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Why isn't everyone healed?

"... I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.” Matthew 17.16

Such was the complaint of an anxious father, regarding his demon-possessed son. There is a lot of worry and blame flying around, which may have been compounded by Jesus' own irritation at the faithlessness with which he impugns that whole generation. But he does the necessary, the boy is healed and Jesus moves onto a more encouraging tack, reassuring the disciples that they too can accomplish the same life-improving miracles if they just believe more...

That is no doubt true. But not everyone is as robust as the disciples. Indeed no one else has been as close to Jesus and therefore as intimately impacted by his example and teaching. Or have they? Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit so we could all enjoy close fellowship with him and all the gifts which he promises to those who follow him in faith and life.

When it comes to anything as emotive as healing we must tread carefully. We are not only dealing with our own interests but with the convictions - or lack thereof - of others. Personally, I believe it helps to bear two things in mind: we inhabit a larger context than we can perceive, whose ultimate goal is the reconciliation and restoration of all creation (total healing); in the meantime we are operating in a corrupted world, where things are not as they should be.

Living faithfully in such a dualistic context is not easy, yet it is the making of us. The risk is that we blow it, either by succumbing to the pressure or selling out and going with the flow. But Jesus summons us bear witness to the solution he makes possible, in which we have a part to play, bringing salt and light - and hope. Learning how to do this requires humility and compassion, as well as faith.



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