Jesus is maddeningly unpredictable.
Just look at the accounts of his healing ministry. He would touch a leper who needed to feel His compassion (Mark 1:40-42), put His own saliva on the tongue of a mute man while He put His fingers in his deaf ears (Mark 7:31-37), allow His healing power to flow out through the desperate touch of a bleeding women (Mark 5:25-34), help a feverish woman by lifting her out of bed by the hand (Mark 1:29-31), and then heal blind Bartimaeus simply by His commanding word (Mark 10:46-52).
This sampling of gospel stories brings into sharp relief something so important about Jesus. There is no pattern, no formula with Him because He is no formula. He comes as a Person to meet us personally, individually, with a different script for our own healing. There is no one right way. The only right way is whatever Jesus does.
His way of handling healings is the way He handled all of His interactions. No one was a number. Everyone had a story and a personal need. Everyone mattered, everyone was weighty, and everyone deserved personal attention. Above all else, Jesus hallowed the individual. He still operates the same way today. He longs for us to give Him permission to come to us personally in His own way, attending to our wounds, knowing our story, and understanding our griefs, for He knows us more than we will ever know ourselves. Yes, we can and should pray for physical healing, but our healing is to be so much more than from disease. It is to be from all the ravages of evil that divide, corrupt, and destroy the heart. How do I know?
A number of years ago, I was in a really bad place. I was addicted to my work as a high school teacher and coach, leaving Heidi feeling pretty much abandoned. In addition, I felt imprisoned by so many fears and compulsions. Finally, I was tortured by continual intellectual doubt about my faith. Out of desperation, Heidi and I went on a 5-day prayer retreat with a couple who counseled us in the day and fed us gourmet dinners at night. The man who worked with me would give me a question each day to go out and ask God. It was a paradigm shift: I had never been instructed to listen to Him. Walking one afternoon, trying to listen and wondering if this were even possible, I heard five unmistakable words reverberating through my soul: “I want to heal you.” Jesus came and spoke in a way I could not doubt about His desire to heal me as a man. For the next 15 years, He took me on a very personal journey of healing, using the Scriptures, His personal words of encouragement, the love and counsel of others, and everyday events. I am stunned now as I look back and see all that He has done.
How will it happen for you? I have no idea, but I can tell you this. It will be different for everyone. Remember, He will come to us individually, and heal us in His own unique way. Even though there may be similar themes, there are no carbon copy healings. I know this now from listening to the stories of others and how Jesus has met them. We are each important to Him, and He wants to attend to each of our stories, giving us exactly what we need, when we need it.
Jesus really is maddeningly unpredictable.
This Christmas I’m so thankful He is.