I believe in miracles

A couple of weeks ago my First Day School class was talking about some stories of healing from the books of Matthew and Mark. We had to take a break at one point to discuss the differences between the old and new testament. You know, Jesus is in the new testament, which was written after the old testament. We also had to stop and talk about Jesus' teachings about the Sabbath and what they have to do with Bud Selig and the steroid scandal. They weren't able to convince me that it was an apt metaphor. 

And as much as they tried the kids also couldn't convince me that Jesus was just a dude. They were pretty much in agreement that He couldn't actually do all that healing stuff. And that nonsense about how it's your faith that heals you is really condescending because that means that if you're paralyzed then your faith isn't strong enough to make you better.

I find this such a sad world view. As someone who struggles with mental illness, the kind of mental illness that requires multiple daily medications, weekly therapy and the occasional hospitalization, I don't believe that my lack of healing is due to a weakness of faith. In fact, it's my faith that gives me the strength to keep fighting especially in times like these when the going gets pretty rough. I believe that my experiences on earth and my physical body are fairly unimportant. I believe that my soul and my relationship with God are far more important. Sure, it'd be great if God would relieve my suffering and balance the chemicals in my head for me. If he'd cure my aunt's breast cancer, that'd be pretty rad too. But I'd rather be right with God than right in the head. Knowing that I'm right with God brings me great comfort.

Here's what I think about the stories of healing: I'm buying it. I believe that Jesus was able to heal people. I think that being able to work miracles was an important part of getting people's attention. He had amazing things to say about the way things are and the way they should be and he got people's attention by doing amazing things while he was on earth in a corporeal form. And even if the stories about healing aren't literally true, I think that the messages about faith and forgiveness are so true and so important that I'm not concerned about whether or not touching the hem of His garment might actually cure leprosy or a hemorrhage or HIV.

Maybe they aren't ready to really think about miracles and healing and forgiveness. I'm pretty sure I wasn't at that age either. On the other hand, there was no throwing of graham crackers that week and that's a little miracle in and of itself. 

Elizabeth Bathurst


RichardM said...

Over the years I've become convinced that the great majority of people of all ages form their higher level beliefs based mostly on social considerations. If you belong to a group of people who think it is cool to say that Jesus was the Son of God then that is what you say and after saying it for a while you start to believe it. Conversely if you belong to a group of people who think it is uncool to say that and cool to say that Jesus was just a dude, well, that's the way it goes. Very few people make much of an effort to view the issue objectively and I would doubt very much if your kids are doing anything out of the ordinary here. They probably think they are being independent thinkers but local standards of what is cool rule the adolescent mind.

Elizabeth Bathurst said...

I think one of the most rewarding things was going back the next week and having one of the kids utterly deny that he had been so skeptical about the healing miracles the week before. The more these kids are given the chance to hear about the Bible in a context where there isn't a dogmatic "it's all true" or "it's all false," the more they are willing to think about what is true and what is possible. And it's a beautiful thing to watch these young minds opening to the possibility of a Loving God who cares for them.

Robin M. said...

I tend to think that the universe is a vast and mysterious place and I am not willing to say that Jesus could not have done the healings that are attributed to him.

This next bit has nothing to do with miracles, but last week, our kids played "Pin the Book on the Testament" with the pictures they drew of various books of the Bible, and then tried to, well, tape them to the correct, either New or Old, Testament on the wall, while blindfolded.

I wasn't teaching, and this would never have occurred to me, but they had a great time, and they learned a good bit about which books are in which testament. Just thought I'd share additional bible teaching strategies as I hear of them.

Judy Brutz said...

Over the years, I have experienced Jesus' healing in and through my life. Healing through forgiveness and blessing and healing through Reiki - all of which are prayer.

Now that I am living with Parkinson's and progressive chronic bronchitis, I am experiencing healing of deep emotions, past trauma, memories.

As my body demands that I let go I find that as the body fails, the quiet presence of Jesus' love and peace grow.

Someday I will not be able to communicate through verbal communication, I hope that there will be a radiant Presence that will bless all who come.

Many times the illnesses we live with, the troubles we go through are actually blessings in disguise.

Blessings, Judy

Allison said...

I am doing volunteer work as a massage therapy and we have talked a bit about Jesus being a Healer. George Fox and some others also supposedly had some healing abilities as well.

I wonder if more people would be inclined to believe this if we were able to so clearly channel God and continue the healing process. It's no wonder people don't believe it nowadays in the society we've created.