We are starting a sermon series at our church called “Story – When God’s Story Intersects Our Story.” We are preaching through some of the lesser known stories within the Gospels when Jesus encounters people and brings healing and transformation to their lives in the brief moments that they spend together. A friend made some suggestions of songs based upon the Scripture passages that we have laid out and suggested a song entitled “Healer” for next week. It’s a song that I have been familiar with for a number of years. I would encourage you to look up the story behind the song by Mike Guglielmucci. It’s both fascinating and sad for reasons that you will find if you look it up.
Today, I sat in my office and played it with my speakers set at a pretty high level. As I listened to the words, I looked through pictures of my mom. The words are below:
You hold my every moment, You calm my raging seas.
You walk with me through fire and heal all my disease.
I trust in You. I trust in You.
I believe You're my healer; I believe You are all I need.
I believe You're my portion; I believe You're more than enough for me.
Jesus You're all I need.
Nothing is impossible for You, nothing is impossible.
Nothing is impossible for You, You hold my world in Your hands.
© 2007 Planet Shakers Ministries Int. Inc. (Admin. by Integrity Music, Inc.)
I recalled Psalm 103:1-5 as I read through the words:
“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.”
To be honest, it was a really tough song to listen to, especially in light of the last 9 months of my life. The more that I looked at pictures of Mom with this song as the backdrop, the more I began to think through this whole concept of healing. As I thought about it, I realized that our tendency as mortal and finite human beings is to see things through a mortal and finite lens. In other words, our perspective deeply influences our perception unless we step out from behind our perspective and see it through another’s eyes. Still not make sense?
When we think of healing, we always think about healing right now. Our culture is an instant gratification culture, we want everything yesterday and are not patient enough to wait for anything to come to us. This bleeds over into our faith in God, our daily walk, and our spiritual formation. We want the spiritual equivalent of “30 minute Abs” and will do whatever it is that we can to get it. The thing is, formation is not that simple, nor is faith or our daily walk through life.
It’s easy for me to say, “God, this song is a bunch of crap because you didn’t heal Mom.” But that would be untrue, because He did, just not in the way that I hoped that He would. If my mom had been physically healed, she still would have eventually died, the healing that she received would only have been temporary, not permanent. The inevitable encounter with death would still be looming out in the distance somewhere, it would just have been prolonged. But instead, her healing is permanent, there will be no recurrence or relapse. She will not suffer again, she has been made whole. To think that God did not heal her is to have missed the greater picture, the eternal picture, the permanent picture.
It takes a lot for me to write this. There is a part of me that says, “I believe. Help my unbelief.” But there is also peace within me, knowing the truth of this. Not a day goes by where I don’t experience some deep longing and hurt within me over the loss of my mom, but it’s temporary because of the hope that I have in Christ.
This weekend would have been my mom's birthday. My brother and father will be at a memorial service held in her honor this Sunday as that was her birthday. It will be difficult for me to not be there, but I know where Mom would want me to have been, with my family and my wife who is to give birth to our third sometime in the next few weeks. It doesn't make it any easier.
Through all of our lives, when any of us encounter times where we pray and petition for God's healing, let's not forget that our own interpretation of healing and God's are not always the same. Temporal healing will only delay the inevitable physical death for a while, but permanent and eternal healing will ensure that we will never die again. Not always easy to look at it this way, but once we get there and believe it, there is hope in it.