Meet the Healer

Find Healing through Jesus Christ


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Hope in the Marketplace

When Hope Runs Outimage

As we walk around the town marketplace, having encounters and conversations with many different people, I begin to see common patterns. Loneliness, fear, rejection, pain, and lack of hope.

Often physical illness is combined with past or present emotional trauma, causing people to feel hopeless about the future.

“My Life is Over”

We listened to Graham for some time, as he told us about his various health problems and his life story. At only 62, he was full of regrets, telling us his life was over.

Graham shared with us that he had an abdominal aortic aneurysm, and if this ruptured, it could be fatal. Surgery was possible if the aneurysm grew slightly larger, but it was a risky operation, and Graham seemed convinced he wouldn’t survive it.

Prayer and Encouragement

Graham was willing for us to pray for him, though he didn’t appear to have much belief that it would make a difference. His whole attitude was that of a man who felt defeated and without hope.

After praying, we talked with Graham for some time, listening and offering encouragement. As we left, I handed him one of my cards, so he could get in touch again if he wished, and I told him I would continue to pray for him.

Seeds of Hope and Faith

Graham has contacted me a few times since. We ended up putting him in touch with someone from a local church, who has been able to meet up with him and offer friendship and ongoing support.

As far as I’m aware, the aneurysm hasn’t yet shrunk or gone away, though I continue to pray for complete healing.

However, seeds of hope and faith have been planted in Graham’s life. He no longer talks as if his life is over, but sounds much more positive about the future.

“Million to One Chance”

In his last text, Graham told me he had just met a man who had successful surgery for an abdominal aortic aneurysm. He was so pleased to have personally met someone who had been through this procedure and lived. This gave him hope. Part of the text read:

“I know you have been praying. The chap I met was fate, million to one chance to meet him, the answer to your praying. Jesus of Nazareth telling me that I’ll be ok, I reckon.”

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Hope and a Future

imageSeed of Hope

“I have paranoid thoughts all the time,” Barry told us. “Voices in my head.” As he shared more, it was evident that Barry had a number of difficulties in his life, compounded by mental health issues.

We began to pray, and within a minute or two, Barry interrupted us. “They’re gone!” he exclaimed. “Those thoughts have stopped. My head feels clear.” He looked surprised. “I feel kind of peaceful.”

Barry’s mental health issues were not all healed in an instant, during those few minutes of prayer. I’ve seen him since, and he still takes medication and has ongoing support mechanisms in place. However, something shifted that day. Perhaps a seed of hope was planted.

In the wake of Robin Williams’ death, there has been a torrent of articles and blog posts about depression, suicide and mental health. In all honesty, I felt pressure to post something substantial, something that carried some weight, something that would maybe turn things around for good in people’s lives. This is a healing blog, after all!

Yet, what could I usefully add to some of the insightful posts already published? How could I achieve the right balance of compassion and sensitivity; not underestimating the desperate circumstances that some people find themselves in; not merely giving platitudes; yet speaking words that give hope? I confess, I didn’t think my response would be adequate.

Stigma

As a child, I had my first encounter with someone experiencing severe mental and emotional distress. A distant picture memory of my great aunt is indelibly etched into my mind. I remember her shuffling around in her dressing gown and slippers, a blank, desperate stare on her face, with the appearance of a hunted fugitive. The family only seemed to mention her name in whispers. Mental illness had shame and stigma attached to it in that former generation.

A subtle threat seemed to hang over me. If I didn’t pull myself together and toughen up, then perhaps I, too, would be sent off to the hospital, becoming institutionalised and forgotten, my name spoken in hushed tones. Perhaps my Mom meant it as a joke, (though it didn’t seem remotely funny to me), or perhaps it was her unspoken fear, manifesting in verbal threats: “If you’re not careful, they’ll come to take you away.”

Thankfully, there is more positive awareness and less stigma surrounding mental health issues today. Having had personal experience of living with people who have bipolar disorder, and who have been suicidal at times, I have seen first hand the devastating effects this can have, on both the sufferers, and on those closest to them. Yes, this subject gets very personal for me.

Healing Process

As a teenager, continuing into my adult life, I struggled with depression and anxiety. Although I may have appeared functional on the outside, it impacted my work and relationships, making it difficult to maintain any security and stability in my life.

For me, healing has been a process over time. There has been some quite dramatic inner healing, through prayer, coupled with the healing that has happened more gradually, through experiencing the love of God and the love of friends, whom I call my spiritual family.

Taking the Masks Offimage

In the course of praying for many different people over a number of years, one thing stands out very clearly to me. Once we
start sharing our hurts, our fears, our personal battles, it quickly becomes apparent we are not alone. Taking our masks off and reaching out for help, in a safe environment, with trustworthy people, can be liberating.

Despite all our technology, and the ability to connect with one another at the touch of a button, through phones and social media, etc, so many people feel isolated, fearful and lonely.

Do I believe Jesus can heal mental and emotional distress? Yes, I do.

I believe, too, that there is a universal human need to belong. Acceptance in a community of friends or family, who love and understand us, can be so important in sustaining good mental and emotional health.

Wonderfully Made

Having freedom to discover our unique identity and purpose in this life can also help us move towards healing and wholeness.

“You are… wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139)

“I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

You matter. Your life is valuable. There is hope and a future.