Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Surrender and Healing

The Christian faith is about union with God. But to be united with God we have to give up everything – even ourselves. Making ourselves, securing ourselves, controlling our lives, our futures, our desires, our image and identity, dying to self. And in this dying we are found in God, and we discover who we truly are. All the rest is stripped off as we come to live more and more into God. It is quite harsh for it calls for a death to the usual things about ourselves that we would all think quite reasonable. And you can get a good glimpse of it when sick, diseased, facing an operation, wearing out, dying. Our fears come into play. What will happen? We are losing control. Things could happen that we don’t like. We try to gain control.

I remember hearing about a group who believed they would never die if they had enough faith. All those who died had obviously no faith! (I kid you not, such a group existed in Adelaide!) Tlak about the denial of reality, trying to gain control by manipulating God. It is a temptation for all of us, especially in the dark times of illness etc. A last ditch attempt to deny reality or escape it. A way of manipulating God. (Pray harder; and when the outcome is not what we wanted and we say, "Why did God not listen?" Well, what a give away!) When I had an operation a few years ago I discovered something about myself. I couldn’t trust myself to God. I wanted a certain outcome, and I wanted God to make sure it happened. All normal, of course, but it is not what Christian healing is about. Christian healing is not about using our faith to get what we want. Facing the darkness of sickness etc. is an opportunity to deepen our surrender to God. Anointing with the sign of the cross in the name of Jesus provides a clue: the cross is the symbol of losing life and of surrender; faith in God is not a shield from the reality of our lives. We get sick, injured, wear out, and die. Faith is about trusting in God no matter what. Its easy to trust God when everything is going smoothly, a different matter when we are in the darkness of suffering. That’s when the rubber really hits the road.Can we give our lives to God? Can we trust that all shall be well, no matter what? Can we give up our very selves in the promise of gaining life? That’s what healing is about. Sometimes the outcome is what we want. Eventually it won’t be. But that’s beside the point. The point is knowing that in the light of the resurrection of Jesus all shall be well. No matter what.

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