I’ve always assumed that when Jesus healed people in the gospels, it was always in an instant.
One moment, they are blind. The next they can see. They are paralyzed. Suddenly they can walk.
Boom. Healed. Happily ever after. The End. Mic drop. Cue the credits.
As someone who has received divine and powerful healing — mind, body and spirit — I can tell you a sobering, yet freeing truth I’ve discovered over the past two years of this new healing journey.
Healing isn’t a moment that happens to you. It’s a truth that you walk out, allowing God to work through you.
Isaiah tells us that “by His stripes, we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5) Healing is freedom. The truth is that when we accept Christ’s payment on the cross for our sins, we are healed.
We are free.
Free from bondage to our impulses, emotions and desires. Free from having to earn our worth or salvation. Free from having to figure it all out. Free from trying to have to heal ourselves.
The head knows, the heart doubts
For most of my life, I knew that God was my Healer in my head.
But here’s the reality: We act on what we truly believe in our hearts.
Truth that stays in our heads doesn’t transform us. If we doubt it in our hearts, it doesn’t change our choices.
For years, I didn’t act like I was healed. I didn’t act like I was free. I still tried to earn my worth. I spent sleepless nights with my head spinning trying to figure out the answers to my problems, how to anticipate the path ahead. I grasped at every “savior” possible to try to heal my ailing body — diets, doctors, supplements — when the only Physician who knew the exact medicine my weary body, soul and spirit needed was just one heart-cry away.
Finally, in desperate weariness, I recognized the Truth that was there all along:
Jesus, You are my only hope.
That was my turning point. Gradually, God began to overwhelm me with an awareness of His love. The truth finally reached my heart. I was safe. I was free. I was healed. 1 John 4:18 says, “Perfect love casts our fear.” I found that to be so true.
My childhood view of God as an angry, demanding taskmaster was shattered by the awesome, yet gentle God who won my heart. Suddenly, I realized to the depths of my being I could trust Someone Who loved me this much. I could trust Him with my life. After all, He gave His life to save it.
My mind began to relax its spinning. I opened my heart and He began to heal wounds I didn’t even know I had. I don’t pretend to know how God works healing in everyone. And clearly not everyone is healed this side of heaven for reasons only God knows. I can only share my experience. And, for me, the healing of my mind and heart filtered into my body.
But walking out all aspects of healing truth was more difficult than I anticipated. This was new territory for me. I knew how to walk in bondage. I knew how to walk like a sick person. As much as I hated the chains, I found some strange comfort in their familiarity. I didn’t know what it looked like to walk as a healed, free woman.
The hurt meets the Healer
Two examples of healing in the gospels provide some powerful insights about what walking in our healing looks like.
In Luke 17, Jesus heals 10 men with leprosy, a horrible, contagious, incurable disease. Lepers were isolated from the general population. The impact on their minds, bodies and spirits can’t be overstated. They were literally dead men walking.
As Jesus was traveling to Jerusalem, the men called out to Him.
As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. Luke 17:12-14 (NIV)
In John 5, Jesus approaches a man who has been crippled for 38 years. He is waiting by the pool of Bethesda. Legend had it that an angel would come and “stir up” the water at the pool. The first person who was in the water after the “stirring” would be healed. It may have just been a superstition (The Bible isn’t really clear on this). But when your prospects seem hopeless, anything is worth a try.
Jesus (to the disabled man), “Are you here in this place hoping to be healed?”
Disabled man: “If I am to be healed in the waters, someone must carry me into the pool. Without a helping hand, someone else beats me to the water’s edge each time it is stirred.”
Jesus:“Stand up, carry your mat, and walk.” John 5:5-9 (The VOICE)
At the moment Jesus uttered these words, a healing energy coursed through the man and returned life to his limbs—he stood and walked for the first time in 38 years.
A few of the truths these passages teach us:
Healing isn’t passive.
It requires action. Not the action of earning. The action of receiving.
Jesus told the men to start walking to the priest. He told the paralyzed man to pick up his mat and walk. They were healed the moment Jesus spoke it. But it was their choice to act on what they were given.
The jail cell can be open, but we aren’t free until we walk through the door. We can be well, but healing isn’t enjoyed until we walk out of the hospital.
The Healer is always within reach.
Hundreds of sick and dying people are waiting at the pool of Bethesda, waiting to be healed. And the Healer is right there. Right there! Standing right in their midst. They just don’t recognize Him. Don’t we all tend to reach for false saviors when the Healer is right there?
When we direct our prayers toward Him, He reminds us of the Truth: You are healed. You are free. Now stand up and walk like it, Princess. I’m walking right beside you, holding your hand.
Healing transcends what we see or feel.
There are moments and days I don’t feel healed. My body sometimes responds in pain to the memories of old traumas. At times, my mind and heart are overcome with feelings of fear, discouragement and doubt.
I just have to take the word of the Healer. Feelings aren’t truth. He is.
In Luke 17, it says the ten lepers were cleansed “as they walked…” When they first started walking, they didn’t feel healed. They didn’t look healed. They just had the promise that it was so. Each step was a step empowered by faith, believing that their healing was real even though they couldn’t feel it or see it.
After 38 years of paralysis, I imagine there might have been days that the man at Bethesda woke up with a tinge of doubt that his healing was really real. Every step he took was a deliberate act of faith that what Jesus spoke over him was true.
No matter what our circumstances tell us, no matter how we feel, we are healed. We are free. As we focus on the Healer, He gives us the power to live in the truth. Each of our healing journeys are going to look different because our wounds are different. The barriers in our hearts and minds are different. Our Healer’s purposes for our each of our journeys is different.
The common thread, however, is that we have an enemy who tells us we are forever in bondage to our wounds. He can’t change the truth so he tries to get us to doubt it.
As we choose to walk in the truth, he begins to lose his power over us. As we choose to rise above our feelings, they gradually fall in line with the truth.
Walk while we’re waiting
Until we’re in heaven, our weakness, our sin nature will prevent us from fully experiencing the mind, body, spirit healing we were given at the cross. As we wait, Jesus left us with His Holy Spirit to give us the power to make the choice to walk in freedom step by step. It isn’t easy. But the more we exercise the muscle of walking in the Truth, the more natural it will become.
Personally, I still don’t know what the road ahead looks like. There are days I feel decidedly not healed. But like the man at Bethesda, or the lepers on their way to the priest, I know what my Healer told me.
So I guess I’ll just have to walk and see. One intentional step of faith at a time.
Doubt can only cripple us if we stop walking.