Lord, my God, I cried out to you for help, and you healed me. Psalm 30:2
I have been trying to keep ahead of this all week as I knew with my father’s funeral and then my surgery it would be a challenge to keep up with it. So far that plan has worked well. By the time you read this I should be home following surgery. As Dr. Illahi has done surgery on me before, I feel pretty certain in saying things went well (plus if they didn’t I will probably at least try to change this post).
As I starting thinking about this post in particular, in relationship with all that has happened this week I was reminded of a sermon I heard preached by the late Dr. Bill Hinson, then pastor at First United Methodist Church in Houston. This seemed to be particularly appropriate to me during this week.
While serving at Elwood United Methodist Church near Madisonville, Texas (It was my first church after entering the ministry a little over 25 years ago) I had the habit of getting up early on Sunday morning, moving the directional outdoor antenna on the house toward Houston and watching a re-broadcast First UMC Houston’s service from the Sunday before. Though I had written my sermon earlier in the week, it seemed to help prepare me to preach.
On this particular Sunday, my maternal grandfather had passed away from complications with Parkinson’s Disease. I was having some difficulty reconciling what my family experienced in his illness and death with my understanding of God.
The sermon Dr. Hinson preached that Sunday was on the four ways God heals us. It spoke to me, quite possibly in ways no other sermon (mine or others) has spoken to me before or since.
The first way Dr. Hinson said God heals us is by sending us to the right doctor. I live with a chronic inner-ear condition called “Migraine Vestibularopothy” (according to spell check I didn’t spell that correctly but it didn’t give any better suggestions either). I bounced around with several doctors, none really able to do much until one doctor sent me to an ear, nose and throat physician that specializes in inner-ear conditions. While I still deal with the ailment, this doctor got me on a treatment regimen that keeps the condition manageable. I also think that is what God has done in the treatment of my shoulder. Yes, sometimes God heals us by sending us to the right doctor.
Sometimes God heals us in what we would call “miraculous healing.” When I think of miraculous healing I think of someone like the late Dennis Byrd. Dennis died in a head-on-collision a few weeks ago but before that, he was known first as a professional football player with the New York Jets. Byrd was one of those players who suffered a catastrophic injury during a game. Doctors said he would never walk again. They were wrong. Byrd tells his story in his autobiography Rise and Walk (a great book, I highly recommend it). With a miracle from God and sheer guts and determination Byrd taught himself to walk all over again. His is a great story. God does heal us in miraculous ways.
The third way Dr. Hinson said God heals us (actually Hinson had this as the fourth way but it makes better sense to me in this order) is as God healed Paul of his “thorn in the flesh” by saying, “My grace is sufficient for you.” I can think of so many people who deal with on-going chronic conditions and yet live powerful lives, practicing the faith God has placed within them. I know a young man who is mentally challenged. There are few people I have ever met with faith greater than his. God’s grace is sufficient for him.
The last way Dr. Hinson said God heals us is, by “calling us home.” God healed my father over the past week. Dad had lung cancer complicated by pneumonia. Thankfully, he was never really in pain. He just tired easily and toward the end, he had a really hard time breathing. His lungs just wore out. He maintained his sense of humor to the very end. He just couldn’t breathe and God called him home. I realize many people would say God didn’t heal him, but they would be wrong. My healing at the hands of Dr. Illahi (under God’s guidance) is a temporary healing. God gave dad the ultimate healing. There is no more pain (though as I said, he didn’t have much), there is no more sickness, there is no more cancer, there is no more difficulty in breathing. God freed Dad from that worn out body with the ultimate healing that will last for all eternity.
I think in some way we have all experienced the healing grace of God. I am thankful to Dr. Hinson for sharing these in that sermon so many years ago. It has stuck with me over the years and I have had the opportunity to share his ideas with many people in the time since. I think these ideas are sound theology. I know them to be a comforting reality.
Whatever ways we may experience God’s healing during our lives, we all will share Dr. Hinson’s final way God heals us. God will call us home. Then, for we who believe it will be victory over the illnesses of this lifetime. It will be “Victory in Jesus.”
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Grace and Peace,
Copyright 2016, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved