Many of us struggle when we see the Bible seemingly jam-packed with promises for healing but see so little of this in our own life. In this disparity of experience, do you sometimes feel a mix of confusion, discouragement or a sense of failure? Perhaps your situation has even led you to doubt the very existence of God or the reliability of His word completely.
What God longs for is a dynamic and personal relationship between Himself and us. He wants to be actively involved in our lives: it’s why He made us! Likewise, He designed us to be actively engaged in this heart-to-heart relationship with Him: it’s what Jesus died for.
So, what is it that gets in the way and harms such a beautiful two-way relationship? We have the gift of His Holy Spirit right with us, present in everything we do, weaving Jesus into every bit of our lives. Given this, what might the problem be? It might be helpful to acknowledge here that there are two very different mistakes we can make in relating to God as each one can damage how we live out our daily life with Him.
The first mistake is to have something of a ‘do-it-yourself’ attitude where we try to fix things ourselves. The danger of this approach is that we are likely to work hard to ‘work it out’ ourselves and can pre-empt God’s intervention.
The other mistake is to have something of an overly passive attitude, where we wait for God to do everything for us. This approach can result in us blaming God for not doing what we expected of Him.
Because God has created us for a whole, two-way, relationship, neither of these approaches are effective in sustaining such connection and in receiving God’s healing touch.
Making the first mistake doesn’t work because, put simply, we are neither designed nor equipped to save or heal ourselves. Following Jesus is not a religious self-improvement course. Christianity is rather about God coming to rescue humankind whom He has so lovingly created. The Bible gives many pictures of who we each are before our Maker. He is Father: we are His children. He is the Shepherd: we are the sheep. He is the Saviour: we are the ones being saved. In all these relationship dynamics God is the initiator and provider, we are the recipients: He gives, and we are invited to respond to Him. When God wants to bless and heal us, everything starts with Him, not with our own efforts or our initiative.
When God wants to bless and heal us, everything starts with Him
Sometimes we hear things that sound as if they are from the Bible, but they are untrue and can be very damaging: ‘God only helps those that help themselves’ is one such saying. God actually came to help those who cannot help themselves; and that means all of us. One of the wonderful reasons that God gave us His Spirit is that He knows we cannot ‘make life work’ ourselves. We need to receive from Him because that’s how He designed us to be.
In the second approach, we may be tempted to put all the responsibility on God and wait passively for God to ‘do His thing’. This won’t work either. The beautiful reality is that God gave us each free will and will never override our will, not even to heal us. It might seem very spiritual to put all the responsibility on God and wait for Him. But, in reality, this unbalanced approach means we are abdicating the God-given personal responsibility for our own life.
Thankfully, we don’t have to fall into either of these mistaken ways of seeking, and receiving, more from God. Rather, the key is in engaging in a dynamic personal relationship with Him. He longs to take care of us. He longs to help us. He has already given us His Son, Jesus, left His Spirit to lead and guide us and He will gladly give us many other things as well. We do no not have to solve our own problems. Instead, He wants us to look to Him. But God wants to do things together with us. He wants to involve our mind, our will, our heart: our entire being. In understanding how this works, it might be helpful to think about a healthy human relationship we might have experienced or have observed. The best ones are those where both people are invested, honest and committed and where both people matter into the dynamic of a healthy growing relationship. If we consider God in a similar light, it can give us courage and hope of more.
We may have to ask Him questions, pour out our heart to Him, listen to Him. We may have to wrestle with Him. We will have to surrender to Him. God’s Spirit within us will help us discern the way forward but all of this means we also need to take an active involvement in a dynamic relationship. However much we want for more of God, we can be assured that God has given everything to make it possible and that He designed us to know such rich reality in our everyday lives.
Steps each of us can start taking today:
Every bit of our lives is precious to God and we can include him, intentionally, in everything we spend our days doing. Maybe we could chew over with Him the things on our minds as we take a stroll in our neighbourhood or in the countryside. Maybe we could ask Him to speak through us weeding in the garden or as we tidy up the mess in the house. By His Spirit, God is present with us through every moment, waking and sleeping, and we can rest in His Presence knowing that He is active in our lives.
The beauty here is that in this two-way relationship we will get to know Him more and more deeply. Relationships cannot be rushed; they can only deepen and develop over time. The more we discover and understand of Him, the better we will understand His ways. The outcome of a deep, personal relationship is that we learn what pleases Him: this way we are perfectly positioned to receive from Him all the good things He already longs to give us.
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