Head, Heart and Hands (March 2022)
The twelfth of this series of positive reflection posts. Any improvement?
Post-accident I am no longer a lay cannon. I no longer have a license to preach. I still have a fit note for work.
I am not restored but I have been re-storied. Born Again!
Healing: Head, Heart, and Hands
I have personal experience of healing.
We are all different and I am aware that I can only write from my own experience.
From an accident with police drawn yellow body shaped outline at the scene of my accident, to ongoing coma and months later, discharge from hospital. To now.
I may be disabled as described in the Equalities Act 2010, but…
I can learn to live better, even if I may never get better, this side of eternity. God does not always heal completely, or even at all, in the here and now.
The bible is not a book about the super spiritual. It is a book about people seeking God. They were real people with real problems like me. This makes scripture relevant, believable, and helpful.
The writer of much of the New Testament, Paul, had a thorn in his flesh that was not removed despite requests.
“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Cor 12:8-9)
Working with God’s strength is far more empowering than trusting in self. It’s a lesson I’ve found hard to learn and accept.
There are many healing accounts in the bible.
Jesus Heals a Woman and Jairus’s Daughter.
- Jesus can heal and restore from long term problems, those unresolved by doctors, and even death-like sleep. (v26, 39 & 42)
- It is right to bring those you love to His attention. (v22-23)
- He can deal with more than one person, but the timing is His. (v23-29)
- God is available to all irrespective of their background. We are all equal with ‘protected characteristics’ to God. (v22 & 25) c.f. Luke 4:16-21.
- You can take yourself to Jesus and reach out in faith. It is best to be honest when you do, he knows what you are thinking. You don’t need perfect words of liturgy, just reach out. (v27-28)
- We should not be afraid, just believe. (v36) He can even help with confessed unbelief at the point of healing. (Mark 9:23-29) Post accident, I am no longer frightened of death. His foundation is more secure than anything man made. Just read the News.
- ‘Talitha koum’ Jesus used Aramaic words that can be translated, “Little girl, try new things.” Irrespective of communication type, what does Jesus say to you? Will you hear and do what he asks despite risk of failure. The little girl did. (v41-42)
- Publicity was not wanted. (V31&43) c.f Mat 12:15-16. Spirituality is not a commercial enterprise. But all those receiving the Gift of healing should praise and thank God. Luke 17:17-19. I have and I do.
Healing of a blind man
- It is good to bring people before God. (v22)
- Jesus did things his way, not the way the world might have expected. (v23)
- Jesus offered His hand and left public gaze. It’s not about publicity even when religious leaders may want to use it as such. We sometimes need time alone with our God to receive His healing. He was asked to say nothing back at home despite the potential good publicity. Healing is about the individual, not the onlookers, or even those involved in the healing. (v23)
- He spat on the man’s eyes. Recovery and healing can be experientially gross. (v23)
- Even Jesus did things in stages. The man saw people as trees at first. When Jesus responded, ‘once more’ he saw people as people. (v24-25)
The World Health Organization (WHO) definition of health includes Mental Health. I’ve learned emotion is more powerful than reason. Don’t try to reason with someone at crisis point. Wait for a moment of calm and be there for them.
We should use our knowledge in the best way to help those in need. We should offer information rather than opinion and judgment.
Experience has taught me that when trying to help others, ears and eyes are often better than the mouth. “You can say it best, when you say nothing at all.” (Ronan Keating) In prayer we often focus on our tasks and our asks. A prayer focus should prioritise time to hear from God and do His will.
The helper can offer spiritually approved platitudes for themselves not the individual. Their words might help them believe that this would not happen to them.
“Perhaps God is teaching you to be patient. Perhaps God is teaching you something important. Perhaps you just need more faith…”
Perhaps. But really, is that the best you can do?
“Where is God when it hurts?” Philip Yancey has a chapter full of such statements to illustrate the problem. An excellent book!
Even the standard, “How are you feeling?” can be false. Do you really want the answer, or just an introduction to look like you care? Perhaps the unwell individual is trying to think of something beyond their situation. Endlessly answering the same question, however well intended, can be tiring. Just being there is often enough.
I have found that some post Traumatic Brain Injury bad news, and even life-changing new diagnosis, including Epilepsy and a type of Diabetes, have ended up putting me in a better place in my future. If someone had suggested that to me at the time, it’s best you don’t know what I might have said.
Eyes and ears can help us communicate and connect with empathy and help the unwell to receive the best thing of all. Love. The Love of God.
Go with your heart of love. The head can mess things up. The hardest and longest journey a person can make, is about 30cm, from head to heart.
My head knows that my faith is real. My heart feels His presence and love. It feels the pain and joy of others often visible in my tears and my laughter.
I used to be better at cognitively hiding these emotions, but Jackie thinks my openness is a strength not a weakness. Back to empathy which is much better than sympathy. Empathy is relationally connecting. Sympathy can create a disconnecting barrier without empathy.
Touch and being close is important -but not in an intimidating, off putting unwelcome way. Jesus offered His hand to the blind man, and with His people, God still does. NHS+
Those with the ‘gift of healing’, faithfully hand over God’s gifts to His intended recipients. The gift is not theirs. They are part of His delivery service. Christians should use all gifts for His purpose, and not get distracted by personal desires or status.
Hands help to get things done. Church helped my family amazingly, generously, and practically. We could never repay.
Hands together and eyes closed. Powerful prayer includes children! Working for the Church of England, I was blessed by the prayers of many. There was prayer from my own Methodist church too. I looked after Church schools and when visiting a school, I saw a display about me, with prayers from pupils. The power of prayer comes from God, not people. Adults can learn much from children, “for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” (Mark 10:14)
A few doctors looking at my brain scan and image are surprised I am alive, and not only that, I have some cognition too. There can be Physical, Mental and Spiritual healing.
Hearing from God.
Information for head
Inspiration for heart
Head, Heart and Hands. In the words of Thomas Aquinas,
“Three things are necessary for the salvation of man: to know what he ought to believe, to know what he ought to desire, and to know what he ought to do.”
“Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me and I shall be saved, for you are the one I praise.” (Jer 17:14)