Class this past Saturday was all about spiritual healing. The priest that presented spoke passionately about the need for healing. Healing in ourselves and healing in families. It was very informative and yet left so much more to be learned. So, my thoughts, here, will just be scratching the surface. One of the themes we talked about was the idea of redemptive suffering. In today’s world, suffering is portrayed as something to be avoided at all cost. But what is the cost of this avoidance. The cost is may just be your soul, your chance for healing. Ignoring the pain or the suffering will not solve the problem.
Before I get too far, let’s be clear that not all suffering is good. If we look at areas of suffering in our lives and turn them over to God, we give Him the authority to work through the suffering to bring us healing and joy. This may sound like a lot of psycho-babble, so let’s look at a couple of examples in scripture.
19 And Jesus rose and followed him, with his disciples. 20 And behold, a woman who had suffered from a hemorrhage for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment; 21 for she said to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I shall be made well.”
21 And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon.22 And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and cried, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely possessed by a demon.” 23 But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying after us.” 24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”[a] 25 But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” 26 And he answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 27 She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” 28 Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.
When Jesus healed, it often did not make sense, it did not seem even possible but yet the results are there and unmistakable. I many cases even people that seem to have it all together are in need of healing. They go to church with us. They are good parents. They are active in the parish but yet something is holding them back from being all that God wants them to be.
I was a great example of that. I was active in multiple ministries. I did a lot for my children and loved my wife. But there was always something that held me back from being fully committed and alive for Christ.Then it happened. God in his infinite love and mercy chose to bring healing to my life. In 2 Kings, chapter 5, we hear the story of Naaman. A great commander in the army. He had a family, a good job, and he was well respected. but he was also a leper. It was the one thing that held him back from being all he could be. Like him, I had to overcome my pride and be willing to wash myself clean in the Jordan. Naaman had to submit to something that did not make sense, to humble himself before God and was himself in the waters of the Jordan. He did and was washed clean. I, too, had to wash my self figuratively in the waters of baptism to humble myself and allow Jesus to cleanse me.
At that moment, I was cleansed and healed. My life would never be different. I received a special gift that day. In spite of my sinfulness and all of my past, God was ready to heal me. I did not deserve His love or mercy. but isn’t that the way it is with God.