Monday, February 28, 2011

Searching for Healing

I have been searching for personal healing for the past two years.  The healing I have sought is not from a physical ailment but from emotional trauma.  I do not want to down play the trauma experienced by those who have seen tragedies of war and brutal acts of humanity but my symptoms while maybe not as severe, certainly hold many similarities to those symptoms associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Where I can feel normal one moment, one little thought can change that in an instant. Time has been a healer, where these instances do become fewer and farther between but I am far from where I want to be.  These things continue to affect my life and take away much more time than I would like to continue giving. 

I have a deep faith in the healing power of the Lord.  At the birth of my youngest child, I had an emergency C-Section.  I ended up contracting necrotizing fasciitis (flesh eating disease) and my chances for survival were slim.  The process to save my life included massive doses of antibiotics and surgically removing dead and infected tissue.  The first “debridement” surgery was a disappointment to my doctor because my fevers still continued to rage; a sign that all of the infections was not removed.  During this time, I had an outpouring of love from my community.  Family members and friends fasted and prayed for me.  I was included in several prayer circles in my community.  I had a wonderful nurse of another religion hold my hand and pray for me.  The words she used were different than the words I use to pray, but the spirit of her prayer filled the room.  This disease kills in days and the doctor was greatly concerned.  So, how did I survive?  I attribute it to the fasting and prayers of many.  The infection ended up getting trapped in an abscess (a pocket in the tissue) and had stopped spreading.  The surgeons were able to remove the rest of the infection and my life was spared.  Another experience with healing happened just last summer where my 16 year old son was miraculously able to participate in a weight loss camp where he should had been laid up the entire summer with a fracture to his leg.  His faith in the Lord’s ability to heal him and the blessing he received from my father, who had a similar faith, coupled with fasting and prayer is what I believe provided this miracle.

In three of the gospels, the account of Jesus healing a man with palsy is recorded.  Something Jesus said in each of these accounts piqued my attention in regards to being healed.

Luke 5:20, 23-24 And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee. 23 Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk? 24 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house. (also see Matthew 9:2-8, Mark 2;1-12)

Jesus seems to be saying that forgiving sins and healing are somehow one in the same.  First he uses the phrases “they sins be forgiven” and “rise up and walk” or “be healed” synonymously.  Then he proves he has power to forgive by the act of healing.  It could be supposed that this man somehow caused this condition to come upon him due to sin and that forgiving him was the same as healing him since it was the cause.  To me, the scriptures do not support this theory.  Of course there are situations when our sins cause our afflictions; those who abuse drugs will likely have health problems associated with that at some point in their life, but having palsy is unlikely to be a direct result of a choice.  

John 9:1-3 And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man that was blind from his birth. 2. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? 3. Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents; but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

Psalms 34:19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all. 

So if we assume that this man’s palsy was not a result of sin, there is another connection; maybe even a key for those that seek the Lord’s healing in their life.  I think the key here is repentance.  This may sound contradictory; our sins don’t cause our afflictions but we have to repent to be healed.  I think the thing to remember is that all of us have sin. 

John 1:8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

Regardless of if our affliction is the result of sin, the sin of another, or completely unrelated to what we seek to be healed from, we all have something in our life that we need to repent of because we all are imperfect.

Romans 2:23 All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God

I also think that while our sins do not cause our afflictions, many times our afflictions cause us to sin.  Our hardships bring with them emotion and with them natural thoughts and questions that if not checked can lead us to sin.  Here are some examples:  

·         Sadness = I can be this miserable on my own! 
·         Grief = This is too hard!  I cannot go on!
·         Victimization = I did nothing to deserve this! How could God let this happen to me?
·         Unforgiving = How can I forgive something so terrible?
·         Loneliness = Where is God? I feel he has abandoned me!
·         Pain = The Lord has given me more than I can bear!
·         Depression = How can I go on?  Death would be better than this!
·         Anger/Hate = This is not fair! (or) I want revenge!
·         Questioning = How can God watch such suffering? (or) Why me?
·         Doubting = I prayed and God didn’t hear me?  (or) Can God really help me?
·         Worry = Where did I go wrong?  (or) I just can’t give this one up to God!
·         Jealousy/Envy = Why do I suffer while others seem to have no problems?
·         Pride = I may make mistakes but I have done nothing close to what they have!

Are there times I have allowed depression to enter my life as opposed to some of those times I know I was unable to avoid it.  Have I allowed myself to become a victim as opposed to a survivor?  Do I categorize myself as better than another because my sins are less visible and not recognize my equal dependence on the Savior?  Do I wonder “why me” out of pity or do I seek to find out what the Lord is making of me?  Do I worry about things out of my control or do I trust in the Lord enough to give them up to him?  Have I given in to loneliness or do I seek out others who may be lonely?  And what of the man with palsy?  Did he ever wonder, “why me?”  Did he ever question why God allowed him to suffer?  Did he ever think his suffering was more than he could bear?  Did he ever envy others with good health?   Did he ever feel like he could not go on?

The Lord’s comment, “Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk?” tells me that regardless of the natural feelings and thoughts that may have entered into this man’s mind, he was now repentant.  His heart was no longer filled with questions, envy, or sadness, but of faith, hope, and acceptance. 

In thinking back to my miraculous healing experience at the birth of my youngest child, it just now occurred to me that before I was healed I had very personal experience in the intensive care unit where I had an opportunity to forgive someone I felt had truly wronged me and whom I still held hard feelings for.  I was literally washed over with love for this person.  After this, and I can see now, only after this did I experience healing. 

So, how can I find healing again?  I think the answer lies in the recognition of my sins and a repentant heart.  If I can do this, then just as the Lord said to the man with palsy, he can say to me, “that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, I say unto thee,” be healed!