I have found that lately I am increasingly fond of the sky. I just love looking at it. I’m fascinated by the colors and textures and light and movement: even if the sky has certain patterns and tendencies, it’s never the same. I always think it’s beautiful, no matter what the weather is like.
I was driving along minding my own business, admiring the sky in such fashion, when all of a sudden God showed me something about healing:
It was an overcast day (which isn’t odd for Washington), so the sky was covered in a rolling blanket of pale gray clouds. I then saw a little rift in the clouds, and the sun shone through, warm and bright, for a moment, and then slowly the clouds rolled over the light and covered it again.
It struck me then that the light didn’t go anywhere, but it was only blocked from view. That is when God began to show me this is how it is when He heals someone: if the physical world we live in is the shroud of clouds, then healing is when God gives us a glimpse of the realm of heaven. It is only a glimpse, because even if someone’s body is completely and perfectly healed here on earth, it will still keep on being alive and therefore aging and changing; since that person still lives in this fallen world, they may still get sick with a cold or encounter some other health issue. Ultimately these bodies weren’t made to last forever. Healing, like many of the things God does, is a taste of eternity.
Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.
Scripture doesn’t say whether or not Jesus then attended to the “multitude” of other people who were there awaiting healing, but I think it is safe to assume he did not. Some people may be wondering why, if God can heal them, He chooses not to; they may even think it’s because He doesn’t love them. God’s love for us is as great as He Himself is great—all of His being is consumed with love for us! Healing is a display of His glory and power, and while it is wonderful for the person being healed, it isn’t just for them but for everyone else who sees it or hears about it as well. While God does heal out of love, it is not the proof of His love. The proof of His love is His Son, who went to death on a cross on our behalf, and who returned to life in power to give us power and hope for today.
. . .[H]e himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. . . .having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us. . .
Even if someone has an infirmity that isn’t yet healed, they can still experience a taste of heaven every day. When we seek to know God more, to live in His presence, listen to His voice, and act on what He says and reveals, we are not only experiencing heaven ourselves, but we then bring it with us wherever we go. If someone is consumed with the healing they don’t have, however, they can never experience the fullness of joy and life that God intends for them. An infirmity, like everything else in this world, is only temporary; it will all pass away when the world passes away.
I am not suggesting it is easy, but I am asserting that your pain, your handicap, your illness and your hurts are not your true identity: You are a beloved child of God! His plans for you are enormous, and through Him you are able to overcome all things. We should pray for healing for each other, as Jesus commands us to heal in the power of the Spirit he gives us. But healing is more than just relief or even performing a cool miracle: just as everything we do or say by the Holy Spirit, it is about bringing heaven on earth—letting God have His way for His glory. One day, when “the grey rain-curtain of this world is rolled back,”* we will be completely healed, forever. Yet as the light of the sun never disappears but is only hidden by the clouds, so is heaven present here and now, though we only catch glimpses of it.
I wrote this in my personal journal over a year ago now, when I was feeling very discouraged. Perhaps it will encourage someone else today.
A Soldier’s Complaint
I am walking to the land He has given me to possess; I am walking in it, to possess it.
I’ve walked through deserts; through dim valleys and lush fields.
I’ve scaled high, steep hills; I’ve climbed long, shallow ones.
Through rain and sun, night and day, I have walked.
When I have walked alive, I have been dead. And when I have died, I have walked in new life.
And what I have lost along the way—it is worthless; to what I have gained, all the world does not compare.
I have nothing left, yet I have everything I have ever needed; indeed the desires of my heart are mine.
I’ve fought—I’ve fought, and been victorious, and I’ve also given up victories.
I’ve swung the sword and thrown the dagger and held fast the shield.
I’ve put on the armor, and I’ve forgotten the armor.
I’ve been wounded. I’ve been in pain.
I’ve been healed, restored, renewed.
In battles, in the war, I have fought.
I’ve died to all things, slowly and assuredly; and even to this day, I am dying!
I am walking, I am fighting—fighting for what? Walking where?
My Darling, do you not trust Me?
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for harm, plans to give you a future
and a hope.
I am so weary, I am so drained…
Run, and do not grow weary.
I can’t see where I’m going, I have to stop…
Walk, and do not grow faint.
What if I can’t run this race set before me? How can I go on?
I am with you always
Even to the end of the age…
My life is not my own. I am not my own.
You are all I have; You are all I want! I am only alive in You, and life flows through me from You.
You refresh my soul, restore my strength, and quench my thirst.
You fill my heart when I open it wide, and I overflow when I do not shut it up.
I will never leave you nor forsake you.
So I run.
I run, sword in my hand, shield on my arm.
I run, my face to the sky and my eyes to the hills; through the tempest and the eye, through the shadows and the light.
I am the torch, I carry the flame; running always for the prize,
For I know the plans I have for you
plans for welfare and not for harm
plans to give you a future and a hope.
Running home, to my Father and my Groom; fighting alongside my King and my Lord.
I have a future.
I have hope.
[Original: 28 January 2012]