How Healing Happens, Part 5
A blind man came to Jesus asking for healing. Jesus made mud, put it on his eyes and asked him to go wash it off. A rich ruler asked Jesus what he needed to do to inherit eternal life. Jesus told him to go sell all his possessions and follow him. A lame man wanted Jesus to heal his paralyzed legs. Jesus said, “Take up your mat and walk.”
God wants more than our words or our intellectual agreement. He calls us to obey. To move. To say with our actions that we believe in him. “Faith without works is dead,” James tells us in the New Testament.
So why do we sometimes expect our lives to change while we keep on doing the same things and believing the same lies and staying stuck in our defeat? It’s not about percentages. God isn’t saying, “You give 50% and I’ll give 50%.” Actually, he has all the power to say the word and heal us of our pain and diseases, with no action on our part. Sometimes, in the Bible, he does just that. It’s about commitment. Are we genuinely interested in true, deep healing, rather than just wanting a miracle? Because true healing means full dependence on God and surrender to him. It means we have let go of the reins to control our lives and let him lead us. Only then are we really free, and truly healed.
I think of the nation of Israel in the Old Testament times. God had clearly said, “If you obey my commandments, you will be safe and free and well-provided for. If not, you will suffer.” And the nation walked away from him over and over again. God would let their enemies attack them, or drought to come, and they would beg him to forgive them and heal them. So he would. And then they’d turn away again. God patiently let them repeat the cycle for hundreds of years. But he would not let them continue to pretend forever. The miracle was nice. The hero rising up to save the day, defeating the enemy with God’s incredible power backing him. But commitment is hard. And staying committed was never Israel’s strong point.
God spoke through his prophet Isaiah to the nation: “Because you despise what I tell you and trust instead in oppression and lies, calamity will come upon you suddenly—like a bulging wall that bursts and falls. In an instant it will collapse and come crashing down.” He was warning them.
He said, “Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength. But you would have none of it. You said, ‘No, we will get our help from Egypt. They will give us swift horses for riding into battle.’ But the only swiftness you are going to see is the swiftness of your enemies chasing you!”
The nation was being attacked. Their defenses were crumbling. God was calling them to “return and rest” – trust him. But they would not. No commitment. They thought they could save themselves. And God said, “Ok, we’re done.” He opened the door and let their enemies in. For 70 years, they were slaves to another empire. They had made their choice, and he allowed them to suffer for it.
Yet there is still a miracle in all this. God never left them. He faithfully protected them and provided for them in their captivity. And he eventually brought them back home. Read Esther, Daniel, Ezra and Nehemiah to see his faithfulness to them.
See, back in Isaiah, God didn’t leave the people hanging with threats of punishment. He also said this:
“So the Lord must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion. For the Lord is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for his help. O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. He will be gracious if you ask for help. He will surely respond to the sound of your cries.Though the Lord gave you adversity for food and suffering for drink, he will still be with you to teach you. You will see your teacher with your own eyes. Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, ‘This is the way you should go,’ whether to the right or to the left. Then you will destroy all your silver idols and your precious gold images. You will throw them out like filthy rags, saying to them, ‘Good riddance!’”
When we come to God, he shows us his love and compassion. He never stops giving it to us, but only when we come to him will he show it off to us. “This is what I’ve been doing while I was waiting for you to come back.” When we ask for his help, genuinely recognizing our need for him, he responds. Not just with an InstaPot miracle, but with steps for action: “This is the way you should go.” He calls himself a Teacher. Jesus was called a Teacher. The Holy Spirit, who lives in us, is our Teacher.
And do you see the results? The nation of Israel would commit to him again, throwing out their idols and turning back to God with their whole hearts.
God wants to lead us. He wants to heal us. We’ve made a mess of ourselves. Life has made a mess of us. But he has action steps for us to take, to prove that yes, we are committed to trusting him, to walking his way. And as we take those steps, he works the miracle.
The nation of Israel still sinned. Individually and collectively. They, as a whole, rejected Jesus when he came as their Messiah. So God’s healing work doesn’t mean that in this world we will ever be perfect. But he is setting us free. Free to walk with him here in this life, abundantly, gratefully, healthily. And ultimately, free from sin and death forever once we leave this earth behind.
We have the opportunity to walk hand in hand with God. To do our part while he does his. I have wrestled with this for months now. Why so much pain and suffering in the world, in my world? I can’t answer that, but I am learning to trust God in the pain. He leads me from one place to the next and when I follow, I grow. When I dig in my heels, I fall, and learn. I believe he has specific, practical steps for every day of our lives and we can choose to walk with him. It’s a journey of healing and redemption, our whole lives long.
This is Part 5 of a 6-part series on How Healing Happens. I’m currently in the middle of a search for a diagnosis and healing solutions for some autoimmune and gut health concerns, and along with that, a journey to freedom. I believe we all have something we need God’s healing for and that Christ has come to set us free. I’m not an expert and I don’t have all the answers. I’m just responding to God’s leading to share what he’s teaching me in the middle of the mess. Thanks for joining me!