Sitting in a surgery waiting room with friends waiting for word on their daughter.
Others scattered around the room in clusters, sitting here and there, coming and going; reading, sleeping, talking, or just staring ahead. All waiting. So many stories unfolding.
From my vantage point, I see two TVs going all day over their heads. A certain white-suited faith healer doing his show on one, medical doctors doing their show on the other. Point and counterpoint. Or is it the same point made in different ways?
Nobody seems to be watching anyway.
Random musings fill my head as I try to read. Questions on healing, faith, and this whole kingdom business as my heart sees an eight-year old in surgery.
I’m drawn to the white-suited faith-healer performing over the heads of so much need in the room. I believe in prayer and in the inbreaking of the kingdom of God through Jesus. I think sometimes we are so eager to see our beliefs validated we can go to some pretty odd lengths to provide demonstrations. Healed headaches, backaches, and limb “extensions” usually in the artificial setting of a church meeting. And my daughter still sits in a wheelchair watching it all. Visiting faith-healers get her on the stage and praise her for praying for others with headaches. Makes we pause…
How much, how often does/did Jesus heal?
Watching now I’m reminded that Jesus never had a show. He typically walked along a lake rather than a stage. No white suit. He was constantly trying to get away from crowds to perform healings privately and then telling them absolutely not to post a healing status update. No blog no tweet no twitter. Some say that Jesus banished sickness from Palestine for three years. But there were always more sick people, weren’t there?
I see him walking through that hospital ward that was the pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem. It was just one man that day out of a multitude of sickness, or so it would seem. One key question. A quick conversation. A personal imperative. And he slips away. Can you fathom the purposes, the method, the choice – why this one? What about the rest?
I remember hearing Philip Yancey over ten years ago discussing healing and pain. He mentioned discussions with John Wimber about healing – about how much healing Jesus did then and how much he does today through us. Wimber was optimistic: healing is practically the default for Jesus. Yancey counters that it seems more the exception – but he said maybe Wimber was right. Maybe.
As I walk corridors of pain, I find myself leaning towards Yancey.
How much is the desire for healing driven by the Bible and the Gospel of Jesus – and how much is driven by our culture’s unceasing avoidance of suffering and death, of wrinkles and aging and cemetaries? How much is nothing more than a religious attempt to deny the human condition – rather than to find grace in the midst of it?
Is it healing – the alleviation of suffering, the avoidance of pain and sickness, the stalling of the inevitable creep of death that is the point of the kingdom of God, is that the goal of Jesus followers? Or is there something deeper, something greater, something more?
Is it perhaps a presence of divine mercies embodied, incarnated again, walking through this multitude, breathing peace and wholeness? A presence that can indeed bring healing to bodies, but that is intended to communicate a wholeness that goes even deeper, even further?
People file out. Others file in.
The man in the white suit still walks the big stage on the small screen overhead.