I have a parishioner, I will call him Larry. Larry has been battling cancer for some time, and has seemed to be losing the battle. It has metastasized in different places, and just a few short weeks ago, he did not expect to be here by Christmas. The pain was unbearable even with pain medicine, and he was continually worrying about those family members that he would leave behind.
Having had loved ones battle with, and some die from, cancer, I understand how this goes. I understand that when cancer spreads throughout one’s body, the handwriting is on the wall. Most people know this as well.
Just a couple of days ago, I spoke with Larry, and ask him how he was doing. He said that he was doing quite well, that the pain was still there but more manageable, and that a couple of the spots elsewhere in his body had disappeared! Whereas Larry thought he would be gone by before Christmas, now it seems that Larry will be here past Christmas. Most importantly, however, Larry was able to regain his hope for the future, he was able to enjoy life and savor it, he was able to look at his future without an expiration date stamped on his foot.
To be sure, Larry still had cancer that was slowly destroying his body. However, the outlook, at least for now, looked slightly better? Was it the radiation treatments? That most certainly would have had an impact. Did God have involvement? Most definitely. However, what the radiation treatments could not have done was to increase Larry’s outlook. They could not have given Larry a sense of peace, or hope for the future.
In my experience, divine healing is something which is often relegated to Benny Hinn or Todd Bentley. Consequently, I, and I suspect I am not alone, will speak of God as “the Great Physician”, and will pray for healing, but will often expect little in terms of something miraculous.
I am often guilty of thinking of healing in terms of something physical. In the Bible we often read of people who were blind, but were able to see; those who were lame, were able to walk. But we also have the disturbed Gerasene man. While the above named “healers” offer great theatrics, I do not think that this is where true healing is to be found, and I do not thing that for healing to happen there has to be a sudden miraculous moment where all cancer is gone, an incurable disease has suddenly disappeared, where the blind can see, or the lame can walk. Is it possible? Sure it is. Is this the only way? Certainly not.
Sometimes true healing comes in little bits. It comes in a spot of cancer which was there but has disappeared even though it still exists other places. It comes in pain which was unbearable but which is now manageable. It comes in a hope that did not exist but now does.
I have been reminded that God does heal, that God remains the Great Physician, and remains active. The rub, however, that it often comes in a form that we are not expecting, and consequently do not see. Sometimes the miraculous actually comes clothed in something mundane and ordinary.