Restore to Health – Cure the Sick: Relieve hindrances to wholeness (part two of two)

If we plant a flower or a shrub and water it daily it will grow so tall that in time we shall need a spade and a hoe to uproot it. It is just so, I think, when we commit a fault, however small, each day, and do not cure ourselves of it.

– St Teresa of Avila

Sin followed Adam and Eve out of the Garden, ready to pollute humankind and the world. A reading of Genesis 4 shows how quickly and thoroughly sin gained control: envy lead to jealousy, which lead to murder, which lead to toil, which resulted in sore muscles, blisters, cuts, creating sources of infections, disease and ultimately death….you get the picture.

In Genesis 6 we read that sickness and wickedness has so consumed the earth that God decides to start over.

And sin also starts over. Noah and his family are barely out of the ark when sin/sickness resumes. Noah gets shamefully drunk, passes out, exposes himself, and his son takes delight in bringing attention to his fall. It goes downhill from here.

God’s next address of sin’s spreading of sickness and death must be the death of death; and it is. Jesus Christ takes death into himself and removes its sting.

Illness and injury may still be experienced in our world, but it is not the final chapter.

When Jesus heals a man’s withered hand on the Sabbath (Mark 3), he is expressing God’s intention for our healing. “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save life or to kill?”  Obviously, a withered hand is not a matter of life or death, the man had survived to adulthood with it. Yet Jesus equates the man’s manageable disability with harm and death. He gives him a whole hand, restoring him to goodness and life.

God’s heart is the same today as it was on that Sabbath in the synagogue. God desires to restore to wholeness and health your every disability, even if it is slight and you’ve learned to live with it. Spend a few minutes speaking with God about your withered hand. To what part of you does Jesus want to bring healing and wholeness?

Healing begins with diagnosis, naming your disease. (Did you ever notice that disease can be spelled dis-ease?) It continues with a specific treatment plan consisting of gratitude, persistent exposure to the light, community support and gratitude, exposure to the light, community support and gratitude….

Gratitude. It is God’s love that makes you aware of the sin that keeps you sick, God brings it to the surface so it can be addressed.

Exposure to the light. Offering your sin/sick area to God, asking for the power of the Holy Spirit to heal and correct. Every time you notice a flare up, return to God with a confession of your need for healing, not an accusation against yourself or against God. Maintain a spirit of humility and gratefulness.

Community support. As Henri Nouwen says in Road to Daybreak, “..demons love darkness and hiddenness. Inner fears and struggles which remain isolated develop great power over us. But when we talk about them in a spirit of trust, they they can be looked at and dealt with. Once brought into the light of mutual love, demons lose their power and quickly leave us.”

We will not know complete healing and restoration until perfection in glory, but it is God’s heart to begin that process now, that is part of the good news – heaven is near, now.

(This article is based on material from the “Shaped at the Garden” Retreat. For more information about participating in this retreat, contact me or refer to the upcoming events page.)

6 thoughts on “Healing

  1. This is powerful stuff. The hardest part for me is to let the Holy Spirit name my sin… I jump in and try to name it first. I fear I miss what might be the real sickness God would want to cure me of. Thank you for this blog and I would want to encourage anyone reading the blog to consider the retreat on the events page.

  2. I am completely on board with you when you say that suffering and pain and disease and death are all in the world because of sin. However, I believe that much damage has been done in the name of Christianity by phrases such as, “It is God’s love that makes you aware of the sin that keeps you sick…” This line of thought implies that God is punishing us for sinning by making us suffer. At the very least, this implies that God is allowing us to suffer because of our sin.

    Take a trip some time to a Ronald McDonald House in a city close to you. As you go through the facilities, notice the children that are suffering and dying from terrible diseases. This should stir up a genuine hatred in our hearts for Satan and even Adam and Eve for giving in to temptation. The events recorded in the Bible are what allowed pain and suffering into this world. God is not punishing these children for their sins, or even their parents for their sins.

    I’ve heard so many Christians tell people that are suffering that God is showing them the sin in their lives. I’ve also heard so many Christians tell people that are suffering that they need more faith to be healed… hogwash!!

    True, our sin causes suffering in our lives, but it also causes suffering in other people’s lives. Likewise, not all of the suffering in our own lives is caused by our own sins.

    This is not theology, it’s “me-ology” – it’s assuming that the world revolves around ourselves and it’s no better than the most obvious forms of humanism. Not everything that God does in our lives is for our own benefit. What about Job’s family – was their suffering for heir own benefit?

    What about the people that Jesus healed? Jesus said that they suffered so that He might be revealed in His glory by healing them.

    The fact is, that pain, suffering and death are not always caused by our own sins and they are not always for our own benefit – but, they are part of God’s grand plan. Therefore, we need to avoid pretending to know the mind of God. We pray, seek for answers, ask for healing – but, trust in God to work through our lives in the manner that He has chosen.

    • St John the Lutheran? Thank you for your thoughtful response. I am in agreement with you, sin is not God’s punishment. Sin is. It breaks God’s heart to watch it’s consequences. In all our living, we suffer under the weight of sin done by us or to us, and hopefully live in responsive obedience to and for the glory of God.

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