Jesus, Our Healer

When I read the gospels, it is clear Jesus heals dramatically and immediately. Then I consider my experience and that of most people in the church today and wonder (not if Jesus is able to heal or does healing still occur today but) why do most instances of healing no longer occur immediately or dramatically? Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. Even though miraculous healing still occurs, it is not as commonplace.

I admit when I think of healing, I have in mind those cases where one day someone had cancer and the next day they did not.  Or I think of someone being tormented by mental health struggles, and one prayer changed everything. As I ponder the entire spectrum of healing from instantaneous to delayed until we are in heaven, I confront the themes from which I cannot seem to escape – time, process and community.

First, I want to broaden the definition of what many would consider as miraculous. I think miraculous includes every occasion when the creator of the universe, our sovereign, omnipotent and eternal God chooses to become involved in the lives of men and women. Anytime healing occurs God IS involved whether we give him credit or not. Broken bones healed and broken sprits mended do not occur apart from God’s mercy in our lives.

What if God’s first priority for healing is not our broken physical bodies but to repair our trust in him? Foremost, God desires that our broken fellowship with our Heavenly Father be restored as we recognize only Jesus can save us.  Yet even our daily walks, our trust can be fractured as we stop depending on God and turn back to making things happen in our own strength or depend on our own resources to protect ourselves.

What if (unlike me) Jesus doesn’t not see it as better when we ask him in a single prayer for healing and it is done. What if He wants to use our weakness to display his strength?  What if He wants someone to be healed not only in fellowship with Him but in fellowship with other believers who observe perseverance in someone who lives by faith without apparent healing.  The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5 – Outward we are wasting away, but inwardly we are being renewed day by day. God’s glory in us becomes brighter not in absence of a deteriorating body but in spite of our physical brokenness.

Maybe I am still waiting because I still need a transformed heart, mind and spirit more than I need the healing I think I need. The good news is that Jesus does not require for us to be healed or whole to use us to minister to others. Lisa Harper wrote, “You can still limp and lead beautifully.”

As I walk around my neighborhood, I see the tree pictured in this blog. Two different storms have cracked off two large branches from the trunk, yet the flowers bloomed magnificently. You too may be broken, but our Lord sees your and even so, treasures the beauty he finds in you.

Seated with Christ in Heavenly Places

God raised us up with Christ and seated us in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:6

This is one of those phrases that seems a bit confusing. God states that I am presently seated (not will be seated) in heavenly places in Christ. With my eyes I see one thing, but that is not the reality.  My physical body is here on the earth, yet somehow, I am also seated in heavenly places.

Many churches are good at explaining the way Jesus’s perfect life and sacrificial death paid the price to redeem us from sin, but when we delve into the epistles, we learn in Christ we have not only redemption but many others amazing provisions. But because of the great exchange, Jesus in place of me, I have attained a new position where I am seated with Jesus.

Being seated implies rest or completion. One doesn’t sit down while there is still work to accomplish. Jesus accomplished everything necessary for my salvation and eternal life, so I can rest in the work He has done. It is finished!

Being seated in heavenly realms causes me think of authority. Since we are seated with Christ, we have already been granted authority in Christ. This is not an authority to force our own way but His power to bring about His kingdom and showcase his glory by speaking life into a dying world and employing prayer to tear down enemy strongholds.

Being seated also makes me think of rest. It is hard to sit still when one is anxious. Since we are seated, we can view from a heavenly perspective those sovereign ways of God and not get tossed around by every circumstance in our days.

When we are seated with Jesus, his face is closer and clearer and the things in this world appear smaller and less significant in light of his presence and glory.

Photo by James Wheeler on

Please Wait

I began reading the gospel of Mark, and I was struck by the number of times the author wrote IMMEDIATELY. In fact, the word euthys occurs 41 times in the book. Things were always happening at a very quick pace. Immediately, the Spirit impelled Jesus to go out into the wilderness.  Immediately, Simon and Andrew left their nets and followed Him. Immediately, the leprosy left a man and he was cleansed. Immediately another man picked up his pallet and went out. Throughout the gospel, someone immediately receives sight or is healed immediately.

Not so with my life. Nothing seems immediate. There is always waiting and more waiting and process. Healing and growth happen over time. Understanding and insight are not gained all at once. Even after I have prayed, the path is not immediately clear.

A few weeks later, I was reading Genesis and Exodus and there was not the same sense of immediacy. Abraham waited until age 100 before the child of God’s promise, Isaac, was born. Joseph was estranged from his family over 20 years. Moses shepherded 40 years in the wilderness before the Lord brought him into the role of deliverer. The people of Israel were slaves in Egypt for 400 years.  In these accounts, I recognize how God is more concerned about refining those he has chosen through crafting character over time.

In the fullness of time, God sent his own son, Jesus. For centuries the people longed for the coming Messiah, yet this event was pre-ordained before the creation of the world.

Why does immediate seem preferable? Why is waiting so difficult? Maybe the problem is that I have a temporal mindset and God is eternal not subservient to time as I understand it. Or perhaps it is because our society has idolized time-management and waiting seems to be doing nothing. Or perhaps longer waiting takes more faith and trust. For all the longing and waiting, we do have one guarantee of immediate.  In the twinkling of an eye…in an instant our earthly bodies will become immortal. When Jesus appears, we will become like him for we shall see Him as He is.  And for that, I eagerly wait.

They Gave Us Instruments

Here’s something you may not know about me: I feel a strong connection with persecuted Christians. Nearly 30 years ago I was introduced to the work of Open Doors and Voice of the Martyrs and began giving and praying for these ministries who provided support and resources to believers in areas where faith costs the most. When I chose to be baptized at age 30, part of my testimony was that I had been thinking that if I was following Jesus, baptism as an adult did not seem necessary. However, after hearing a sermon seemingly directly from the mouth of God and receiving an issue of Frontline Faith, my heart was changed. I told those present that I realized baptism is an immense decision in countries where people are not permitted to openly practice their faith. Even though it was easy for me to confess my belief in Jesus, I was reminded that for some the decision could cost their family, their source of employment, their standing in the community, and even their life.

Two books I read early in my life as a believer were God’s Smuggler but Brother Andrew and Tortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand. The latter was especially difficult to read because of the horrific extent those who confessed Jesus were persecuted. Their unwavering devotion to Christ, still leaves me astonished. One place in Tortured for Christ Wurmbrand states, “They gave us instruments” which compelled the imprisoned believers to praise God and share the good news of Jesus.  He wasn’t alluding to a harp or a hymnal. He referred to each instance of abuse and torture that became a means where they chose to sing praise instead of becoming angry or despondent. In the midst of excruciating and unimaginable pain, these followers of Christ reaffirmed this commitment to Him by lifting voices in thanksgiving and proclaiming the gospel to all.

In even minor difficulties in my life, the tune escaping my mouth sounds more like a whine than a song. It takes a transforming work of God to see hardship as an instrument of God’s love. I am so not there, but I take heart in the witness of persecuted believers who teach me that rejoicing and thanksgiving are possible even in the face of suffering and persecution.