Living Word Church
Saturday, December 16, 2017
Down-to-earth people looking upward to God
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Healing and the Sovereignty of God
Copyright 2007 by Shea Oakley
All rights reserved
Our healing will not come about in the way we think it should, but as God knows it should. Chronic pain, whether it is physical or emotional, cries out for relief and we are sure that the time for it to be relieved is now. We often also presume to know just how that healing should come about. None of these things is completely under our control. Any true healing we receive in this life must ultimately be sanctioned by God’s sovereign will. We are by no means the authors of our cure, He is.
It is true that we can sometimes lessen felt pain through our own devices, most often by the use of chemicals of one kind or another. However this usually does not effect the deep and permanent relief we want. A psychiatrist I know once told me that tranquilizers, for example, are just a cover for emotional pain, not a cure. This is actually somewhat self-evident and true for all the temporary pain relievers we use today. Whether it be through alcohol, drugs, illicit sex or any other high-inducing substance or activity what we obtain is temporary relief and, in the case of that which is clearly at variance with Scripture, the possibility of more pain in the end.
True healing is usually something that takes time. There is also often pain exclusive to the process and that process may require significant changes in our habits of body or heart. Most of all, for the Christian, healing is a matter of prayer. This is especially true when it comes to emotional pain. Real healing requires real intimacy with the Healer and surrender of control over our lives is a foundational requirement for that intimacy to happen. Emotional pain is often connected to our resistance to humble ourselves in some way before God, such as when we refuse to forgive someone who hurt us.
Related to our need to accept that real healing is more often at the initiative of God than us is the fact that complete relief may never be ours on this side of Heaven. To call this reality an uncomfortable one for human beings to accept is an understatement, especially in a day and age when a pain-free existence has somehow come to be considered a “right”. This self-induced and culturally-prevalent delusion has been unknowingly spiritualized by some Christians who hold to the doctrine that if we have enough faith we can be completely free of any illness in this life, either physical or emotional.
When divinely-caused relief does come we are sometimes surprised by how it happens. God may use a person to confront us, or a circumstance to humble us, that we never would have suspected or desired. Beyond that, how many of us have repented of some destructive attitude in our lives and then found out that, in the repenting, a “thorn in our side” we thought was completely unrelated to the sin in question has been removed? As befits the mysterious, but benevolent, ways of our God, the nature of cause and effect in the healing process is sometimes quite different than what we expect it to be.
As in all areas of the Christian life the key is in trusting that God knows what He is doing even when we feel otherwise. He understands our longing for healing and it is in His nature to heal, but our relief must come on His terms, not our own. Accepting God’s wisdom over ours and patiently waiting for His touch will lead to the peace of mind and heart we need to endure our pain and, ultimately, to the relief we have trusted Him for.