What's cool about healings in the Bible, whether they are performed by Jesus or by one of His disciples or by some other character in God's incredible story, is that they are complete and total and instantaneous.
A paralytic is carried on his mat to Jesus, dropped through a ceiling, then stands up and walks out of there like his legs haven't even atrophied. Just like that. Not only do his legs function, but they are also strong.
A bleeding woman pushes her way through the crowd to Jesus, touches the edge of His robe, then clots. Just like that. Not only is she no longer unclean, but she's clean through and through.
A hunched over woman stands straight up without a groan. A man with a shriveled hand stretches it out and starts using it again. A deaf man hears the amazed whispers of the crowd. A demon-possessed man sits clothed and in his right mind.
A blind man cries out from the side of the road, and with just a word, sees again. Just like that. In the blink of an eye, darkness to light. And his vision is keen.
That's not how we think about healing.
For us, healing is a process, not an event. We talk about healing, about all the work that it takes to get well. We talk about all the medications we have to take and how much rest we have to get and how many layers of new skin it will take to cover the wounds of the old flesh. We talk about the days it takes to get our strength back, the weeks it takes to recoup our energies, the years it takes to learn to trust our bodies again.
We read the headlines and see the stories and watch the miraculous first feeble steps of the seriously-injured, an aide on each side of him as he gingerly rises to his feet. Healing! we say. Incredible!
But it's what we think of when we think of healing. We think of the struggle. We think of the troubles. We think of the hard work and the sheer exhaustion.
I think the trouble is that we're pretty sure, just as the Pharisees were in Jesus's day, that healing is a "work." It's an effort. It's an energy. It's a task. It's not just something that happens.
It's not just a gift that we receive.
Oh, but it ought to be. Healing ought to be this wonderful, miraculous, incredible gift. It ought to be that we turn to Jesus, the way that men and women always turned to Jesus, and in the blink of an eye...darkness to light. Death to life. Broken to whole. Wounded to well.
We ought to be crying out from the sides of the road, pushing through the crowds, dropping through the ceilings...and then walking right out of there like we haven't been lying on our mats for the past thirty years.
Because one of the absolute coolest things about Jesus and the healing that He gives us is that He doesn't just make us well; He makes us whole. He doesn't just make us able; He makes us strong. He doesn't just make us live; He makes us thrive. It's real healing. It's real, incredible, powerful, miraculous healing.
And it's a gift.