Thanks to some insightful interaction with a friend, I’ve been reflecting and praying recently about healing.
In our haste and hurry, we Americans are the kings and queens of the quick fix. If we get a cold or the flu, we quickly slip into the doctor for a fast acting antibiotic. I know when a cold comes to visit I’m guilty of popping over-the-counter symptom suppressors so I can keep going, keep the wheels turning. Americans pride themselves on being movers and shakers. We’re productive, active and perpetually off to do something or see someone or meet some deadline. Illness is not on the calendar so we ignore, suppress or deny its claws in our gut, chest or head (or wherever it sinks in for the duration). We tolerate its presence at best and wait for it all to go away, thank you very much.
Some of us are just the opposite. Some of us succumb completely to illness. We even invite it. Any excuse to call in sick, to retreat from the world, to check out is welcome. Aches and pains visit intermittently, without real cause. We prefer drumming up sympathy to facing truth. We create crisis where only our mind exists. Our bodies respond to our thoughts, so we end up experiencing numbness here or sharp pains there. We’re victims of our own doing but will never admit it–no the ‘poor me’ charade goes on into infinity. We can’t be expected to do much, for our health is a precarious place.
I wonder if we pull similar antics with spiritual healing. When sin won’t let go or we’re gutted from another’s poor decision, what do we do? Do we either go for the quick ‘get well’ fix while going a hundred miles an hour or do we succumb to spiritual pain and check out?
I know for me the temptation is to go for the quick fix: ask God to forgive and change me, but do nothing to foster that healing, that change. Yeah, I repent but I don’t allow time and space for healing. I expect a quick miracle, thank you, and off I go again. No time or energy is taken for prayer, self examination or asking others for help. I whiz away and try to blow it off, expecting God to grant a spiritual symptom suppressor at the very least.
Physically we may have to learn a better way to heal. Glimpses of such a way are evident in the advice that is being given for those who contract Swine Flu: rest, stay in, see a doctor (if needed), allow the body time to re-regulate and fight off the offending illness. Common sense stuff, really…advice our grandmothers would give.
How about spiritually, though? What do we need to do to heal spiritually besides confess, repent and keep going? What happens when we’re cut off at the knees and find ourselves broken and bleeding? Is it ok to stop and drop in prayer, real heartfelt prayer? Is it advisable to invite the great Physician to come and bring deep healing…healing that requires time, self examination and renewal of mind? Are we ready to change radically, be healed radically? Are we willing to let go of the ‘to do’ list in order to take the time and effort needed to seek God and His transformation? Is the truth of our situation/condition ever sought? Are we open enough to hear His instructions for rehab? Is exercising atrophied ‘muscles’ something we’d consider if He asked us to do it? Would we ever shelf our agenda and take time off/away in order to silence our hearts and minds so we can seek His healing rest?
The ways to hinder healing are innumerable and predictable, I’m sure. Spiritually we may opt to suppress symptoms and hope for the best. Invariably, though, what isn’t healed doesn’t go away. Sometimes it pops up in a new and unexpected form: paralyzing fear or soul sucking sin or putting off pride. We can keep plugging the holes with medication, therapies or denial but until the geyser below the surface is quelled we’re simply staying sick. The Healer still needs to be sought…He is our only way to healing–can we go there? Will we ever step away and go there?