Wednesday, April 7, 2021

A Healing Work

When we talk about the kind of healing that we are uniquely able to bring to our communities because of our faith, because of the things that we know that the world just doesn't know, we find ourselves naturally led into a conversation about what 'healing' really is. 

The Pharisees said that healing was 'work.' We know this because they continually chastised Jesus, and even plotted to kill Him, for healing persons on the Sabbath. This was complicated, of course, by the fact that they didn't believe some of these persons should be healed (and how could they, in a world in which a person's infirmity was the result of his or her sin?), but they always phrased it as a violation of the holy order. You can't heal that man today. Today is the Sabbath. 

Healing is work.

And the response that I have to that is...oh, c'mon. How would the Pharisees know that healing is work? They never healed anybody. Not on the Sabbath; not on any other day. The Pharisees were not in the healing business, but they still claimed that they knew what it took to heal someone. (That alone is a problem, but we'll talk about that some other time.)

At least Pharaoh, when confronted with the miracles of God, called on his magicians to copy the work. Yes, he brought more than a plague of frogs on himself trying to prove a point, but at least he was invested in the conversation. At least he was right there, willing to say - yeah, I know what this takes. It at least takes something to do this. 

The Pharisees did no such thing. They never even attempted a healing work. Not before Jesus. Not after Jesus. Not during the lifetime of Jesus. When Peter cut off the ear of the high priest's servant, not one Pharisee stepped forward to say, "I got this." No, they were already signing the condolences card. Sorry you lost your ear, bro. That's rough. No, it's Jesus who has to heal the soldier, the very soldier who has come out to arrest Him. 

The point is that the Pharisees don't know anything about healing. They've never done it. But they're pretty sure that they know how it's done. They're pretty sure it's 'work,' even though most of the time, all Jesus did was speak a word. 

The same is true of our world. It doesn't understand healing. It doesn't understand the kind of grace that we offer in the darkness. It doesn't know what we do because the world doesn't do what we do. It can't offer what we offer. It never has. But it thinks it knows. 

That's why the world comes out against us when we try to step into the darkness with a measure of our faith. We respond to the tragedies of the world with "prayers," which the secular world has watered down to "thoughts and prayers," and the world says...that never works. That'll never work. What a waste. What a farce. What bunk! Because the world doesn't pray. The world doesn't know how to pray. The world hasn't heard a word from God, hasn't had Him answer their deepest ache. So they don't know, but they think they know. So they feel qualified, somehow, to speak on what they don't know based on what they do know (or think they know), which is that 'it doesn't work like that.' does. It does work like that. Jeroboam's wife knew it. She knew that the Lord works the way the Lord says He works. We know it. We know that God is who He says He is. 

The world says the only way out of the darkness is to scratch and claw your way toward the light, but we know that there is a light in the darkness, that all we have to do is cross that threshold and bring it in. And that's why we do. 

Because we are a people who actually know a thing or two about the stuff the world is content to just talk about forever. We're the ones who know what healing actually is because we're the ones actually doing it. 

Or at least, we should be. 

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