The Healing Community

It’s an uncomfortable reality. We pray for healing and and people still die. Christians still battle diseases and affliction, despite our appeals to Christ. It’s a healing community with a patchy record. But Henri Nouwen throws a different light on it.

“A Christian community is a healing community not because wounds are cured and pains are alleviated, but because wounds and pains become openings or occasions for a new vision.” (The Wounded Healer)

We can become so focused on the present moment that we sometimes lose sight of the coming glory. I want healing right now, because right now feels so important and suffering is, well … so insufferable. Yet, as the Apostle Paul reminds us, “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18).

Healing CommunityThe Gospel does not eradicate suffering, despite the bold claims to the contrary we may sometimes hear. Hardships continue. Heartache happens. Hurts abound. Following Jesus provides no hedge against brokenness. It does, however, change our perspective of it. The Gospel allows us to see, share, discuss, and process our pain in a different way.

Our wounds—raw, scabbed, or scarred—indeed provide openings for a new vision. It’s not the simplistic hope that “this too shall pass” but the deeper and richer awareness that Christ suffers with us, and holds us. And in our afflictions, whether they last a day or a decade, His grace makes all the difference.

On our best days, we are not a community of well-wishers or glad-handers, nor even of the cured or the incurably optimistic. Rather, in our most God-honoring and God-shaped moments we are the community of “a new vision.” We see what others do not—the hand of God, the Presence of God, the grace of God, that sustains us in our tears and comforts our fears. We hold forth a vision of both grace for this moment and glory for eternity that grants us much-needed strength and endurance.

May we have eyes to see more clearly the grace of God that lies beyond, behind, and beneath this moment.

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18 Responses to The Healing Community

  1. Pastor Larry DiSimone says:

    Boy did I need to hear that!

    Thank you David!

    Pastor Larry DiSimone, MA FCA CN D.PSc

    Diplomat of Pastoral Science

    Certified QRA Health Practitioner

    Clinical Nutritionist/Herbalist

    Calvary Chapel of the Canyons

    P.O. Box 218

    Silverado Canyon, CA. 92676

    714.649.2636 x.211

    http://www.CanyonCalvary.com

  2. Fanny Nyamutora says:

    Hi David, you are amazing because you speak to the heart. You spoke to my heart today. God bless you as you write current flesh bread for our souls.

  3. Chris Thornhill says:

    Hi David. This perspective on suffering in individual and community life cannot be said enough today. Thanks for such an insightful reminder as to the place and purpose (dare it be said) of suffering in our lives. Romans 8 is a most comforting and rich chapter of Scripture to reflect upon in grasping ‘the present age’ as we await the New Creation. It can’t be read, proclaimed and pondered upon enough IMHO!
    Love this line: “The Gospel allows us to see, share, discuss and process our pain in a different way.”
    Thanks for your ongoing input into my life.
    Blessings to you and the family.

  4. Janet and Ian says:

    Thanks David for your thought provoking message. Two books I have read recently that put God in the center of the issue of healing are Joni Eareckson Tada’s ‘A Place for Healing’ and Jennifer Rees Larcombe ‘Unexpected Healing’. It’s a complex topic that can raise some heated discussions but it’s also a wonderful opportunity to begin to trust God instead of trying to understand why He does or doesn’t heal. The way I see it when all is said and done, God is sovereign in every situation and our hope rests in His love and faithfulness.

    • David Timms says:

      Your quite right, Janet. When a child hurts themself on the playground, they don’t need a lesson on the nature of physiology and bruising. They need mum or dad to hold them for a while. Joni surely gets that. Thanks for your note. 🙂

  5. Tim Ross says:

    We do pray for healing and I think it is good to do so. But we must leave room for God’s will. We pray intensely for one thing to stop the pain but I understand that my will is not perfect. It’s hard to see things this way but when I leave room for God’s will, I open my heart to His purpose. I want to keep my eyes on Him through the pain. Nothing else is better for He is enough for me.

  6. Phil McKinley says:

    All of you probably know someone who has been healed by God. Me too! Everybody who has ever been healed, miraculously or otherwise, has one thing in common. They all die! That’s also true of those who are seemingly not healed. Lesson? There is purpose when God takes action, and there is purpose when he seems not to take action. His purpose is behind it all. Pray for the understanding of his purpose and make the most of every opportunity. That’s the way Paul would say it.

  7. Phyllis Heglund says:

    Thank you again, David, words of encouragement and truth. I will certainly be committing some of the phrases to memory to use again. PhyllisHeglund

  8. David Mack says:

    Dr Timms,
    Thank you!
    Your perenial student,
    David Mack

  9. chuckm49 says:

    Hi David,
    Your post is so timely, as most are. Yet this simple, but hard to live out Holy Spirit wisdom, is so poignant in moments of dire despair. I have a close friend who Mitzi and I both worked with years ago at Disneyland. His beautiful wife just died the other evening from a seven year battle with cancer. She was only 59 years old, and Ed is having an extreme meltdown over the loss of his life partner of thirty years. They have never been the church going family, but in this season of loss, the family and many close friends are turning toward our Lord in prayer, both for themselves and the family. This is not the first death from our group from years past, but it is particularly distressing for many, simply because the reality is sinking in that we my not always be here. I have the honor and privilege to officiate the memorial service at Eastside. I am going, with your permission to read this piece to the 200 plus folks that will be attending. My prayer is that many will come to understand that we must have our sights on eternity, and not this life on earth. I so pray that the Holy Spirit will give me the right words to touch many hearts for our Lord. The memorial is on November 8th, so if you have any other thoughts for this humble pastor, you know I am all ears. God bless, and say hi to the family for us.

    In Christ,
    Chuck

  10. David Timms says:

    Hi Chuck – I’m so glad you can extend the grace of Christ to your friend in this time. By all means, feel free to use whatever you find helpful in these posts, when you minister to others. Praying that Ed experiences the Presence of the Lord as you, Mitzi, and others gather around. Grace and peace. — David

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