Friday, March 23, 2007

Faith and Healing

I had an interesting conversation on Wednesday morning. I was running late and frazzled getting everything ready for Bible Study (as usual!). One of the ladies that is new to our group, I'll call her Margie, was early much to my dismay. I was still making coffee and sweeping the floor. They just found out that their son has been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. It's been a huge shock and lifestyle adjustment for them. I can't imagine how difficult it would be to deal with that. We had been praying for them since we heard about it.

Well, when Margie got to talking about it she told me she was claiming total healing for her son. She conveyed how difficult it is because never before have they had to have this kind of faith. I was trying to be polite and encouraging at first but as the conversation progressed I realized I was going to have to say something. She had a little booklet they got from their pastor on healing. She was showing me the passages in it. So I dove in. I am so bad at handling conflict and never feel I have the right words to say in those situations but I'm thankful God prompted and led me.

This is a tough subject. Certainly we must have faith in Jesus Christ and certainly I believe that God has the power to heal. There are many examples in scripture and modern life of healing. My father-in-law has such a story. Margie told me that Christ did not come and die so that we would suffer and be sick. It seems to me that ultimately a lot of scriptures are referring to spiritual healing from our sin.

There are some passages I thought of like when Jesus asks for the cup to be taken from him before he goes to the cross (Matthew 26:39) and when Paul asks three times for his thorn in the flesh to be removed (2 Corinthians 12) but it isn't. God's response - My grace is sufficient for you. There is suffering and pain for us in this world. There is no way around that. The negative side of the healing belief that no one wants to talk about is if you are not healed, then you do not have enough faith. Tell that to a Godly person dying of cancer or the young parents we know that just lost a baby. Do those things happen because of a lack of faith on our part? Maybe we give ourselves too much credit.

There are many stories of Jesus and the Apostles healing people in the New Testament. That very day in our study we read about the woman who had been bleeding for 12 years and was healed by touching Jesus' clothing (Luke 8:43-48). Healing was a major part of his earthly ministry.

So I am not sure what to make of it. Jesus tells us to expect suffering (Matthew 16:24, Colossians 1:24) and he does not heal everyone. It seems kind of manipulative and demanding to me to say, "Hey God, look at all my faith! You must heal me (or my family member)." Is it not based on God's mercy and grace?

There is a friend of my parents who has cancer. She is not very old and she is not getting better. She has been really honest about her thoughts and feelings. Although she would like to live and see her grandchildren grow up, she has placed herself in God's hands and care. When that is done, we seem to be committing ourselves to the Lord, in his time, in his plans.

Luke 22:42
"Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me;
yet not my will, but yours be done."

Matthew 16:24
Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. "Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You're not in the driver's seat; I am. Don't run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I'll show you how. " (The Message)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Its also funny how we want to have faith for healing or in healing, but not in all the other areas of our life: faith to be faithful to a church body - not just show up when we're not tired, faith to be uplifting with our mouths and not gossips, faith to give up what we have to help others who don't have - generously.

Thanks for your leading us to God's word.