When we say that healing, even miraculous healing, takes time, it may seem to some that we are suggesting that Jesus is not as all-powerful as we (and He) claim He is. It may seem as though we are saying that our healing takes Jesus and something else. That maybe even we have to participate in it somehow. That healing - even miraculous healing - is not just faith; it's also works.
But that would not at all be what we are saying.
The bleeding woman touched the hem of Jesus's robe and in that exact moment, she knew she was healed. 100%. She knew her twelve-year ordeal was over. She knew that she wasn't going to have this issue of chronic bleeding again. She knew it was done. Jesus had healed her.
And yes, He had really healed her. Fully and completely. It really was over. She knew it. Jesus knew it. We have no grounds on which to question the fullness and completeness of the healing work that Jesus had done in her.
Still, she had to wait seven days because of the rules that men were still following. Rules that, yes, God gave them, but rules that Jesus had come to upend to some degree. Still, she had to go home and lock herself back in her house and not touch anything and not talk to anyone and not embrace her healing as fully as she wanted to. And, well, we know that when you can't touch something you're longing to touch, it doesn't take much time before it becomes less real to you.
The truth is, it takes a great measure of supernatural faith to be healed in an instant. It takes an indwelling of the Holy Spirit so strong and so unshakable that you'd not have a little inkling of the shadows of the past at all. To be healed by God is an act of God, but to fully trust and understand what that means right away and to never let go of it, not even for a second, also requires an act of God.
And, well, we're just so human.
What we're talking about here is not really the power of God at all. We know what the power of God is. What we're talking about is our human finiteness and our limited ability to understand the things that God does. The things that He's doing. What He says. Just how powerful He actually is. What we're talking about is the way that we keep questioning even what we know for certain, the way we keep testing the world around us - and the God we trust in - to see if it's still as we thought it was.
It's the way you know that your shirt was clean when you put it away, but you still smell it when you pull it out of the drawer, just to make sure. We are, hopelessly, it seems, this kind of people.
Yet, at the same time, we are a people so naturally bent toward our own healing that we are also a forgetful people, and this, too, leads us to questioning. When you can walk again after a sprained ankle, you just...start walking. And for the next few weeks or so, you occasionally catch yourself and can't remember that moment your ankle healed and you wonder if it's really strong enough and maybe you even limp a little because you've forgotten your healing and you've forgotten your brokenness and there's just this in-between that you can't quite figure out.
We do that with God, too. Is this healed? Is it not? I'm naturally using it, but should I be? Is it strong enough? We are, hopelessly, it seems, this kind of people, too.
None of our questioning changes God's healing at all, but it does change our experience of it. It does nuance the way that we experience healing in our lives. It does impact how we express that healing, how we interact with it, how we embrace it - tenderly, but firmly, perhaps. As though it is both certain and fragile at the same time. Because we know that it is certain, but we...we are so fragile.
So we when we say that healing, even miraculous healing, takes time, we're not talking about the power of Jesus to heal in an instant. Rather, we're talking about our own finite understanding of, well, anything and everything and what it means to be human. Even a human with faith. Even a human with faith that pushes unclean through a crowd of persons just for a chance to touch the hem of His robe and know...
...and still have seven days to think about it.
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