What is health? Is it realistic or reasonable to expect that we’ll always feel on top form? Why should we expect the state to look after us when our own deliberate actions have brought illness upon us? These are difficult questions that society has to grapple with. They are also relevant to Christianity, and by healing I don’t mean medical cure (anyway, cure of what? cure of being human? cure of being alive? we’re all going to die), but salving, relieving, coming to terms with, accepting, feeling at peace, being liberated from guilt, living in the moment. This, surely, is healing—being made whole.
All Christian teaching is, or should be, about healing. Every Christian encounter should be a healing encounter. We’ve lost sight of this, I think, partly because many Christian encounters in the past have been finger-wagging thou-shalt-nots, and so healing was often seen as dependent on obeying man-made rules. Not so. We can all be channels of God’s healing grace, freely given. The response required from us who are sick is merely to say ‘yes, I accept’. As far as I can see from the Gospels, Jesus’ healings were always and only at the request of the afflicted. How many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb? Only one, but the bulb has to want to change.