We’ve been talking about following Jesus away from yes-itis, people-pleasing, and the ways of this world and into fuller life. And a couple weeks ago we looked at what following Him tends to look like – starting with getting close to God, then accepting healing. So before we go any further, what is accepting healing, anyway?
In my life, I’ve found that usually God wants to treat me better than I want to treat me, and usually He wants me to treat others better than I want to treat them. I have learned over and over again that I have a deep desire to either a) get my way, or b) feel like I have life all figured out right now so I don’t have to live in the uncertainty that comes with life on planet earth.
Because of this, I’m perfectly willing to settle for what I want before God gives me what I need (see trading our blessings for bowls of soup) or I’m willing to give up on what He’s asked of me, because I can’t see what He has planned for it ahead. Not only that, but I’m happy to be in my own little world when Jesus asks me to be deeply invested in others.
What does that look like? Settling for a job I don’t really like, because I don’t believe God can give me one I love. Or giving up on a dream, because it’s hard and others don’t believe in it, and I start to think the lie that what I’m doing doesn’t matter anyway. Or let’s talk about the years I dated all the wrong dudes instead of waiting for the one who was right. It looks like bad choices and doubt and giving up and going along with the tide, because all of those things are faster and easier than trusting that God has something better in store. That God can do more than we ask or imagine if we would only believe.
Add that to the hardships and traumas inflicted on us by life in a broken world, and it’s no wonder we’re all so in need of healing.
So healing in my experience often starts there, with laying these things at Jesus’ feet – every single one of them – and letting Him reach in with love wherever and however He wants to do it. And if you’re anything like me it’s a daily, hourly, minute by minute process and it usually takes a lot of time. Like probably all the time we have until we step into heaven. So let’s look at some questions to ask ourselves this week and a few verses we can meditate as we walk toward greater healing.
Question to ask ourselves
Is there something I’m keeping from God that’s preventing Him from healing me?
Is there hurtful situation or a bad habit that I could invite God into and allow him to turn to good?
Is there an area where I’m doubting God or the gifts He’s given me, because I can’t see how He will bless it right now?
UPDATE: Where I’m accepting healing
How could I forget? Because a question’s never fair without transparency, it’s only right to share that I’m totally asking these same questions of God right now, actively listening for His answers, and taking ownership of where I can do things differently. Because seriously, friends? I want to mean it when I tell Jesus I’m following Him toward fuller life even though sometimes it’s hard.
So what’s that look like for me right now? It looks like accepting that I’ve made a few mistakes lately when it comes to letting bitterness and unforgiveness grow in my heart. It’s meant facing a really ugly situation where I felt taken advantage of for a long time and telling that person how I felt. And then it’s meant hearing their side even when I didn’t want to and praying for and extending forgiveness when I would have rather held a grudge. It’s also meant saying sorry for where I messed up and admitting to God that I let my anger get the best of me in the worst of it (complete with my least favorite kind of Facebook posts about how upset I was – though can I say if you prayed for me, I totally needed it and God totally heard so thank you for the outpouring of support).
It also means I’ve had to let God show me that I get myself into situations like this over and over again by not saying how I feel or by letting fear or doubt or sometimes even greed motivate me instead of trusting in Him. So all that to say, when it comes to accepting forgiveness, I’m sharing with you guys where I am and not just where I’ve been.
…He will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair. – Isaiah 61:3b (NLT)
Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed;
save me and I will be saved,
for you are the one I praise. – Jeremiah 17:14 (NIV)
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed. – Isaiah 53:5 (NIV)
… if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. – 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)
When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him.
“What are you arguing with them about?” he asked.
A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”
“You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”
So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.
Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”
“From childhood,” he answered. “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”
Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit.“You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”
The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.
After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”
He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.” – Mark 9:14-29 (NIV)
Original image of Expressions Of A Happy And Content Woman by iStockPhoto. Edited by Stephanie Oh.