Thursday, November 18, 2010

Salt Water Cure

When I was growing up the American Cancer Society had a compelling set of public service announcements about the seven warning signs of cancer. One of those signs was "a sore that does not heal". I remember thinking that that was a ridiculously obvious sign - because sores always healed and you would certainly notice one that didn't. A sore that wouldn't heal was just unimaginable. Healing was both miraculous and ordinary.

Fast forward a few decades and I look around and see people who have scars from incredible traumas and disease but acknowledge their healing as their greatest blessing. And I see people with open wounds, physical or psychic, doing everything they can to be healed. And then there are those who continually re-open their old wounds, pick the scabs, to use a gross analogy. They don't seem to look for healing, they appear to relive the hurt over and over again in their mind's eye. Their hurt becomes their identity: wounded one, victim, patient.

I wonder a lot about those people. What makes them want to re-open their wounds? What makes them so unable to move on from their trauma or illness? Why do some people get stuck in sickness while others rise above it and go on to the next thing. Why doesn't God heal them? Is it because they don't believe healing is possible? Disclaimer here: I know that a lot of people have been deeply wounded by someone telling them they aren't being healed because they don't have enough faith. It is not my intent to suggest this in any way.

Healing is God's way. Jesus walked among us and healed many people. Many sought him out - crying out as blind Bartimaeus - Jesus, Master, have mercy on me. Others were brought by their friends or family - remember the story of the young man let down through the roof? Sometimes, he saw people and had compassion for them, healing whatever ailed them - even to raising a child from death on the way to the tomb.

So why do some people continue to be sick, or to make themselves sick? I don't know, but I believe that God is still at work healing them. Perhaps the wound we see is merely a symptom of a much deeper hurt or disease. Perhaps they fear wellness. A wise woman, with a very sick child, once told me that she knows that God will ultimately heal her son, she just doesn't know on which side of heaven it will occur. Healing is God's work. It happens in God's time. And God's time is not necessarily the same as mine.

God's healing work is out and about in the world today. Just the other day there were news reports that the vast majority of the oil spilled in the gulf is gone, eaten by microbes. Who saw that coming? Definitely a God-given healing to a deeply wounded body of water, all ,in God's good time, which was far sooner than we dared to dream. We don't yet know the full story of the healing of the gulf, or of our own. That will only come to us on the other side. In the meantime, let's make sure our kids notice God's miraculous healing, whenever and where ever it pops up!

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