In the Body of Christ, Your Healing Heals Others

Her response was something along the lines of, “It’s Jesus.  Of course He was doing something for both of us.”  Her certainty and lack of surprise seemed the opposite of my wide-eyed, wide-hearted realization of God’s perfect planning.

On a silent retreat, I found myself working through a painful memory I had with my sister.  I had tried a couple times during prayer to get to the root of it, but I seemed to get off course.  Finally, I was in the memory and I pictured Jesus there, too.  The pain of the moment eased and I saw things from a better perspective, one closer to what Jesus must have experienced.

Instead of recalling only my emotions, I began to see the situation as she may have experienced it.  “You are the Beloved of the Father,” I found myself telling her.

Then she said those same words back to me and a deep healing occurred in that moment.  Something wounded in me was restored by God, not through a conversation with my sister.

After the retreat, I decided to write her and tell her about that experience.  I didn’t go into detail and I didn’t explain how I had felt hurt.  I simply told her what transpired in prayer.  The next time I saw her, she brought up the letter.  She said my letter was the Lord’s response to her about something she was struggling with.  As she told me that the letter was good for her own heart, I was amazed.  Our Lord took that inclination I had to write my sister and He used it to speak to her heart in a way I didn’t know she needed.

My response was, “Woah.”  Hers was one of confident certainty that the Lord works in exactly that sort of way.

Sometimes the Lord takes the movements of our hearts and our own healing so He can use them to speak to others in a profound way that we never intended.

Sometimes my own healing allows others to experience the grace of God.

As fallen humans, we are always seeking to repair our fragile, little hearts.  But what a different perspective I have when I think of my healing being an avenue that God uses to love others.  Beyond the fact that God desires my own personal wholeness, He has a mission for me, one that requires me to seek healing for the sake of others, not just for myself.

In a way, the Church needs you to be healed.  Our personal healing is a service to the Church.

Souls need you to pursue holiness and wholeness because, though perhaps unbeknownst to you, God will use that renewal to encounter them.

The Mystical Body of Christ is a mysterious being.  God heals us for our own good and then seeks to use that healing to bring about restoration in others.  One that may rely in part on your “Yes” to Jesus entering into those wounded parts of your own heart, areas you don’t want Him to go, but which will truly revive your soul if you let Him.

Your own healing might be that catalyst for others to be healed or encounter God in a necessary way.  

And so He gently asks, “What do you want me to do for you?”  (Mark 10:51)

Your response?  Unlock that little room within your heart that you’ve walled away and invite Jesus into that place.  His healing, transformative presence will change you and that will change others.

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Rise and Take Up Your Mat

“Do you want to be healed?”

Of all the questions Jesus asks in the Gospels, this is one of the ones that I find most provoking.  The setting is Jerusalem and He is speaking to a man who has been paralyzed and lying on his mat for 38 years.  My sarcastic nature wants to respond to Jesus with raised eyebrows and a retort of, “Of course he does!  He has been lying there for THIRTY-EIGHT YEARS!”  The answer seems obvious to me.  This provoking question is why this is one of my favorite passages to discuss with my sophomores.  (I have many favorite passages…I’m not certain how many, but a lot.  Favorite depends on the day.)

Why would Jesus waste the time to ask this poor man if he wanted to be healed?  From outside the situation, we assume that healing is what is desired.  In this situation, the man desires healing and he finds it in Jesus Christ.  However, Scripture is the living Word of God, which means that there is something in this passage for me in 2015.  Jesus is presenting the same question to me today: Do you want to be healed?

One of the highlights of teaching is when you can, as an entire class, deeply enter into the passage.  Their fidgeting ceases and the room feels still.  This is where the encounter happens, I believe.  The class is led through a lecture/conversation that is like the following.  We are quick to realize the necessity of physical healing—few would have a broken leg and drag themselves around on it, insisting that it will get better or that it is no big deal.  Yet we do this with our internal wounds all the time.  Jesus pinpoints our wound and asks as the gentle God that He is, “Can I heal this?”  He asks if we want it.

As a class we discussed possible reasons why the paralytic might be scared of being healed.  Perhaps he wonders if the healing will last, maybe he doesn’t want to get his hopes up that it could happen, and perhaps he will walk oddly or trip when he walks.  I asked them in what was his identity rooted.  After being a paralytic for 38 years, it would make sense if that was how he primarily thought of himself–as someone who couldn’t walk, someone who felt abandoned by God.  Yet to be healed would mean that his identity must change–he would no longer have the characteristic he used to define himself.  That change could be frightening.  We began to see how the man is brave to seek healing from Jesus.  In seeing the importance of the paralytic accepting Jesus’ healing, we saw how we also needed to embrace the healing that Christ offers.  Ours may not be a visible, physical healing, but rather an internal one.  Yet if the Healer desires to heal, shouldn’t we embrace that?

We live in a wounded culture.  I hate that we are so wounded, yet I love that sometimes I am able to point to this woundedness and proclaim, “In the beginning, it was not so!”  We are longing for wholeness and perfection because we were made to desire that.  But first we need to see ourselves where we are—we are the paralyzed man, lying vulnerably before the Giver of all good gifts, being asked if we want to be made whole.  May we have the courage to say ‘Yes’ and to embrace all that will come of being healed, particularly if it means coming to a deeper understanding of our identity as a child of God.

“Rise, take up your pallet, and walk.” Jn. 5:8