The Healer - part 2

Just a reminder for those reading this blog that my thoughts here are simply a reflection of what God is teaching me right now. Writing is a therapeutic release for me. Hopefully my words mirror the humility and brokenness of my heart as God heals me. And hopefully God can use my words to help you in your journey as well. 

When we started Grace Point Church in North Las Vegas, we began with the philosophy that we believed God called us to help restore the shalom of our community.  The Hebrew concept shalom in the Old Testament is most often translated peace but what our English translations often miss is that the idea runs much deeper than just the traditional understanding of peace - the absence of conflict.

Shalom has to do with wholeness, completeness.  When we talked about restoring the shalom of our community, we meant that we believed God wanted us to help make our community a better place in every way - socially, spiritually, etc. We believed we were called to be Jesus to our community in a way that simply made our community a better place to live. How that translated into our everyday ministry is that we served our community in radical ways with no agenda.  We served with no other reason than to simply be Jesus to the community in which God placed us. To use the NT phrase - we believe we were called to be light in our community - to shine Jesus.

The reason we believed that we were called to restore the shalom is because our community lacked wholeness - that's what sin does - it leaves people (and subsequently families & communities) lacking, incomplete, deficient.  We need healing because sin leaves us broken - in need of healing.

When Jesus was on the earth, He healed.  He restored shalom. He did so in masses but He also did so individually. He healed scores of people who may or not have believe in Him as Messiah. It is likely that He healed people who would soon scream "crucify Him" from the crowd. He healed both believers and unbelievers because that is what He does - He restores shalom. Jesus made His community a better place by healing brokenness.

But He also initiated personal healing.  He often focused His attention upon single individuals who needed healing - a man lying by a pool for decades desperately longing for some paranormal moving of the waters, a demon-possessed madman who lived on the outskirts of town and terrorized citizens, a woman with a fatal blood malady, a blind beggar who cried out for healing to a passing vagabond whose faith was based primarily on the folklore that preceded Jesus, and on and on. The stories of people that Jesus went out of His way to heal are endless. He was restoring the shalom within individual persons.

In recent months, God has been teaching me that the path to whole living (shalom) only comes through the work of the Healer.  As I mentioned in the previous post, I am a person in need of continual healing. My sin leaves me deficient - not whole.  Yet God's spoken desire for me is to live a life of peace - of wholeness. 

This peace, to which the Bible refers hundreds of times, is a peace that derives from Jesus Himself (John 14:27). It is a peace that stems from our right standing before God (Rom 5:1) and leads to a life of confidence (Rom 15:13).  This peace is provided solely through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross (Col 1:20) and surpasses human comprehension as it stands watch over our hearts and minds (Phil 4:7).

When you study this biblical principle, you learn that the path to whole living comes strictly through God's healing work in our lives. He must intervene on our behalf to restore us to a place of complete healing.  It works hand-in-hand with the biblical idea of redemption - that the story of the Bible is the story of God's continual pursuit of sinful humans in order to redeem them.

What I am learning is that healing is an ongoing process. We are a broken people who are being redeemed but that complete redemption takes place eventually.  We are in constant need of healing - in constant need of the gospel.  Salvation is not a one-time act that guarantees our entrance into heaven. Salvation is an ongoing process of restoring our wholeness.  Salvation is a healing process that will reach its culmination when we one day exchange our brokenness for wholeness. 

God is healing my heart. He is exposing my brokenness in a way that makes me cringe at times. Yet at the same time, He is reminding me that my ultimate healing comes only in Him - through His divine work of grace in my life.  Not in opinions. Not in responses. Not in lack of responses. Not in perceptions or misconceptions. Not in what people think or say or believe about me.  My healing comes only in Him.

I have been thinking about what it must have been like to be one of those people who lived for years with an incurable disease before Jesus healed them.  Can you imagine the mix of emotions that must have accompanied being healed by Jesus? 

It reminds me of the blind dude in John 9 who was healed by Jesus and then subsequently questioned at every level by those who should have celebrated his healing. I love his ultimate response when challenged: "it really doesn't matter what you think about me or Jesus - I don't really have all the answers - all I know is that I was blind yesterday and now I can see - and that's all that really matters." 

I feel like the blind man of John 9 at times. At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter what others think or say or believe. What does matter is that Jesus is healing my heart. I am broken and he is repairing me. Not everyone will accept or believe that reality. Guess what? I don't blame them. I understand why those who walked by the blind beggar for years were skeptical of his sudden healing. Knowing me, I would have more than likely been a skeptic as well. But guess what? Ultimately it did not matter what others believed about him. What ultimately mattered was He had been touched by the Healer and his life would never be the same.

Do you think there was ever a time when those healed by Jesus thought it would be easier to go back to the way things were before? Do you think there was still a level of brokenness that surfaced on occasion that made them almost resent the fact they had been healed?  Do you think there are times in this process that our brokenness emerges?  Is Romans 7 legit?  Are we in constant need of healing? I think we all know the answer to those questions.  I'll unpack some of these thoughts in a later post. But for now, let's just be reminded that we are people in need of healing - that our wholeness (shalom) is found ultimately in the gospel.  Ultimately Jesus is the source of our healing.

In need of healing? Yes
Finding healing in Him? Yes
Ongoing process? Yes
Trusting He will complete what He has begun? Yes

Shalom

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