Saturday, September 22, 2007

Healing here, maybe. Healing later, for sure!

While we were on holidays, my husband attended a symposium hosted by a university engineering department. They brought in a luncheon speaker who talked about stress in the workplace. The spouses were invited so I was privileged to hear the most amazing things.

His talk focused on how the body reacts to stress, particularly hidden stress. Fight or flight is readily identified, but many people are stressed without recognizing it or realizing what it is doing to them. Some grind their teeth at night yet claim they are not stressed. Others cheerfully help others, ignoring their own needs. He offered many other examples.

What amazed me were his descriptions (as a medical doctor with years of experience) of how this hidden stress translates into illness. When the body is under stress, the immune system is affected. How a person deals with their stress (or not), puts nuances to its effect on their bodies. Each method, for want of a better word, factors greatly toward being susceptible to certain diseases.

Again, he gave examples. He mentioned several serious illnesses and said that for each illness all those who have it deal with their stressors (or not) in an identical manner. For some of them, he gave detailed scientific processes of what happens and why those actions, or inactions, make those people sick.

As I listened to him I couldn’t help but think of the healing power of Jesus. God designed our bodies. He knows how they work and He knew, long before this doctor discovered it, what makes us ill. He even told His people in Exodus15:26, “If you diligently heed the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the LORD who heals you.”

I know that this verse could lead to a line of thinking that says sickness is caused by disobeying God. I won’t go there. God does have the power to heal, but He doesn’t heal everyone. I don’t understand His mind or His purposes for me much of the time, so I’ve no business trying to figure out why some stay sick and some are healed.

At the same time, I know there is a huge connection between mind and body. What goes on in our heart and soul also affects our bodies. The psalmist wrote, “There is no soundness in my flesh because of Your anger, nor any health in my bones because of my sin. . . . I am feeble and severely broken: I groan because of the turmoil of my heart” (Psalm 38).

I’ve been there too. In fact, who hasn’t had otherwise unexplainable aches and pains during stressful times? Stress, if nothing else, tightens our muscles and they get sore. However, the speaker at the symposium says it does much more. The hidden damage can put us in the grave.

When Jesus came, His ministry involved a great deal of healing. Sick people soon heard the word about this Physician. Some of them had been ill for many years, without any help from many doctors. When they heard that Jesus could heal with a word or a touch, they must have been filled with hope.

The medical profession today acknowledges that hope is a huge factor in healing, yet Jesus gave more than that. Luke 6:19 says, “And the whole multitude sought to touch Him, for power went out from Him and healed them all.”

They didn’t heal themselves because they were hopeful; the power came from Jesus. What was it? How did He heal them? The Bible doesn’t spell it out as plainly as that speaker spelled out the power that makes us sick. Some of the people Jesus healed became disciples and probably learned more about the stress of sin, at least, and how to bring that to Jesus for His amazing cure of forgiveness and cleansing. Some of them didn’t even say thank you. Maybe they went back to their old lifestyle—still filled with the stresses that made them susceptible to illness in the first place.

One day, those who know the Lord will be changed. 1 Corinthians 16:50-57 tell about it saying, “. . . the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality . . . death is swallowed up in victory.”

When my blind grandfather died, my mother took the call. Then she said, “Oh, it’s okay. Now he can see!” He was healed.

In this life, I am not always able to win the battles against the pressures of this world, the snares of Satan, and the foolish and harmful desires of my sinful flesh. Even as a Christian, I know the stresses of life eat at me; I am simply not able to trust and obey the Lord one hundred percent.

But there is a day coming, a day when this body of flesh will be “raised in glory . . . raised in power . . . raise a spiritual body.” In that day my eyes will see Him perfectly. My body will never suffer, and I will rejoice in total victory, all because Jesus will totally heal me, forever.

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