There are a lot of healing stories in the Bible. Jesus approaches someone and in that interaction healing happens. Today, we wonder ‘how can that happen to me’?
When we think of healing, most often we think of our flesh and bone. And, to be sure, physical healing is important to God. Some of us find this healing, but we know that many others don’t. And, we wonder why.
The healing miracles in the Bible point us to another type of healing. A healing quite beyond flesh and bone. It’s this type of healing that Jesus wants us to have when he says “it’s your faith that has made you well.”
So, here’s a story of healing that I was a part of. When I was in public school, grade 7, I had a class mate who everyone teased. Shirley was her name. She was overweight, and kids used to tease her. A lot. About her clothes, about her complexion, about her funny hair, because her family couldn’t afford a proper hair stylist. She was teased about the way she smelled, and, about the father she didn’t have. It was endless. And merciless. When I look back on those days, it’s so hard to believe that I was a part of that crowd. Kids, normal kids from decent families, can so easily fall into that mentality.
And so, Shirley was teased a lot. And then, there came the day when our public school was holding auditions for a production of Joseph, and I loved to sing, and so I tried out, and I got a good part. I got the part of the Pharaoh, who sings the Elvis song,
Well, Shirley also tried out, and, to everyone’s surprise, Shirley had the most amazing singing voice. And, she got the part of the narrator, which is a lead role in the musical. And so I found myself with her, standing beside her, singing with her, rehearsing with her, getting to know her, and becoming friends with her,
Which, was awkward, in a way, because, I was one of the ones who had teased her. I was one of that group. And as we got to know each other, I knew I had to say something about it, because I felt the weight.
And one day, just before we began rehearsal, I walked up to her, and before I could even say anything, she looked up and said “It’s OK. Don’t even worry about it.”
And that was it. She forgave me, and I will never forget the burden that was lifted, and it was like a miracle of healing. No, that’s not right.
It was a miracle of healing.
Was that easy for her? To wipe the slate clean for me? Not likely. In Philip Yancey’s book What’s So Amazing About Grace? he describes forgiveness as an unnatural act. He writes, “I never find forgiveness easy, and rarely do I find it completely satisfying. Nagging injustices remain, and the wounds still cause pain. I have to approach God again and again, I do so because the Gospels make clear the connection: God forgives my debts as I forgive my debtors.”
“Love your enemies” Jesus said “What it is to love your friends and your own family, even thieves and sinners love their own. But I say “love those who persecute you.” In other words, take love that extra distance. Forgive those who have really hurt you, make love the greatest thing in your life.”
That’s what we’re called to have faith in. If you do, and there will be healing in your life.
In the stories of Jesus, healing miracles, and then, the joy that follows, always go hand in hand with the practice of love and forgiveness.
Always. That’s how healing happens.