Saturday, May 27, 2017

Godly Healing--by Linden Malki

A missionary friend was telling of a visitor from a foreign mission church who, on their way in from the
airport here in the US, kept asking  "Don't you have any sick people?" My friend found out that the visitor came from a place where the streets were crowded with disabled people who lived as beggars, and who were thought to be doing a favor for those who gained merit by giving. This was common in a many times and places. We see in the gospels  Jesus and his disciples encountering sick and disabled beggars on the streets, roads, and around the houses of the rich.  The command to take care of the less fortunate is found all through the Jewish tradition; in the Wisdom literature of 200-100 BC, almsgiving could compensate for sin and bring favor with God.  In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus the beggar,  it describes rich man who ignored the beggar at his gate being  punished in the afterlife.  In Matthew 6, Jesus says that generous deeds done for worldly attention will get just that--and only that.

We were created very wondrous and complex creatures; the more research is done, the more wonders are found. It is not surprising, considering the incredible imagination of our Creator, We may assume that the glitches in creation are part of the challenges that require us to depend on our Creator for our strength. It is amazing the number of ways we as humans we have tried to fix ourselves; some of which are pure genius and some pure folly. There have always been smart, innovative people who have studied honestly and learned much; there have always been people who have taken advantage to enrich themselves.  We have always thought that God (or His rivals and imitations) had the power to heal. Some of the attempts have been bribes to false gods; some have been attempts to manipulate the true God to be our servant; some have been exercises of faith and prayer in righteousness and humility.

Do you want to be healed?"  This sounds like a surprising thing for Jesus to have asked, but not everyone does. Being healed will usually mean not living on charity, but being expected to support yourself and in turn help others. We've all known people who enjoy the attention of having something to feel sorry for yourself about and something dramatic to talk about. I've known people who've used their complaints to bully their whole family. We may have known people who were chronically sick as children who never learned to do common everyday things because they were unable to do them, or were allowed to become excessively dependent.  Staying healthy requires a certain amount of self-discipline, might even mean doing good things for yourself  and not doing stupid things that seem like fun at the time.

The one thing that is certain is that we are not designed to live here forever.  Even the most radical healing on this earth is temporary; if faith were a guarantee of health forever, Abraham would still be with us. We don't like the idea of mortality; we are all the children of mortal parents, and many of us will only see a generation or two below us. We miss those who are gone; but there is nothing that we can do to change it. I cherish the memories of my parents and grandparents, brothers and husband; and appreciate what God has given me in children and  grandchildren. Life is change; I look at my tall son and see a little boy we once had, and love seeing him with his own tiny son. Every day the mix of humanity is different, and we are different as well.   I suspect that one of the reasons that our bodies wear out is so that we will be willing to trade them in.  In God's grace, we will finally be totally healthy, wealthy and wise--and the person we were created to be.

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