In the Bible, and particularly in the Gospels, we see story after story of God's healing, and it seems that every time Jesus decides to heal someone, it happens in a blink. And then we look around at our cancer centers, at our rehab clinics, at our hospitals, at our homes, in our mirrors and we wonder why it is that healing doesn't happen that way any more. Why healing has become not a gift, but a journey; not an act of God, but a feat of strength. Or persistence. Or courage.
But the truth is that healing does happen in an instant, even though the journey may be long. There is but one split second in all of time when healing is complete - when the bone is fused back together, when the last cancer cell dies, when the addiction lets go of the brain, when forgiveness settles in, when hearts turn. It may seem like it takes forever to get here, but healing itself is complete in just a breath.
Every once in awhile, we are blessed to be present for this very moment.
I'm no stranger to struggle. My life has known some journeys toward healing that, if we're being honest, I thought would never end. There is no rainbow at the end of some of these roads, no day coming when I thought I could have said I made it. I have taken the hard roads, been faithful to the journeys. I have done everything modern wisdom says is necessary for healing, and I have continued to live broken because modern wisdom is not always so wise.
I have wrestled with God, cried out to Him again and again. I have tried to reenact the exchange the hesitant man had with Jesus - oh, Lord, if you are willing.... And I have tried to force the response: I am willing. But I cannot heal myself, and I cannot, it seems, be healed. I have spit in my eyes and rubbed dirt on my wounds and cried out from the side of the road when I've been too weary to travel even one more step on it, and...nothing.
Maybe God just doesn't work that way any more.
That's an easy story to buy into, isn't it? That God just doesn't work that way any more. That God's healing doesn't come in an instant any more; it comes in a death. We have to wait until this life is over to experience the full healing of God. It won't be until He brings us home that He makes us well, and so we just have to be content to wait.
I'm tired of waiting. The God I know, the God whose stories I read faithfully every morning, the God that I cry out to and know He hears me...He doesn't wait when there's good to do right now. He doesn't need tomorrow; He is God of today.
It happened for me this week. I'm not even sure I know what to say except that it didn't come in a way that I thought it would. It wasn't all the hard work I've put in. It wasn't all the difficult things that I've done. It wasn't in the agonizing choices I've made, the tough questions I've asked, the persistent steps I've taken. It happened in an instant where I wasn't doing anything at all, a moment that seemed so far removed from the fight that I've put up.
And it happened in a touch.
It's probably easy to argue that it was the touch that told me I had been healed, not the touch that healed me. You know, the way the blood tests come back a few days later and show no signs of cancer. You didn't know two days ago when the blood was drawn that you were healed, but now you know. Or the way a friend on the other end of a strained relationship suddenly stops you in the store to say hi. You didn't know her heart had turned just last night, but now you do.
But that's not the case here. That's not what happened. What happened was in that moment, that touch healed me. There was the physical touch of this world against an ache that seemed to never go away, but it pierced through straight to my spirit in the very touch of God. It's unlike anything else I've ever experienced, and I knew - and I know - that that was my healing.
I don't know how to pray for something like this. I don't know how or why things happen the way they do, how God decides that this is the moment, that this is the time. But I wish that more of us would know these moments. I wish that we could always know these moments.
I wish that we could feel every good thing that's being made whole. I wish that we could know the very instant that our whole lives change, without waiting on the results. I wish that we could all know that God still comes and touches His people, really touches them. And that God still heals in an instant.
I wish that we could know that healing is not the end of a long and arduous journey.
...it's the beginning of an incredible one.
I know why people followed Jesus. I know why the streets were packed with persons. It's because He healed so many of them and they...didn't know what to do with themselves. They didn't know where they went from here. Everything was different. Everything was new. What seemed impossible just a breath ago is now not only possible, but it is real. What are we supposed to do? It's why they had to be told even the simplest things like "go back home." Right! Home! Life. That thing I'm doing. Good idea, Jesus. I will go home.
I will go home....