Healing isn’t simply a nice thing that Jesus does on the side; it goes right to the heart and purpose of what God wants for us as individuals, for our wider communities, and for the whole Creation (see Romans 8). This may take many forms, but God’s healing isn’t simply about maintaining or restoring the status quo. Healing does not just take us into the realm of ‘restoration’ — into making someone better — but into a form of ‘new life,’ which is God’s will for us all.
First and foremost it is Jesus’ healing ministry, and not ours. It is Christ who heals, and it is His essential nature to do so. Jesus seeks to meet us at our point of need – be it physical, emotional or spiritual. How that might be is up to Him. Our role is simply but importantly to give the time, the safe space and the love in order for this to happen.
At the same time we have to recognise, not everyone and every situation we pray for gets ‘healed’ in the way we want them to be, nor in the miraculous ways that Jesus worked. However that does not mean His desire and purpose for ‘healing’ are not present. Whatever the need, it is being stored in the heart of God. Healing can take many forms – sometimes tangible but often in a gradual process of inner transformation.
The healing ministry didn’t stop with Jesus. It carried on into the Book of Acts and beyond, in and through the work of the Apostles and others. The practice and commitment to the healing ministry of Jesus is as important today because the World and its people need to experience, as well as to hear, that God loves them. The desire of God to bring healing and wholeness is one of the key ways he demonstrates his reign and Kingdom.
We cannot measure how you heal
Or answer every sufferer’s prayer,
Yet we believe your grace responds
Where faith and doubt unite to care.
The pain that will not go away,
The guilt that clings to things long past,
The fear of what the future holds
Are present as if meant to last.
But present too is love which tends
The hurt we never hoped to find,
The private agonies inside,
The memories that haunt the mind.
So some have come who need your help,
And some have come to make amends:
Your hands which shaped and saved the world
Are present in the touch of friends.
Lord, let your spirit meet us here
To mend the body, mind and soul,
To disentangle peace from pain
And make your broken people whole.
John Bell and Graham Maule
Hymn 348 in Common Praise