for the wrong thing? Are we ignoring, pushing away, any “still, small voice” within and what it is asking of us? Are we in tune with our soul and the agenda it holds for our lives, the one created for us by God? Do we have any sense of God’s plan for us or are we consumed only by our plan for ourselves?
Too often we don’t have a wide enough perspective on what is possible and what is best for us. As I discovered when my husband was dying, there are thousands of possible outcomes to any situation, not just the best and worst scenarios. Do we know better than God what is good for us? Are we just trying to escape the pain in our lives by blaming God for not taking it away. I have noticed that some people are healed into life, much more able to live life to the fullest, and some are healed into death, readied for the passage that all of us will face. Who are we to say that one is preferable over the other?
Healing is a mystery, like God is a mystery. But God is in charge and we are not. So let’s let God do his/her best for us, loving and forgiving and healing us as God would have it. Back in the 20th century this would have been called aligning your will with God’s will. Not a bad thing to do.