When Healing Doesn’t Happen Right Away

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Honestly, Here’s Where I am at…

I hoped that maybe as we drove across the Washington border to Oregon,  all the stress of the last three months (packing and moving, niece being born, brother-in-laws wedding, starting grad school) would magically disappear. Somebody would use force heal like in Star Wars games and my healing points would go up 50 pts. Or I could visit the Hospital wing at Hogwarts and Madam Pompfrey would set me straight. (Hello Nerdy Nerds)! But none of that happened. Instead I’ve been trying to swim in the little pool inside my apartment complex to get some exercise.

Jesse’s grad school program right now is an immersive program. So by the end of the summer he should be able to speak fluent polymer Chemistry! (He already does sometimes in his sleep!) Immersive reminds me of submersed which reminds me of being underwater. I may or may not imagine Jesse sitting in the classroom in full scuba gear ready to take on the next scientific challenge.

Do you believe that Jesus still talks to us? I do. and he reminded me of one of my favorite Bible stories from childhood. One of those stories you saw play out on the flannel/felt boards in Sunday School. Or saw on 80’s Bible Adventures VHS. Beneath all of that cheesy nostalgic packaging God reminded me of Namaan.

How a Powerful Man was Humbled

Namaan was a commander of Israelite’s enemy army in the old testament story in the Bible who bathes in the water to be healed of his skin disease. Go ahead and read 2 Kings 5 if you’re curious 😉 A full immersive and submersed healing.

I’m left with three distinct impressions:

  1. It takes the faith of someone with the lowest social standing to tell him how to get healed. A female servant of his wife who’s from Israel. An alien, a foreigner, and a young woman. Not the top of the totem pole back then! (Or even today, for that matter).
  2. The young servant girl has faith that Namaan can be healed by a prophet in Israel, but the very legit, powerful KING OF ISRAEL, tears his robes and asks “Am I God??” and is tormented that this is merely an excuse to start a war. Thankfully Elisha shows up and says “let him come to me,”
  3. Namaan is frustrated when Elisha later tells him to bathe in the water 7 times, through a messenger. Doesn’t even talk to him face to face! He was so willing to be healed — especially if it happened right away. Or at least an awesome show of power and strength by simply waving his hand over him. He wanted power to acknowledge power.

Namaan finally relents, because his servants (those without power) say to him:

“if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!”

He dips himself in the water seven times, and lo and behold, “his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.” I like that his healing involved comparing him to a child. He became literally childlike in appearance, and more humble in this act of obedience.

If You’ve Been Here, Raise Your Hand

How much more faith does it take when God asks us, not to do a mighty, glorious task but to humbly accept a small act of obedience? Yesterday, I was in a really glamorous state. I was balancing one ice pack under my arm where I’d accidentally burned it on the side of my wok, and another ice pack on my knee because I’d injured it. Awesome.

If you’ve been here, raise your hand (but carefully since you might be balancing an ice pack or two). To add insult to injury, I’ve been having mild stomach issues for months. and it feels like I’ve tried everything. Prayed that God would heal it overnight. Prayed that God would have someone come up to me and have it healed then. Blood tests from the doctor. Cut out gluten and dairy. Cut out obsessively googling symptoms. And yet I think that the path may look more like dunking myself in the waters of humility and grace, seven times over.

Jess had a presentation this week in one of his classes about self-healing polymers. What’s a polymer you ask?

pol·y·mer

noun

CHEMISTRY
plural noun: polymers
  1. a substance that has a molecular structure consisting chiefly or entirely of a large number of similar units bonded together, e.g., many synthetic organic materials used as plastics and resins.

See? Super easy material to study! Not complicated at all! Anyways, I just like the sound of self-healing polymers. Apparently some day they could potentially be used in a plastic phone case to self-heal and be resistant to cracks (or at least that’s the only part of Jesse’s presentation I understood). I hope our grandchildren some day will say “Hey Grandpa, tell us again about how you invented self-healing phone covers? Also, what’s a phone?” lol.

Let’s be real, if we could just swallow some self-healing polymers that were biocompatible I’d be all about that. (Shhhh Jess, I know it doesn’t really work that way ;)) A girl can dream, right? So often I would rather have God work on my turf, and on my terms instead of letting him gently lead me. I would like it to be miraculous, transformative, and awe-inspiring. Instead of humbling, perspective changing, and patience building.  

A Different Story…

The story in Matthew 8:5-13 offers a parallel but contrasting story to Namaan. A Roman officer comes to Jesus and asks for his servant to be healed. Jesus offers to go with the officer and heal his servant. But the officer says that he doesn’t think that necessary because he think that Jesus carries great authority and power. He believes in Jesus so much so that he knows that even Jesus’ words can heal someone far away. Jesus says,“I tell you, I have never found anyone in Israel with faith like this.”

Roman officers are supposed to be the bad guys, you know? Not humble, wise, and concerned for those beneath them. Jesus was more interested in the guy’s faith than in anything else in that moment. Not power dynamics, or even about healing anyone, but “Who do you think I am?” 

That Roman Officer has more faith than I do — because he focused not on the end result, but acknowledging who Jesus really is, and who his authority came from. Underneath my request to feel better — is that anxiety of watching loved ones not get better this side of Heaven. I want the healing right in front of me. Sometimes it happens that way. That leaves me with a lot of questions to grapple with. I know I’m not alone in asking them.

 

 

 

 

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