Adventures in Healing and Wholeness #17 – A Gradual Healing

Most healing is gradual and imperceptible. The healing of a sight impaired man is interesting simply because it is recorded in Mark’s Gospel (Mark 8:22-26). When Jesus first lays hands on the man, all he can see is a blurred vision of the world. Jesus has to touch him a second time for him to see clearly. There are no fireworks here, no falling down in spiritual ecstasy, no dramatic “get up and walk” narrative. Healing takes time and most of the time we don’t even notice it, until one day we notice, everything’s changed.

When the man isn’t fully cured, Jesus doesn’t blame the man for lack of faith or give excuses for his own inability to perform an immediate cure. Jesus simply goes back to work, seeking healing and wholeness for this sight impaired man.

This story is good news for us: healing is not about immediate success or sudden transformation. More often than not, the healings we need take time both in terms of our bodies and spirits. We need time to grow into new life and new ways of looking at ourselves. We need time to let our soul catch up with our cells.

Often people become discouraged when they compare the results of their prayers with those of the television healers. They forget that the TV healers only focus on success and drama – that’s how they attract contributions! The majority of persons who attend these TV healing meetings experience no physical change. In reality, authentic healing is seldom dramatic but is a gradual process of personal, spiritual, and physical transformation. Sometimes the healing occurs even if the physical symptoms never change. We discover a peace that passes understanding and enables us to respond creatively to what we cannot change.

I believe that Mark includes this story as good news for those of us who continue to deal with chronic and life-threatening ailments and who, at times, become impatient with the healing process. Our prayers, energy work, and healing practices make a difference, but they take time, and God often works within our lives subtly, persistently, and lovingly to bring forth the healing we need.

For today’s affirmations, why not repeat the following:
“ I experience God’s presence in gentle movements of healing and wholeness”
“I am patient with the healing process”
“I experience healing even when there isn’t an immediate cure”

Bruce Epperly is a theologian, spiritual guide, healing companion, retreat leader and lecturer, and author of nineteen books, including Holy Adventure: 41 Days of Audacious Living; God’s Touch: Faith, Wholeness, and the Healing Miracles of Jesus; and Tending to the Holy: The Practice of the Presence of God in Ministry. He has taught at Georgetown University, Wesley Theological Seminary, Claremont School of Theology, and Lancaster Theological Seminary. He is currently theologian in residence at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. His most recent book is Process Theology: A Guide for the Perplexed . He can be reached for lectures, seminars, and retreats at bruceepperly@gmail.com

The Adventurous Lectionary - The First Sunday of Advent -November 27, 2016
The Adventurous Lectionary - The Fourth Sunday in Advent - December 18, 2016
The Adventurous Lectionary - Reign of Christ Sunday - November 20, 2016
An Election Day Prayer
About Bruce Epperly

Rev. Bruce Epperly, Ph.D., serves as Pastor at South Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, Centerville, MA. Prior to coming to Cape Cod in 2013, he served on the faculties and often in administrative and chaplaincy roles at Georgetown University, Claremont School of Theology, Wesley Theological Seminary, and Lancaster Theological Seminary. Bruce is currently a professor in spirituality, ministry, and theology in the doctoral program at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington D.C. He has served as pastor or interim pastor of congregations in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. He is the author or co-author of over 35 books in the areas of theology, spirituality, ministerial excellence and spiritual formation, scripture, and healing and wholeness, including Process Theology: Embracing Adventure with God; Finding God in Suffering: A Journey with Job; From Here to Eternity: Preparing for the Next Adventure; and A Center in the Cyclone: Clergy Self-care in the 21st Century.