March 31, 2010

Does it hurt now?

O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me. (Psalm 30:2)

If you don't believe that God does miracles today, this post may not make much sense to you. But please continue, because you might still get something out of it.

I'm taking a class in healing at my church. Like, actual, miraculous healing. The kind where people can say "I was blind, but now I see." We've been studying it from a Biblical perspective, and then we take a practical approach: we pray for healing, for each other. It's amazing in a group of 6 how many weeks at least one person needs prayer for some kind of pain or illness. (Sadly that's been me quite a few times)

We follow a specific model. Ask what the person wants Jesus to do for them, diagnose it (get an idea how long it's been a problem, what may have caused it, etc), pray, ask how they're doing, and pray again. Repeat the last two steps until either you run out of time (or energy) or the person no longer feels any pain.

That's the part that's hard for me. I think when most people contemplate the idea of God healing us, it's an instantaneous thing. I used to not see, we prayed, and now I see. Done.

But it's not always that way. It's not that God can't heal us or even that He won't. There can be a lot of factors to it. Perhaps the people receiving prayer don't quite believe that this will work. Perhaps God is using this as a learning experience. Whatever it is, there is to be no shame in asking how the person feels, and hearing that there is little or no difference. What it means is this: If there is no change in pain level, you should keep praying. If there is some reduction of the pain, hooray, and keep praying. And if there is no pain at all, huzzah, and pray one more time to "seal" it. So really, it's all about layers of praying.

The funny thing is that there is a medical equivalent. I had carpal tunnel and I went to a physical therapist for a while to work out the pain. One of the things she did was put pressure on different parts of my arm in order to relax the muscles. To know if it was working, she would poke my arm. If it still hurt, she kept applying pressure. It was really hard for me at first to say "it still hurts. It still hurts. It still hurts." I felt almost as though there was a problem with me, and I had this need to say "yes, you took away all the pain, good for you." even though it would not have been true. Fortunately she is a professional and can figure out when you're still in pain. (For example, she poked my leg (something that didn't hurt at all) and said "ok, this is no pain. We'll work on your arm until it feels like that." She didn't expect the pain to go away completely, but had to keep asking me how I felt in order to know how to respond to the pain.

So am I saying that God will never heal us in one go? No! It could happen that someone prays once for like 3 seconds and boom: healed. And that's the prayer. But in the occasion that it does not happen that way, we are to persevere in prayer. we are to keep on keeping on. Because look at today's verse again. God DOES heal us. And while He will not always heal everyone for whom we pray, it is our job simply to pray, and keep on praying. Otherwise we have pretty well a 100% certainty that He won't.

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