The Church and Substantial Healing

In his book, True Spirituality, Francis Schaeffer, the renowned missionary and author, wrote of the confidence that people can find “substantial healing” through union with Christ.  What can this mean in a context  where all people, without exception, remain “appointed to die”, i.e. where the curse of death has not been lifted?

While we are tempered by the continuing reality of sin and death, we are to be a people driven by God’s promises.  Second Peter 1:4 (NIV) declares that it is through God’s promises that we “participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”  Notice that it does not say “reception of God’s promises”, but simply “promises”.  While “promises” may be signifying that which is promised, nonetheless the emphasis is still on expectation, not fruition.  We are people compelled by a promise – to trust.  And trust in God, while it sometimes confounds, will not disappoint in the end.  So, it is in the same vein that we seek substantial personal healing in this life – physical healing as a testimony of God’s power given as He chooses, and spiritual healing that is real and substantial.  So the church is merely a collection of folks who are driven by the hope of substantial healing (in this life and beyond) and who are delighted by the confirmations all around us that this hope is surely not in vain.

Acts 3 recounts Peter and John happening upon a man crippled from birth, destined to beg.  This man finds healing through Jesus Christ at the hands of his appointed servants.   And, in finding healing, this man finds hope.  This is what the church is to be in our age…a conduit of hope.  I do not even rise to the level of “amateur poet”, but the following poem is my attempt to capture this “power encounter” where resignation turns to hope.  May our churches be pointers to the hope that God gives!

A Beautiful Name

Having known no other way of life

Dependent, daily I lie

Bearing the curse of all that is pitied, even rejected

Today again I am taken

To that Gate Beautiful I come without beauty, without attraction

At the hour of nine, “Alms!  Alms!” I cry

“Alms for the poor!”

Why this place?  Why here?  Why now?

With life so devoid of beauty I come to the house of God

Where my king David desired to gaze upon beauty

Oh, that I might also

But I receive the gaze of two men passing by

Passing by to pray and to praise

Yet an uncertain surprise lays hold of me

When with a voice of authority

One speaks “Look at us!”

Calling to me like no one before

Hoping for a token, I receive a touch

A touch – is it possible? – even a grasp by grace?

No gold, no silver had he, yet something else, something more,

He speaks a name into my ear

Jesus Christ, the Nazarene, that one of whom I had heard

Of whom I thought was no more

No more because dead

Yet his tone betrays my thought

The tone speaks of one living, present, active

“Rise up and walk!”

This man at my side grasping my hand,

Ushers me forth where I have never been

Bearing the curse of weakness, of pity,

I am now called forth to strength, to hope

Where once I lay, now I leap

Where once I was pitied, now I praise

For years I have looked on, now I enter

Unaided I enter into this house

Oh, can it be?  can it be?

Those looking on are struck at the sight of one

Who pled, but now is a partner in praise

A partner in praise with these two

Who have come, who have come from the Holy One

Amazement, wonder grip all who see the change

Who perchance may learn

That healing has lighted upon one in need

And that hope lives through a name

No longer outside the gate do I lay

No longer outside, I go in, I go in

All is due to one whose name I heard

Whose name embraced me and lifted me to where

I have always longed to be.

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