Healing, mortality, and kindness
24 When they heard it, they raised their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth, the sea, and everything in them, … 27 For in this city, in fact, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, 28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. 29 And now, Lord, look at their threats, and grant to your servants to speak your word with all boldness, 30 while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
Healing stories are complicated. We probably pray more prayers for healing than any other single thing. We care for those we love when they are injured or ill. We want them restored to vitality and health. We believe in God. We know he can heal. Sometimes he does.
But he made us physical, mortal, finite, and we will all break down and die. There will be an end, which for most of us will be the conclusion of a long period of sickness.
In our times we have been blessed by huge advances in medicine and technology to extend life, return health, to increase vitality. And yet one day, none of the efforts we can make will be successful. One might think that this would lead care-givers to despair – or at least callousness as they tend to elderly critically ill patients.
This past week I have seen so much of the opposite; I have seen genuine care and compassion so often from the folks at Baptist Hospital in Pensacola as they tend to an accident victim who is a member of our congregation in Gulf Shores. Doing their work professionally is expected – they are paid to do that. Doing their work compassionately is a grace – a huge grace that they extend to people they only know as patients.
Perhaps this kindness is truly the effect of Christianity’s healing stories: people matter to God who made them and loves them, especially when they are injured or ill. These stories have formed our consciences: they produce care-givers with compassion.