Tuesday, June 30, 2009

When Does Healing Begin?

All of us have, at one time or another had some experience with disease, illness, and grief. Every one of us has at some point in our lives been not well. Our well-being just wasn’t what it should have been. Something was throwing things out of kilter. It might be said that our lives had lost meaning.
What do we do when we are ailing? What do you do when you are ill? What do you do when you receive a diagnosis that you have cancer? The meaning of our lives changes at that moment. Our lives have been given a jolt, knocked out of whack, maybe even pushed off the road that we’d been on.
So what do we do? Where do we go for help? How do we begin the healing? Is there a cure for what is ailing us?
When I’m not feeling well the first place I go is to the cupboard where we have most of our medicines. Surely I can find something there to make me feel better. And I’m sure that most of you are just like me, you want to be better now. We expect the drugs to take the pain away, to remove whatever is discomforting us, and maybe even cure us within a day or two.
When I don’t feel well I don’t want to be around people. And I’m sure nobody wants to be very close to me. I remember when I woke up a few weeks ago and I thought I had the flu or some other terrible ailment. I asked Linda, “What do you think I should do? I can’t go to church and expose everyone to who knows what I’ve got.” It turns out that I had shingles and even though I felt rotten no one was going to “get” what I had. The biggest thing for me was that I wasn’t feeling well. I had lost my well-being. And I wasn’t getting any better very fast.
It took me a few days to get a diagnosis for my problem and when Doctor Johnson confirmed that it was indeed shingles it took some time for the symptoms to go away. I’m not cured but I am well. My well-being has been restored. I feel like now I can get out of the house and be a part of the community again. I’ve learned that according to science being cured of anything is a rarity.
Isn’t it a lousy feeling to be cooped up in your room or your house and not be able to get out and visit with friends and family? None of us like that feeling.
So when does the healing begin? David experienced grief at the deaths of King Saul and his best friend Jonathan. It was like his very heart had been ripped from his body. He hurt because they were gone from his life.
But he didn’t want anyone to forget them and the good that they had done while they lived. The loss of family or friends certainly affects our well-being. We don’t feel well and we want God to make it all better. We feel like the psalmist when he said the bottom had fallen out of his life and he needed God to help him, now! He wanted God to hear his cry for help. Haven’t we all felt like that?
When our well-being suffers, whatever may be the cause, we want healing to happen. Our lives cease to have any meaning when illness and/or disease enter our lives.
So when does the healing begin? In Mark’s gospel healing occurred when Jesus touched a person or in the case of the woman with the bleeding disorder when she touched the edge of his robe.
The well-being of Jairus’ family was disrupted when his daughter became so ill that they feared for her life. In Jesus’ day when people were sick they were considered unclean and they couldn’t be part of the community until their wholeness had been restored.
Consider the woman who touched Jesus’ robe. She had tried everything. Whenever any of her family or friends heard of someone who even remotely might give her some relief they told her and she tried whatever remedy they recommended no matter the cost. But soon she ran out of money and since she was ritually unclean she could no longer be a part of the community. She couldn’t go into the temple to worship. She was cut off from her family and friends. And so she was willing to go to any lengths to be healed and restored to health.
And so she made her way through the crowd just so she could touch Jesus’ robe. As soon as her fingertips made contact with the fringe she felt a new energy within her very being. She knew she was healed.
Jesus knew it too but he didn’t know who had tapped into his energy. And so he asked who it was who had touched him. His disciples thought he was crazy to ask a question like that when he was being crushed by all the people pressing in around him.
Jesus knew there had been something different about this “one” person who had touched him. Not really touched him but touched just the edge of his robe. What made her touch different from the touch of every one else there? Why weren’t all those others who made contact with Jesus also healed of their ailments? What was special about her touch?
The healing began the moment her fingers touched Jesus. Actually the healing may have started when her faith in the power of Jesus brought her to that particular place in the road. No one else was healed at then but her. Was it faith that provided the catalyst? What do you think?
At that same moment Jairus’ some people from his house came to him and told him his daughter had died. There was no use to bother Jesus. There was nothing he could do.
What did Jesus say when he heard what people were saying? He said, “Don’t listen to them. Trust me.” When Jairus trusted Jesus the healing began.
Friends, the healing begins when we put our faith and trust in Jesus. I think that before we can be healed we must honestly believe with our whole being that our Creator God, our beloved brother Jesus, and our Comforter the Holy Spirit expect us to come to God in faith with all our joys and concerns. We first must believe, have faith in God, believe that he does exist, that he does care, and that hears our praise and our cries for healing.
When does the healing begin? It begins when we first come to God in prayer with just that little mustard seed of faith believing that he hears our petitions. It’s then that the mountains begin to move. Our faith makes us whole again.
And when our faith is waning the Holy Spirit intercedes for us with just the right words.
Friends, it begins with hope then faith and then love. Healing has begun because you have faith. Trust in the Lord with your whole heart and soul and being. Have faith. You will be healed. Your life will have meaning again.
Friends, God loves you and so do I. Thanks be to God. Amen.

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