My kids have been sick for almost two weeks. There has been fever, and there has been vomit…a lot of it. Seriously. Just when I think everyone is well, someone throws up…again. The pediatrician we saw a few days ago called it a “mystery infection,” which I think is what you get when they can’t throw “fever virus” out at you because there are simply too many other symptoms.
So, needless to say, that doctor visit wasn’t the most helpful we’ve ever had.
Of course, I’m not knocking the pediatrician. He’s wonderful, but let’s face it: he’s limited. There are things he just doesn’t know and answers he just doesn’t have.
He’s a good physician, but he’s not the great one.
One of my kids has been fine all day, every day. She’s been full of energy and has played and laughed and run around the house like there’s not a worry in the world.
Every night, however, she has woken up bathed in evidence that she, too, has the “mystery infection.”
Last night, as I put her to bed, she told me she was scared to go to sleep because she didn’t want to get sick. She didn’t want her stuffed animals because she didn’t want to get them dirty again. She didn’t want covers because she didn’t want to have to wash her favorite blanket again. She didn’t want to throw up.
I looked at that sweet thing and did the only thing I could think of: I put my hand on her head and prayed, asking God to help her not get sick tonight.
Because he can.
I believe that. Do you?
I know it can be difficult because we have all known people who prayed for healing and didn’t have it. We have seen loved ones suffer. Maybe you’re sick and suffering today and praying to the Great Physician to make you well.
I don’t have answers for how and who and why God heals, but I have hope for these reasons:
Jesus is Able to Heal
Our pediatrician couldn’t give me anything but encouragement the other day. He wasn’t able to make my kids well. It was beyond his ability. He’d met his match even in our somewhat insignificant “mystery infection.” I can’t imagine how he feels when he meets it in bigger, scarier, and more serious illnesses.
Lamentations 2:13 says, “Your wound is as deep as the sea. Who can heal you?”
Now, this verse is referring to Jerusalem, a city suffering, and a people in pain, but it just jumped off the page at me this week because that is the question we all need answered when we face sickness and suffering.
It was certainly the question on the heart and mind of the woman we meet in chapter 5 of the book of Mark. It says:
“A woman was there who had been subject for bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better, she grew worse.” (Mark 5:25-26)
She needed answers. She needed help. She needed healing.
No one had been able to help her. It seemed her suffering would never end. Still…
“When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, ‘If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.’ Immediately, her bleeding stopped, and she felt in her body that she had been freed from her suffering.” (Mark 5:27-29)
Imagine the faith of this woman! Just take a moment and ponder it because she had tried everything she knew and spent everything she had, and despite all that she still had faith in one thing: Jesus was able.
He still is, y’all.
The one who walked the earth healing and helping “is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)
Jesus Heals Completely
The woman was healed instantly, and she knew it. Still, rather than jump for joy or shout “Hallelujah!,” she stayed quiet and remained hidden until Jesus called her out.
I wonder why.
Perhaps it’s because she wasn’t supposed to be there? Illnesses like hers left people “unclean,” and in the life of Jews in Jesus’ day, the last thing you wanted to be was “unclean” because it caused separation: from others and from God.
She must have been lonely and frightened and desperate.
Jesus didn’t want to leave her that way. He called her to confess what she had done and what had happened: her healing. He made sure everyone knew she was well, and he commended her faith.
I imagine that the woman who had probably come creeping up to him walked away with her head held higher than it had been in years. She was healed physically, but she was also set free to live in relationship.
Because Jesus heals us completely.
He told the woman, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” (Mark 5:34)
From the moment she touched him, she had been freed from her bleeding, but he wanted her to be free from her suffering…all of it. The shame, the loneliness, the stigma that followed wherever she went. Instead of pain, he offered peace.
Jesus Heals for All Time
He still offers peace. To you and me and all who need it. Which is all of us, isn’t it?
Our world is fractured and hurting and in need of healing. Jesus is the one who gives it.
Jesus told the woman, “your faith has healed you.” The word he used for “healed” can also be interpreted “saved.”
She was saved from suffering by the one “who is able to save completely those who come to God through him because he always lives to intercede for them.” (Hebrews 7:25)
She was saved completely: physically, emotionally and spiritually.
If we have faith in Christ, we will be, too.
Maybe not today. But eventually and for all time.
Read with me in Revelation a beautiful description of what eternal healing will look like:
“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse.” (Revelation 22:1-3)
The curse of sin and shame and sickness will be cured completely. The nations will be healed, relationship will be restored, and peace will reign forever.
When I think of these things, I can only say with the Psalmist:
“Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Psalm 103:1-5)
Through Easter at least, my Encouraging Word Wednesday posts will be focusing on names of Jesus. This week, our “mystery infection” had me thinking about the Great Physician, but I’d love it if you would take a moment and explore the other posts in the series:
I’d love to hear from you! Maybe you have a story of healing to share or a way I can pray for you today. Would you leave a comment and let me know? I’d also love for you to join us for Encouraging Word Wednesday this week. Just leave one or two links to your favorite faith-filled posts and then visit another blogger and leave an encouraging comment for them.