After we are restored, reintroduced to our place in the family, we need to get healed. All sorts of images are conjured up here of cancer disappearing, to visible disorders like leprosy, to being able to walk or talk or see again. But the essence of healing that we find in the Bible is offered to all people and it is, quite simply, freedom. It is the ability to move and act freely. This may include physical healing, where the trap of restriction and even captivity of illness prevails, or it may be being set free from the constraints of the demands of life, family and society.
Healing is brought to people who are healthy and well, physically, but are mentally restrained. Healing is brought to people who are spiritually oppressed. Healing is brought to people who are trapped financially. Usually, when healing takes place, the person is brought to a new understanding, similar to being restored, but with practical consequences.
They can finally move… either again or for the first time.
It is an amazing experience to find someone who is healed physically. I have been a part of a handful of these moments. Just last week a man came to church to tell me that it was after my prayer over him in the hospital that he began to feel well again, pulled back from the expectation that he had only a short time of life. Another man, some time back told me that as I laid my hand on his shoulder and prayed, that a “warmth moved from (his) shoulder down to his hip” where a disease was requiring an operation. He told me that as he came away from the prayer time he knew he was healed. An examination, just prior to the planned surgery, revealed that this was true.
I experienced nothing within these profound moments. I didn’t feel anything different than when I’ve prayed at any other time. And that makes me reconsider Jesus’ words to the people who found healing with him, “Your faith has made you well.”
Faith isn’t a measure, an amount, of faith (which Jesus makes clear with his “mustard seed” parable (Matthew 17). It’s a relationship… which tells us that it is interwoven with restoration. When someone comes into the relationship that God always intended and, then, discovers the way life actually moves in living ways they find healing, freedom, the ability to move. They choose to help when others shy or back off. They walk into new understanding and their minds clear up with direction and purpose. They find hope and relax and rest from anxiety. Healing takes place in all sorts of arenas of our lives and the peace that comes upon us moves us to take hold of things we could never imagine were possible.
When we talk about healing we sometimes forget that this takes place in relationships, within our minds, in our spirits and can also be in our bodies. But, once healing takes place, we find freedom and freedom is the reason Jesus came. We sometimes forget that as well. Salvation isn’t seen in becoming good. It’s seen in freedom. Once we are free in Jesus, we are free indeed.