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.