Healing is something that can be experienced in extremely different ways for different people. In chapel the other day, one of the guys on the baseball team shared about when he punched a window, which severed an artery and almost died from it. His dad, who is a pastor, was also there to share about how God performs miracles every day and this was an example of his son being healed by God. At the end of the service, the chaplain got up and talked about how this dad had gotten the healing he wanted, but that another dad on stage had not gotten the healing he wanted. The other dad was the guy who leads worship for our chapels. His four-year old son died relatively recently, yet he continues to worship God every day.
I am not going to talk about the intangibles of physical healing because, honestly, I just don’t know enough about it to do so right now. However, something that is also very important is emotional and spiritual healing. What do we do when people we care about get hurt, and bad things happen to us? Some people get mad at God. Others suppress everything they are feeling and act like everything is fine. Some people feel like they need to know why this or that happened. Some people think they need to move on, even if they really just want to cry. And some people feel bad if they are angry or if they don’t have any answers.
First of all, it is okay to feel angry or to have no answers.
Secondly, when something like this happens, we need to take the time to take it in, accept it, and grieve for a bit. Jesus wept, which means he took in the emotion of what was going on and felt the pain of losing a friend. Rob Bell says, “You have to let it hit you. You can’t avoid it. We can’t avoid our responses to things and think they will go away. We have to let it out or it will stay in there somewhere.”
From there, we have a choice. A choice of whether we are going to be bitter or accept what has happened and move on. The thing about bitterness, though, is that it can take over your thoughts if you allow it. The longer we hold onto something, the harder it is to let it go. Sometimes, we focus so much on what we don’t have that we start to lose out on what we still do have.
We have to put our faith in Go that he will restore us and heal us.
Psalm 71:20 says, “Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up.”
Although any loss hurts, we will recover. God made us so that we can overcome anything this world can throw at us with his help. It may seem like you are have hit rock bottom and will never recover, but there is always hope with God.
There is a Jewish custom when a loved one dies that the family of the deceased observes a practice referred to as “sitting shiva.” During this ritual, families can sit and talk together or they can just sit in silence and grieve.
“God is sitting shiva with you, fully present, grieving your loss, but also restoring. And in that, we may find hope.” God cares about us enough that he hurts when we hurt. Therefore, he wants to heal us from the hurts that we have. We have to fully trust in him (which is no easy task) and then consciously allow him to work in and through us. We have to choose not to be bitter and to forgive those who hurt us. We have to understand that every bad thing we experience in life will absolutely benefit us at some point in our lives. Hurt leads to restoration. Pain leads to healing.
“He was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our sins. The punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds, we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5