I doubt that anyone would dispute that we live in difficult times. The pandemic that invaded our shores over twenty months ago show little sign of abating soon. The angry rhetoric that has consumed social media for the past year is still with us. The twin social diseases of inequality and addiction are still part of the fabric of our lives. Violence stalks our street, haunts our dreams, fills our spirits with fear. We as individuals, a people, a nation and a world are afraid, broken, sick an dying. We are desperately in need of restoration, renewal…of healing.
Our ongoing prayer for 2021 during the month of October is “Give us this day…Healing.”
Each week as we gather, we lift prayers for family, friends and stranger for situations that desperately need God’s intervention. From those dealing with Covid-19 to those battling cancer and other life-threatening diseases to those confronting ear infections, colds, migraines and gout, we receive requests for prayer. And we DO pray—for surgical skill, compassion, acceptance and courage…restoration of health.
For those whose spirits are broken by depression and mourning, abuse and neglect, doubt and rejection, we pray for comfort, peace, guidance, an awareness of God’s love…for hope. When someone is dealing with temptation and struggling to stay on the narrow way, we pray for forgiveness, hearts attuned to God’s direction and ears open to His guidance and for strength of mind and will.
For all of us—we pray for HEALING.
Pimple in the Path of Progress
Struggling and facing problems every now and then in inevitable in life. No matter how well we think we are prepared for a trial or setback, sometimes life just throws us a curve ball out of nowhere. And curve balls cause confusion, pain, stress and anxiety. Dealing with uncomfortable, unexpected or painful situation is never easy, but we can get through them. No matter what the struggle, it is but a temporary bump in the road, a pimple on the path of progress, a twist or a turn that we did not anticipate or perhaps were not prepared for.
When Jesus walked among us, He healed people. Did he heal every person that came into His presence? Probably not. Some weren’t ready because they were not in the right mental place to be healed. Remember our Lord’s strange question to the paralytic at the pool of Bethesda? The man had been lying next to the pool for over thirty-eight years! “When Jesus saw him lying there…He asked him, ‘Do you WANT to get well?’ (John 5:6) Jesus wanted to be sure of the man’s intentions. Was the paralytic ready to assume the adult responsibilities that health would bring—moving out of the family home…getting a job…having a “life” that did not include begging?
Sadly, I’m sure some resisted Jesus’ touch because they were “comfortable” with their illness or disability. They were unwilling to be “healed” and “changed” into the people the Master knew they could be.
Our Lord brought more than physical healing to His world. He brought mental wholeness as well. Like today, there were those grappling with mental illness, but it was often called “demons” at the time. Remember the man who lived among the tombs in Gerasene? He was constantly tormented as he struggled with his thoughts, fear and “demons”. After Jesus sent the legion of tormenting thoughts into a herd of pigs, the townfolk living nearby came out to see for themselves what had occurred. When they arrived, “they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed, and in his right mind. (Mark 5:15)
Emotional strength is not something we’re born with, but something we build as we deal with different life events. Whatever you might be going through right now, grab hold of the fact that it won’t last forever. Eventually, if you hold on and persevere, it will make you stronger.
Everyone of us struggles from time-to-time with mental health issues. We deal with stressors on a daily basis, are confronted by situations that bring us down, bad news that discourages us, situations that make us “see red” or turn our sunny skies cloudy. Sometimes, we are met by unspeakable tragedies, brought low by the sense of hopelessness that has been invading our society. We grapple to pull ourselves out of the mire and find a piece of solid ground to stand on. That is when we find ourselves praying, “Grant us this day…healing.”
Healing of Relationships
Who among us has NOT had problems with other people? We get angry and want to strike back, feel judged and want revenge, feel the knife twisting in our back and want to retaliate. Our relationships with one another are often in need of healing. Peter was well aware of what THAT felt like. He came to Jesus with the question of “how many times must I forgive my brother who sins against me” and was probably startled and humbled by the Jesus’ response of “not seven times, but seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18:21-22)
Our relationships are vital to our well-being and life on this side of heaven’s gate. There have been broken relationships since Cain and Abel started their sibling rivalry in the Garden of Eden. Today’s angry outbursts, escalating violence and battle between countries, cultures, ideologies and races are nothing new.
Jesus recognized as much when He told His listeners, “I tell you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44) Definitely not the words we WANT to hear, but words that have to be spoken AND HEARD if we ever hope to survive this side of the grave. No matter how cautious we are in planning our lives or in choosing the people we spend time with, pain Is inevitable. Whenever “life happens”, we need to remind ourselves that we have God’s power to overcome any struggle.
All it takes is a simple prayer, “Grant us this day…healing” to help us exercise a bit of patience and trust, remembering that certain wounds are deep and need more time to heal than others.
Healing of Our Spiritual Selves
We can eat right, exercise, get the right amount of sleep and sunlight, follow the prescribed medical treatments to aid in the healing of our physical bodies. Plus, we can fill our minds with positive thoughts, read hope-filled books and blogs, speak words of positivity and encouragement to ourselves and each other to bring healing to our minds and spirits. We can make peace with those who have hurt us, pray for those who we would rather put on our “hit list” and offer forgiveness each time our spirits are stomped on by others.
Even if we do everything within our power to find healing, until our spiritual selves are whole, we are only engaging in battlefield medicine. We are merely slapping a Band-Aid on a gaping wound. It takes the healing power of our Lord at work on the cross to make us whole. He is the One who will bring healing and wholeness to our bodies, calmness and tranquility to our minds, reconciliation and forgiveness to our relationships.
OUR job is to prepare ourselves for healing through private times of prayer, worship, sharing the sacrament of Holy Communion, be open to forgiveness and grace to get ourselves ready for His touch.
Our job today is to pray—GRANT US THIS DAY…HEALING.