Get up and walk!

And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.”
(Luke 17:19)

Have you ever tried to imagine yourself in some of the Gospel stories of healing? Suppose you were the blind man who asked Jesus for sight. Jesus spits on the ground, makes a little mud from the wet dirt, and smears it over your eyes! Then He tells you to go and wash your face.

After you wash, you can see.

Or maybe you are one of the ten men suffering leprosy, a hideous disease that makes you an outcast. Jesus hears your cry for help, but He simply looks at you and tells you to go and present yourself to the priest. In Jesus’ time, a person who had suffered from a skin disease could not be admitted back into society until the priest did an examination and then a purification ceremony. The Lord tells you to go to the priest, and yet your skin is still raw with leprosy!

Would you go? Or would you leave in despair, thinking your plea had not been heard?

The lepers did as Christ commanded, and as they went they were healed.

One more. You have been unable to walk since birth. You ask Jesus for healing. What does He tell you? “Get up and walk!” Would you unfold those useless legs and attempt to get up?

God often asks something of us in the process of our healing. We may have to give up something we’ve been clinging to for a long time. He might tell us we need to forgive. We will certainly have to throw out our idol of pride and self-sufficiency. Almost always we will have to do something new and uncomfortable. Perhaps the one most difficult thing that is required of us is that we throw open those barricades and high gates guarding our citadel of will and say to the Spirit, “I want to be healed. Help me.”

Do not mistake this for self-help and determination and willpower. We all know that our own strength and willpower quit far too soon. This obedient action is faith. It is going forward based not on what we can see and feel but on the bridges of what God says and what He promises. It is getting up on legs that have never walked and taking a step…then two…then three.

Our faith is the living out of our trust in His promises.

So after we come to Him for healing, we must then get up and do as He tells us.
Because our hope knows He is restoring to wholeness our lives that will go on forever.

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Psalm Prayer: Take your pick this week, whichever of these prayers is your response to God;

From the depths of despair, O LORD, I call for your help.
(Psalm 130:1)

You have done many good things for me, LORD, just as you promised.
(Psalm 119:65) 

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MORE: It’s impossible to list all the promises in the Scripture about healing, because that’s what the whole Book is about! You’ll find it everywhere, when you’re looking for it. All through the Gospels, the Psalms, the history of the Israelites, the prophets, the promise for the future–everywhere! Here are a few references, just to start you off. Find the ones that speak to your heart, and make them your own:

Exodus 15:26; Psalm 6:2; Psalm 30:1-3; Psalm 34:17-18; Psalm 91:3; Psalm 103:3; Psalm 107:17-22; Psalm 147:3; Isaiah 30:18-26; Isaiah 42:3; Isaiah 53:5; Jeremiah 3:23; Ezekiel 36:35-36; Malachi 4:2; Matthew 9:35; Matthew 11:28-30; Mark 10:51-52; Luke 4:40; Luke 4:14-21; Luke 5:31; Luke 9:2; Luke 10:9; Luke 17:19; Luke 18:40-42; 1 Corinthians 12:28, 30; 1 Peter 2:24

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© Elaine Starner 2015 Photo credits: Thanks to Claire Pridgeon, Paul Stutzman, and Lana Turner for sharing photography I’ve used on this site. (Click on each name to see more.)

Waiting for You

Does it sound too simple to say that we come to Jesus and He heals us? Perhaps this is exactly what Jesus meant when He said that in order to enter into the Kingdom of God we must receive it like a child—with a hopeful faith that puts trust and confidence in someone greater, stronger, and with far greater resources.

Skepticism and lack of faith prevent us from experiencing so many of the blessings of living in the Kingdom.

God assured the apostle Paul that His strength would work to the greatest degree exactly where and when Paul was weakest. Might the reverse also be true? When we think we are strong, then we leave little room for God’s strength to work in us.

In North America today, our greatest idolatry is the worship of our own strength and sufficiency. When we have chains to break or sickness to heal, we pick up self-help books (a telling label!) and try to determine what we can or must do. And we miss the crucial, imperative action: coming to Jesus and crying out for healing.

So the Lord must wait for you to come to him
so he can show you his love and compassion.
For the Lord is a faithful God.
Blessed are those who wait for his help.
He will be gracious if you ask for help.
He will surely respond to the sound of your cries.
(Isaiah 30:18, 19b)

Our efforts will amount to little unless we first come to Jesus and throw ourselves at His feet, and when He asks, “What do you want me to do?” we must cry, “Lord, I want to be healed!” (see Luke 18:40-42 and Mark 10:51-52).

He waits for us to come to Him.
And when we do, He hears with love and heals with compassion.

The passage in Isaiah 30 goes on to say that even in the midst of trouble, He will help you and teach you and guide you. You will recognize Him as your God, the only God, and you’ll throw out your idols and say, “Good riddance” (Yes, I say good riddance to self-sufficiency!) You’ll experience all kinds of wonderful blessings and prosperity, and your enemies will be soundly defeated.

Even for those who have not yet come and asked for help, the Father gives the invitation:

“My wayward children, come back to me, and I will heal your wayward hearts.” (Jeremiah 3:23)

Blessed are those who come to Him for help.

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Psalm Prayer: Take your pick this week, whichever of these prayers is your response to God;

From the depths of despair, O LORD, I call for your help.
(Psalm 130:1)

You have done many good things for me, LORD, just as you promised.
(Psalm 119:65) 

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© Elaine Starner 2015 Photo credits: Thanks to Claire Pridgeon, Paul Stutzman, and Lana Turner for sharing photography I’ve used on this site. (Click on each name to see more.)

Praying to the One who has the power to heal

 “I am the LORD who heals you” (Exodus 15:26).

The wound festered for decades, and it was ruining my life. Dictating my actions, restricting my spirit. I tried talking with three different counselors. I pored over every self-help book that promised answers and results. I experimented with recommended methods of mind control, behavior modification, and body discipline.

But the deep slash across my heart, soul, and mind did not heal. My marriage ended, my self-respect and my faith dwindled to almost nothing, and only the grace of those who loved me sustained my relationships.

The third counselor patiently watched and listened as my thoughts paced in circles, week after week. Finally, during one gloomy hour, I threw up my hands in despair and declared there was no help for me. She paused before responding, then quietly asked the question that set my life off in a new direction.

“Have you ever prayed for healing?”

The question stunned me. Or, rather, the honest answer stunned me. No, I had never prayed about this thing that was destroying my life.

Here I was, a Christian who, for all of her life, had claimed to believe in God’s power and love; yet I had never simply asked Him to heal my diseases. I had prayed about the resulting problems and frustrations; but I had never prayed for healing.

And so I prayed. I was desperate.

As a ten-year-old farm girl, I sliced my finger on the broken mirror of an old pickup. A chunk of flesh hung away from the first knuckle of my finger, leaving a raw, bloody opening. Mom cleaned it and bound it up. Today, a small blue line under the skin reminds me of that day. But that is all that remains of the hurt. Somehow that flesh renewed itself, closing the gap and returning to health.

And in the same way, the gash in my heart, mind, and soul slowly closed and mended. Day by day, bit by bit, God repaired the tear in my life. I cannot explain how it happened, yet I am convinced the only thing that brought healing was my prayer asking for a miracle. I had spent years trying everything else. But only God could heal the wound.

God hears all our prayers for healing of the life that will go on forever. He rescues His children from slavery and tells them over and over again, “I am the God who heals. I will bandage your wounds. My purpose is to make you whole.”

 

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Psalm Prayer: Take your pick this week, whichever of these prayers is your response to God;

From the depths of despair, O LORD, I call for your help.
(Psalm 130:1)

You have done many good things for me, LORD, just as you promised.
(Psalm 119:65) 

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© Elaine Starner 2015 Photo credits: Thanks to Claire Pridgeon, Paul Stutzman, and Lana Turner for sharing photography I’ve used on this site. (Click on each name to see more.)

Healing hearts

We all have some sickness in our lives; it’s hereditary, rampant in the family tree of Adam and Eve. Even those who now live as children of God have sicknesses to be cured and wounds to be healed—daily. Our souls fall ill with feverish jealousy. We have a bout of bitterness, or are debilitated by doubt and discouragement. Perhaps a wounded heart has bled with grief for so long that it is now weak and anemic. Sometimes we walk in company with a friend who suffers deeply, and we find that we ourselves need a balm for the pain we carry for our loved one.

Jesus healed the broken bodies that came to Him. Then, for those who had spiritual “ears to hear,” Jesus’ went even deeper in His teaching: He had come not only to heal bodies but also to cleanse the stains of sin and to break all powers of evil. He had come to heal those diseases that now beset us, as children of Adam.

His mission was to make people whole again.

I love our Father’s assurance in Psalm 147:3 that says, “He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds” and Isaiah 42:3 that speaks of Christ carefully tending bruised reeds and flickering candles—those who have been weakened and made frail by loss or suffering.

We are living in the Kingdom of God! Here God heals our hearts and bandages our wounds. He offers the cure for the sin-diseases that diminish our spiritual energy and hinder our relationships. He created us to live in freedom and power and love, but we’re often paralyzed. At Christ’s touch we can, like the paralytic, pick up our bed and walk—even run!

Our hope knows that Christ has the plan and the power to make our lives whole.

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Psalm Prayer: Take your pick this week, whichever of these prayers is your response to God;

From the depths of despair, O LORD, I call for your help.
(Psalm 130:1)

You have done many good things for me, LORD, just as you promised.
(Psalm 119:65) 

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© Elaine Starner 2015 Photo credits: Thanks to Claire Pridgeon, Paul Stutzman, and Lana Turner for sharing photography I’ve used on this site. (Click on each name to see more.)

Healing sick bodies

When we speak of “healing,” the first thing that comes to most minds is physical healing. Jesus’ healing of sick bodies was the visible display of God’s plan to restore human beings. He touched those who came to Him and healed all their diseases, everything from fevers to blindness to demon-possession. He began with the physical because that’s the level at which our understanding begins—at the place we can see and hear and touch. That’s the world we live in now.

I believe God still performs miracles in healing physical bodies. I believe He gives some of His children the gift of healing—whether through the exceptional skills of medicine or through the laying on of hands and the gift of healing through the Spirit.

But I hesitate to write much about physical healing. Not because I don’t believe it’s possible but because I have very little experience with chronic illness or pain or even more than usual sickness. My sicknesses that cried for healing have been in the realm of the mind and heart and soul. And so that is what I write about here.

I pulled a hamstring on New Year’s Eve. (No, nothing wild was happening. Just a misstep going down stairs.) My leg and knee still ache at times. That gives me a smidgeon of empathy for folks who live in never-ending pain, but I acknowledge I know nothing about what it’s like to live with chronic pain or illness or cancer or allergies or any kind of dismaying imbalance of your body.

So I don’t want to presume to tell you how to think or pray or act when it comes to physical diseases. Yet I firmly believe that God’s promises concerning healing and restoration apply to the physical as well as emotional and spiritual.

When Jesus sent out His disciples, He told them to do two things: Heal the sick and tell them the Kingdom of God is here. Those two things always went hand-in-hand. I don’t know of any instance where Jesus turned away a sick person and told them, “Sorry, not today.” In Acts, chapter 4, Peter and John were brought before the religious rulers and given a sharp warning to stop preaching. Released, the two reported back to other believers, and together they prayed for courage and boldness and asked God to “stretch out your hand with healing power.” Jesus’ mission was centered on healing.

And our Father invites His children to come to Him with all our burdens and cares. That would include physical burdens.

Yet I also know that God’s answer to our prayers is not always a miraculous physical healing. The Apostle Paul is an example. He had an aggravating physical condition that he considered detrimental to his work. He kept asking God to take it away. Yet God’s answer to him was the well-known, “In your weakness, I am strongest.”

I don’t understand why God sometimes miraculously heals our physical bodies and why at other times He does not. As I wrote yesterday, I believe in His love and care and that He always works for our good. That’s the foundation of my hope when it comes to physical suffering.

So, if you’re wrestling with some of these questions, may I point you to a short article written by someone who has deeper understanding of the desire for physical healing? Andrew Wilson is a pastor with two children with regressive autism. He shares his thoughts about physical healing in our earthly lives in “God Always Heals.”

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Psalm Prayer: Take your pick this week, whichever of these prayers is your response to God;

From the depths of despair, O LORD, I call for your help.
(Psalm 130:1)

You have done many good things for me, LORD, just as you promised.
(Psalm 119:65) 

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© Elaine Starner 2015 Photo credits: Thanks to Claire Pridgeon, Paul Stutzman, and Lana Turner for sharing photography I’ve used on this site. (Click on each name to see more.)