Grace and Peace to you.
A leper came to him begging him, and kneeling he said to him, “If you choose, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, “I do choose. Be made clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.
—Mark 1. 40-42
What do we mean by the healing that we pray for? Sometimes bodies are made well, disease is vanquished, hearts are mended, reconciliation happens, disaster is averted. And sometimes not: the condition continues, the pain stays, the brokenness persists, the marriage falls apart, the person dies. Sometimes the healing of an old sick person is their death, not their recovery. When obvious recovery doesn’t happen, is there still some kind of healing? If so, what is it? What is this healing we pray for?
I don’t know. But I do know that God’s will is only healing; God always chooses blessing. I know there s a deeper fabric to our lives than the state of our bodies, a deeper covenant we belong to than the human relationships we are in, a deeper reality than what we see. Maybe it’s our presence with God that is healed. Maybe we are re-integrated into the weave of life, gathered again into God’s grace, reconnected with God. Our suffering, whatever kind it is, tends to take all our attention and lead us to think of ourselves as isolated beings defined by our affliction. But in deepening our openness to God’s grace, we are re-rooted in the Beautiful Mystery that transcends our flesh and even our hearts; we are given life that runs deeper than pain or separation or even death.
Maybe our affliction, or the suffering of those we pray for, is transformed when we put ourselves in harmony with God’s loving presence, and even if nothing seems to change, it changes everything. Maybe deep trust in the unseen bond of life and grace opens up channels in us through which the power of that grace flows and changes people. Even as bodies fail, hearts break or relationships crumble, love prevails. We are connected with Infinite Life. Maybe what it means that we are healed is not that we feel better but that we belong.
I don’t really know. But I pray for healing. And I see it, even invisibly, happen.
Copyright © Steve Garnaas-Holmes