Part V of our series on Healing and Comforting
Why doesn’t God heal everyone? That’s the question we asked in our last post. The answer is one part surprising and one part challenging: sometimes we bear the image of God best when we bear illness.
Paul calls this “sharing in the fellowship of his sufferings” in Philippians 3:10-11:
“…that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” (emphasis mine)
Healing will come, in this life or the next.
But we have to realize that healing is not the only way we are able to bear the image of God to the world. Our illness and death can do that as well.
In God’s Kingdom, healing, illness, and death are a lot more closely connected than we think. The healer heals at great personal cost and risk in each of the three dimensions: physical (body), social (soul), and religious (spirit).
It is not coincidental that in the parable Jesus tells of the Good Samaritan and the wounded man, the Good Samaritan says (and this is made emphatic in the Greek), “I, not the man, will pay.”
Biblically, the healer always suffers the most.
As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:21, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Christ bears the illness and sin in himself. Society, religion, and the power of sickness and death were arrayed against Jesus—all sought to cast him out; none would host him.
So hear the proclamation of Isaiah 53:5! Christ freed us from our involuntary hosting of sin and illness and death…by hosting these enemies of humanity in himself, on the Cross:
But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.
How will you participate in this Work of Mercy differently, now?