Stories of healing from Scripture always provide a challenge to the preacher. Too often I think people have been set up to believe that if they just have enough faith, if they are devout enough, if they do all the right things in their lives, then they will be healed of whatever ails them. I’m afraid that if we look around, we realize that it just isn’t that easy.
(For the full audio version of this sermon, click here.)
I will be the first to admit that I know of no definitive answer to the issues of healing. Each person’s healing is an individual journey that can’t be given a generic prescription for success. However, there are a few things that I believe to be true (though I admit the possibility of being wrong).
First, I believe that there is a difference between being healed and being cured. Our healing may not look like the cure we want, but at a soul level it may be much more important. Perhaps the healing that comes is inside, not outside. Perhaps we learn how to live different physically, yet with peace and harmony inside. Or perhaps the healing is relational instead of physical. Perhaps we experience the divine in a new, more powerful way that heals old images of the divine, or brings us to a different wholeness.
I firmly believe that there is a Mind-Body-Spirit connection within us that our medical professionals typically do not address. If we are experiencing issues in one area, it will have repercussions in the others. We have specialists in each area (medical doctors, mental health professionals and a variety of spiritual healers), but few who pull them together and are able to address the totality of a person. This means that we need to pay attention to all the pieces of ourselves and how they are integrated. How does a stressful working situation manifest itself in our bodies? How does spiritual abuse manifest itself in our emotional well-being? And so forth.
Also, it seems that we have lost the ability to see illness and death as part of our spiritual journeys. We often put value judgments on them as good and bad (which, I grant you, is really hard not to do) instead of just trying to learn and grow through the experiences. This requires a great deal of self-awareness, self-reflection and openness to looking at the situations of our lives from different perspectives.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we need to participate in our own healing. We can’t simply expect a pill or a prayer or a therapy session to magically fix us. We need to take care of ourselves through eating well, exercise, time to be with the Divine (in whatever way that looks for you), fun and laughter, etc. We can’t ignore our issues, but we need to accept them and work with the regular and alternative health professionals to determine what is wrong and what we can do to feel better. It is a process that usually doesn’t have short cuts or easy fixes. But approaching our own health holistically brings about a beautiful balance to our lives.