Healed | Isaiah 53:5
The co-existence of chronic illness or handicap and Christianity is a tension many circles of faith don’t believe belongs. Well-intentioned healing ministries have sprouted up left and right over the last few decades, desperate to work alongside God in bringing healing of heart, mind, and body to His people in the here and now.
I’ll be the first to admit I’ve seen Jesus miraculously heal the physical ailments of some and the psychological ailments of others. I’ve watched Him extend lives that were told they would never see certain milestones come to pass – Myself included. I’ve been the recipient of His grace and healing mercies numerous times while hospitalized for Cystic Fibrosis, a life-threatening lung disease I was born with, even bouncing back from full-on respiratory failure in December of 2022.
But without fail, I have witnessed strong and faithful followers of the Way, the Truth, and the Life succumb to the physical law of death within our broken world. And though my severity of suffering indeed ebbs and flows with seasons and circumstances, I have yet to see my DNA fully healed. I’ll be the first to admit also I don’t understand why.
In Isaiah 53, we find one of the most beautiful and well-known promises in all of Scripture: By His wounds we are healed. (53:5) Many grasp this declaration as a guarantee of physical completeness this side of Glory, and as a result, I have been told more times than I can count that my living with CF is a direct result of a lack of real faith. That CF is demonic, an entity on my bloodline that needs deliverance, and because I still battle it, I must secretly want it there. That with every fervent request for healing that I or others utter, we slap Christ in the face and tell Him what He’s already done isn’t enough. And the darkest night He has brought me out of to date: That my lack of victory over CF brings my salvation, and my belonging to Him altogether, into question.
For a while, I believed these things to be true, and I lived under the shame and constant pressure of trying to muster up “enough” faith to be made well on my own… Until one precious morning, when I awoke heavy-hearted once again over what had become an all-too-familiar instance of being prayed over to “just believe” that by His wounds, I was healthy. His tender mercy of holy curiosity led me to pick up my study tools and search out Isaiah 53:5 for myself. And what I found freed me:
“To pardon; ‘There was healing to us,’ i.e. ‘God pardoned us.’” (Strong’s H7495: Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon)
The more I studied, the more I understood this to be the preeminent promise echoed throughout the pages of Scripture. Passages like Exodus 15:26, James 5:16, and so many others testify to ultimate healing that transcends temporary and brings hope no matter our physical circumstances. And I also understood that when we extract circumstantial healing as the whole of it, we rob it of its true power and magnificence, and leave those suffering in confusion and despair.
But make no mistake – This tweak in comprehension doesn’t take away from the promise. It deepens it, enriches it, and solidifies it, from this life to the next.
Now, gaining ever-increasing levels of passion and gratitude for just how perfectly enough He is is the wholeness I aspire to. In the past, I’ve responded by either playing possum until the moment of confrontation passed, or by exploding in defense of my faith. Now, I recognize true freedom is rooted in surrender. In recognizing He is God and I am not. In searching for the plethora of beauty, even amidst the ashes. And in knowing my identity, faith, joy, and peace have zero connection to my body not having gotten the memo that it’s out of sync with ultimate reality right now. An ultimately reality I can picture in my heart and feel in my bones. An ultimate reality that, because of my Jesus’ wounds, I find great hope in looking forward to living out for eternity.
Within this design bears my choice to publicly stand up for not only myself, but believers everywhere who question their place in the Kingdom because of a misunderstood narrative. One that tells us that because we often find our lives under the heavy hand of affliction, we’re less mature and less favored and altogether doing the “faith thing” wrong.
May this help someone breathe again. May this help someone believe again. May this make prayers for not only our physical suffering to cease allowable, but prayers for the “even if” as well. And may it assure someone that our bodies can be broken until the moment we meet Him in Glory, yet we can still be healed in all of the ways that matter most.