Friday, October 25, 2013
The Miracle of Healing by Linden Malki
Bad Stuff happens. We may never on this earth know all the reasons, but we see it all around us. Even in Scripture, we find great stories of God's power, and also disasters. Sometimes we do it to ourselves, very often we do it to each other (I'm convinced that we are responsible for each other!). Sometimes we get in the way of the universe we live in. There are spiritual powers out there that do not have our best interests in mind; evil is real. We like to read about the "happy things" in the Bible, but there are a surprising number of unhappy things and unhappy people. An amazing number of the Psalms are God's servants asking "Why, God??" or "When are you going to fix this, God?" This tells us that we can ask God the hard questions, and complain; and that God can handle our frustrations and pain. After all, He knows what we are thinking better than we do ourselves. And He may tell us to do something about it, but we need to be sure we are doing what He calls to do, not what we may want.
"Instinctively, we want to clean up our feelings in our prayers, but perhaps we have it all backwards. Perhaps we should strive to take all our worst feelings to God ... I see the cursing psalms as an important model for how to deal with evil and injustice. I should not try to suppress my reaction or horror and outrage at evil. Nor should I try to take justice in my own hands. Rather I should deliver those feelings, stripped bare, to God. As the books of Job, Jeremiah, and Habakkuk clearly show, God has a high threshhold of tolerance for what is appropriate to say in a prayer. God can "handle" my unsuppressed rage. I may well find that my vindictive feelings need God's correction--but only by taking those feelings to God will I have that opportunity for correction and healing." *
The Bad Stuff is not the end of the story. God heals! Our bodies heal, the natural world heals. Societies can heal. Jesus and the early Church performed healing miracles as a demonstration of the power of God, but His miracle of healing has always been part of His creation. I have just now experienced an example of this. Ten days ago, I was on my way to work and was sideswiped by a car that suddenly veered into my lane. My airbag went off, and my face and neck became a painful, bloody mess. As of today, all there is left is one small bruise on a cheekbone and a small bump on my neck. Healing is a paradox; all medical practice is simply intervening in a way that enables God's healing process. We not only heal physically, but mentally and spiritually as well if we get out of our own way. Even societies and cultures can heal if they are willing to give up whatever is unhealthy. I've heard televangelists say that God wants us healed, and we just need enough faith. It's not that simple: God made the healing process, but healing in this world is never permanent. If it were, Abraham would still be alive! The final stage of healing, if we allow it, happens not in this world but in the next.
* Philip Yancey, Prayer, p173