“But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings” (Mal. 4:2). God’s prophet, Malachi, spoke to a people well acquainted with heartache. He told them of One whose coming would be like the rising of the morning sun. As sunlight restores and reinvigorates all living things, so the rays of light from the Sun of righteousness would warm and heal those who would look to Him. Today, Malachi’s words speak again to those who carry life’s heavy load.
Many people carry hurts and labor under burdens because of them. Some are sensitive to slights; others struggle with persistent self-doubt; many find it very difficult to open their hearts, even to friends. Some manage to build a protective shell around the pain and pretty much keep it from entering conscious thought. All carry a burden that is heavy and painful. Is there healing for those wounds that disquiet the spirit and mind and bring emotional distress?
Jesus’ first public message made clear His intention to minister to this human need. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives…to set at liberty them that are bruised” (Luke 4:18; italics added by author). Jesus is still working today to heal wounded spirits and to deliver from the bondage they bring. Why do we so often carry wounds and offenses when the Sun has risen with healing in His wings?
One impediment to healing is the human tendency to want to understand everything that happens to us. When we suffer some loss or disappointment, we ask, “Why did this have to happen? Why did this happen to me?” It is interesting to note that we seldom ask these questions when we are made aware of the losses and heartaches of others. When, however, the burden is ours to bear, we sometimes feel we cannot accept the heartache unless we can understand with human reasoning what the reason and purpose is in it all.
Are we willing to be healed without answers to our questions? The working of God is often inscrutable, especially in its beginning stages. The passing of time may bring some understanding; sometimes only eternity will reveal what God had in mind. “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deut. 29:29). We must act upon that which God has revealed to us, and it is enough. God heals without us understanding why the heartache came.
When we suffer hurt because of unkindness or evil on the part of others, there awakes in the human spirit a desire for justice, or even vengeance. Those who profess to be followers of Jesus may say, “No, I don’t want that person to be punished severely, but he surely needs to know how much he hurt me. He needs to acknowledge the wrong he has done.” When we take this attitude, we continue to bear the burden of our hurt and put the conditions for healing in the hands of the one who bruised us.
Jesus offers a much better way. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). Jesus is willing to take the burden of our healing upon Himself, and He will quiet the turmoil, hurt, and sorrow within us. “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me…and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (v. 29).
The healing Jesus gives does not come through observable means or methods. It comes quietly and miraculously. It is a work wrought by the Spirit of God through grace provided by Jesus. Often the one healed or set free cannot really explain what happened or how the change came about but will humbly say, “I only know that once I was hurting; now I am whole.”
There is ample evidence that Jesus’ grace to heal is present today. We need only listen to those who have experienced it to know it is alive. Some have found grace to forgive heinous acts perpetrated against themselves or against their children. Some have found the fears that bound them taken away. There are those who tell of being able to enjoy deep and undisturbed sleep after years of recurring nightmares. Others, who have been bound by silence, give thanks to God that they can relate freely with friends and strangers. Some are freed from the nearly irrepressible urge to vent their anger and frustration; those feelings are gone. These people have not been given a reason for their being hurt, neither have they seen justice meted out upon their “adversary,” yet they have been healed.
Are some offenses simply too large for even Jesus to overcome? Are some hurts too deep for His healing to reach? Jesus himself answers these questions: “Come unto me, all ye…and ye shall find rest.”
If we would be healed, we must accept Jesus’ way of healing. We may ask for healing, but we want the poultices applied just so. We want our view of our wound to be vindicated. We want others to acknowledge how much we have suffered. We want healing—on our terms. While we may speak about forgiving those who have caused us pain, we forget that we need to be forgiven. Such attitudes will not allow the Sun’s rays to touch us. If we want to be healed, we must relinquish all our own thoughts and methods into the hands of the Master Healer. With reason, Jesus asked the man at the pool of Bethesda, “Wilt thou be made whole?” (John 5:6).
Sometimes healing takes place over a little time. A young couple had born to them a beautiful little boy. It was soon noticed that the infant had some irregularities of heart, and a few months later he died. The father and mother naturally experienced deep grief. The following winter, the father would go to the church yard to clear the snow from the parking lot there. While going about his work, he would see the little grave that held his son, and sorrow would come over him again. He noticed that snow was beginning to cover the little mound of dirt over the grave, and with each snowfall, the mound was less noticeable. Later, one day, he saw that the little mound was well-covered with snow, and the grave was hardly discernible. He also realized that the deep hurt in his heart was being healed.
The healing Jesus gives has some distinctive qualities. It brings a settled feeling to one’s spirit. It removes tension and frustration from the heart and mind. It produces a deep gratitude toward our Savior and God. Memories remain, but they are purged of fear, anger, and bitterness. This healing leaves us whole and ready to move on in life.
From Messenger of Truth, Vol. 111, No. 10, May 15, 2013