What Healing Really Gives Us...
Take a moment right now and think about this scenario:
You've been sick for a long time - perhaps hospitalized - and you are finally coming back to normal. You're eating without feeling that hospital-induced nausea or the tension of wondering whether the food would remain within the friendly confines of your stomach. You shower for the first time - oh, is there anything closer to heaven? - since you can't remember when.
That clean soap smell replaces the Vicks, Hall's, and unwashed hair smells that you've called home for the past few days. Your color returns, your steps feel more secure, you are able to travel freely without a gross of tissue boxes as your carry-on luggage in the car.
It is a blessed feeling. Life has come back to normal.
A story flashes into my mind, from Luke's writing on the truly scandalous and highly life-altering story of Jesus:
"As (Jesus) approached the gate of the town a man who had died was being carried out. He was his mother's only son, and she was a widow; and with her was a large crowd from the town. When the Lord saw her, he had compassion for her and said, 'Do not weep.' Then he came forward and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And He said, 'Young man, I say to you, rise!' The dead man sat up and began to speak..." (7:12-15a, NRSV)
It is a perfect Jesus moment. At the bustling city gate, with would-be followers and likely a large share of critics in tow, Jesus sees desperate need and levels it with compassion-centered healing. The hand of God, the Spirit of God, coursing like 220 volt current through the crowd as the dead man sat up. This kind of thing simply does not happen.
However, it was not the dead rising that struck me this time around, it was the final phrase of verse 15:
...and Jesus gave him to his mother. (7:15b, NRSV)
Luke is a detailed historian, leaving nothing to chance, so why put this little detail in?
I believe it's because healing is not removal, it is return.
Healing gives us back to the things that we have lost, that have been misplaced or set aside for a time while we were suffering or even dead on some level.
The recovery from addiction leads to renovation of our relationships behind us. Forgiveness. Reconciliation. Peace.
The recovery from past wounds leads us to mending the destroyed bridges and aqueducts between us and family - even those long dead - so we might chart a new course with Christ.
Healing, in this case literal and immediate resurrection, is what most of us need to address those things within our lives that may have killed us in the first place.
Jesus' most compassionate act to this mother is to give back the one thing she had lost, and loved most. An only son was a prized possession, as Jesus' own mother would soon learn in full.
The healing and resurrection you are looking for today is not simply an escape hatch, an exit strategy from a world gone wrong. No, it is the very breath of God and holy arrogance we need to storm what was the prison of our sickness and death and take it captive for the sake of peace and glory - and to set the Kingdom wild and free into our everyday lives.
Where do you need healing & resurrection today?
If you receive it, are you ready to be given back to those who need you the most?