Healing. If you want to talk about a bitter-sweet word in my life, that would be it.
If I were asked to define "healing" free from context, I would describe it as a coming back to wholeness from a state of brokenness. In theory, it has such a natural, soothing sentiment and conjures peaceful feelings within.
But once you start to unpack what healing is to different people in different circumstances, you find the path to wholeness comes in different venues.
In my own life, this was more or less the path of healing over nine painful months.
- My illness growing to the point that it was undeniable something was wrong and needed treatment
- Doctor consultations
- Endless tests (CT, x-ray, scopes, blood tests)
- Medications (again, too many to list)
- Central line IV nourishment in place of eating
- A chest tube
- A feeding pump
- Blood transfusions
- Prayer- didn't necessarily come last, it was interspersed throughout the process
I believe firmly in the supernatural power of God to heal. I know those who have experienced it and within a moment their afflictions were gone. I believe the Lord not only wants us to pray for healing, but commands it in James 5. And I believe when we pray for healing we should pray boldly and with faith (I have written about this before here).
Sometimes healing is instantaneous. Sometimes healing is a process. Sometimes a medicine, a surgery, a diagnosis. Sometimes it is death.
When healing is talked about in the church, it seems that there are two scriptural aspects to physical healing that we sometimes forget.
One is that healing, even when performed by Jesus, was always incomplete. Everyone Jesus healed, even those He raised from the dead, died again. At this point in the great story, only Christ has received the complete healing that conquers death. But it is because of that promise and hope that we know we can receive our complete healing at the end of time.
The second forgotten aspect of scriptural healing is that even once we're healed, we still show the scars. Jacob limped after wrestling God, Jesus' scars remained after his resurrection, and even Paul claimed to bear the marks of Christ on his body. And it seems to me that rather than being marks of shame, they were marks of victory. Like I said in my last post on illness, trauma changes you. Maybe it's supposed to, and the scars you carry are the witnesses to your testimony.
It is much easier to write these things two and a half years out of my last health crisis. There are so many questions I still have and things I don't know. To give the impression that I have reached complete understanding and peace with my own physical trials would be a lie. But two of the things I know for sure are that God has given me a testimony to share and scars to always remind me of my healing.
*I have come to answer this when I talk about the whys of why I survived. One thing I was firmly convicted of throughout my illness and still is that God was good, merciful and gracious regardless of what happened to me, so I will not attribute my healing to His goodness, but instead His sovereignty.