All Flesh Is Grass
I have a lifelong disability. Part of what I like about living a virtual life on the Web is how my disability rarely comes into play in my social interactions – people know me, joke with me, have fun and share ideas with me, and the vast majority never have to stop to think about the girl with the disability. I don’t share information about it. Almost no one has asked. It is, in effect, a non-issue in this digital world.
Not so in my real world, this physical realm of work and love and churches and social life. My disability is readily apparent. And it’s no problem, no huge issue, really, not from my point of view. But it becomes an issue for others on certain occasions. Those occasions are when I meet up with someone who’s decided I need to be healed, and that they’re just the Christian intercessor to do it.
I used to allow laying-on-of-hands sessions, those staples of Pentecostal prayer circles. I mean, if someone wants me healed, they must have my best interests at heart, right? But as time went on, I began to sense that those who prayed over me were irritated when denied the instant gratification of a miracle on demand. They weren’t irritated with God; His ways are always right. They weren’t irritated with themselves; they knew they were praying in exactly the right way. And that left one last person in the irritation equation. Me. I was what irritated them.
Apparently (according to many of my intercessors), I was holding back on the faith required to allow God to perform His wonders. Or (according to others) there was some sin in my life that blocked the Spirit from doing a healing work. Or (according to one, but he was quite adamant and therefore gets his own line here) the demon of my particular disability was just too strong in me, and I required a whole church to pray over me for a whole night.
Here’s a thought: Maybe “none of the above” is the answer to the Cosmic-ain't-healed-yet conundrum. Perhaps my disability has yet to be healed because it gives glory to God. Perhaps it is a wonderful, glorious, blessed thing that He must increase, even as I decrease.
Wondering About The Title?
This blog’s title, “Everyone Jesus Healed Got Sick Again and Died” may have struck you as controversial at first. But it isn’t. Think about it: No one healed by Jesus during His physical time on Earth remains alive today. All of them have died. Not one is still walking around in Jerusalem, wondering why they don’t get to shuffle off this mortal coil. His physical healings were temporary.
If you feel slightly annoyed that I just referred to the physical healings done by Jesus as temporary, you might need to ask yourself why that bothers you. Especially since you know it’s true. All bodies die; it’s appointed.
Allow me to say something else controversial: No physical healing, neither in the time of Jesus nor in our own times, is a miracle that’s actually about the physical healing. I repeat: miracles of healing are not about the healing.
Then what are they about? The Word of God gives us pretty clear guidance on that. They are about God’s sovereignity, and His freedom to do as He pleases with the works of His creation (Psalm 115:3). They are about the manifestation of God’s power, and not about one’s physical or spiritual state (John 9:3). They are signs and wonders demonstrating the Savior’s role on Earth … and once the point has been made, those healed will continue to age, become infirm, and pass away. It’s appointed unto all men.
Consider: While miracles of healing show forth the wonders of God, so do blessings of non-healing. The same God who can, with less than the merest whisper of a thought, heal thousands as He wills, can also be glorified through the demeanor of the ones who bear suffering without healing in the world. In his moving chapter on how we suffer in the flesh, Peter concludes, "So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good" (1 Pet. 4:19). Paul, too, speaks of being reminded that God’s power is made perfect in weakness when he writes of his “thorn in the flesh” (2 Cor. 12:6). and when he mentions that he prayed three entire times to be relieved of that thorn. That kind of faith puts me to shame – after three times, he knew the Lord’s answer; I surpassed three dozen sessions of heartfelt begging long before my 18th birthday.
Praying for Healing
Are we to pray for the healing of others? Of course! Prayers of that sort are particularly appropriate for the church elders among us (James 5:14). In fact, we’re all commissioned to pray without ceasing for myriad things, physical, emotional, spiritual, situational.
But when we find someone who knows their disability is according to the will of God, do we strive to correct him? Do we contradict her? Do we counsel that God wants to heal all, and that the disabled need to grow more in faith to come to a healing insisted on by intercessors of the New Covenant?
You know my answer to that. You know Peter’s. You know Paul’s. When you tell a physically challenged brother or sister that it is their lack of faith or their possession by demons that keeps them from becoming “whole” … well, frankly, you run the risk of causing one of those little ones to stumble in the despair you create. Better for you that a millstone be tied around your neck, and that you be cast into the sea. You’re forgetting the real meaning of physical healing – the glory of God. You’re forgetting that sometimes sufferings and deficiencies glorify God as well. You’re forgetting Peter’s admonition that just as Christ suffered in the flesh, we “should be of like mind” (1 Pet. 4:1). You’re forgetting Paul’s declaration that “I rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Cor. 12:9)
My disability – mine, the disability of Cosmic Parx – gives glory to God. I proclaim His handiwork even from the midst of what others would call a dramatic physical handicap. Some have disagreed with my acceptance of this state of affairs and say to me (directly, to my face) that I’ve fallen short of God’s physical healing ideals. But I can only rest on one credo: His grace is sufficient unto me.
I’ll get my best healing at the resurrection.