As defined by dictionary.com, “health” is soundness of body or mind, freedom from disease or ailment. The definition of “healing” is growing sound, getting well, mending. You’ll notice that healing does not necessarily mean restoring health. It is very possible to heal without wellness of body. Possible, but not at all easy.
When people get sick, it’s an automatic reaction to think that one day they will be healthy again. I don’t think anyone ever expects that one day they will become ill and never get better. My illness started with chronic sinus infections and asthma. At the time I don’t even think I realized how chronic they were until people would start exclaiming that I was always sick. I would just take my meds, suck it up, and continue living my life as usual. I always thought that I would get better. And then one day I didn’t. My illness morphed into, among other things, constant stomach issues causing me to lose weight at an alarmingly rapid rate. There has not been one single hour in the past two years that I have been free from stomach pain, nausea, worries, or other related problems.
Although much of the time I struggle to believe that I will be healthy again before I reach my eternal home, I do believe that I am healing. If you could feel what is going on in my body, you would not think that I am healing. But if you could see what is going on in my heart, you would know that I am. I am experiencing a more important healing than bodily healing. I am “growing sound” on my Foundation, my Creator God who heals my heart and life a little more each day. I am “getting well” spiritually, learning/being forced to rely on His strength to live each day. And I am “being mended” by a God who takes the broken pieces of my heart, my dreams, my goals, my past and slowly stitches them back together into His heart, His dreams, His goals, HIS LIFE. Hallelujah.
"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." - Psalm 147:3
Please do not hear me say that this process is pleasant. Far from it. In fact, this is the most painful experience of my life. Through much complaining and exhaustion, I cry out for mercy over and over. But if I could go back and start over, without having to go through this process, I would not do it. Being healthy without actually being healed is just not important to my eternal soul. The healing is too eternally valuable to miss.
How ironic to be healed through shattered health, but that is what God is doing.
So what does healing look like, if it doesn’t look like health? For me, healing looks like seeing God in everything. Healing looks like slowing down. Healing looks like kindred spirits who walk with me in understanding. Healing looks like sun rays, sunrises, and sunsets. Healing looks like honesty. Healing looks like learning to allow the tears to fall when they gather. Healing looks like an impulsive hike to a waterfall. Healing looks like an unexpected card or word of encouragement. Healing looks like time- time spent in nature, time spent in God’s word, time spent writing or being creative, time spent with a friend, time spent on my knees with my face to the ground in sorrow, praise, or worship. Healing looks like reflecting on the past and caring for old hurts. Healing may eventually look like the courage to walk through the door of a therapist’s office. Healing looks like doing for others and allowing them to do for me. Healing looks like walls falling down. Healing looks like a husband’s love and constant sacrifice. Healing looks like dog snuggles and hugs from those who care. Sometimes healing looks a bit like a dance. Two steps forward and one step back, or even one step forward and two steps back. Sometimes I’m a willing dance partner and sometimes I’m dragged around the floor kicking and screaming.
Healing always looks like Jesus, showing up in unexpected, ordinary or extraordinary, but always miraculous ways.
"But perhaps in our zealous quests to live long and prosper, we have confused Jesus' invitation to be made well with our own desire for fully cured bodies, and in doing so, we have altogether missed a deeper knowing of what it means to be healed by the Savior" - Jenny Simmons in Made Well
When I imagine myself fully healed, I am standing before God in Heaven. But if I am able to imagine a full healing before that time, I see a person completely in love and fully heart-connected to God. Someone who makes spending time with him a priority because she is communing with him all day long. I see someone who serves others with her entire strength. Someone who shines Jesus from her face because her heart cannot contain the depths of his love. Someone who is so connected to God that she cannot talk about any area of her life without talking about what he has done. That is the person I want to be, and that is the person God is healing me to be. I am a very blessed child of God because of this gift of healing he is giving me.
Healing is an amazingly beautiful process. It is also filled with much fear, pain, exhaustion, and tears. It’s going to take a lot more time, perhaps the rest of my life. But without the painful parts, I would miss the beauty. And I never, ever want to miss the beauty. The Healer is at work, and I am being healed.
"Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed." - Isaiah 53:4-5