“From there he set out and went away to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice, but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” But she answered him, “Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” Then he said to her, “For saying that, you may go—the demon has left your daughter.” So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.” (Mark 7:24-30)
Are you a child of God? Of the proper origin? The writer of Mark would make you think that mattered. But I assure you, beloved reader, that it does not. We all want healing, for ourselves and others. But we do not always get it, or get it the way we wanted or thought it should be. Is that because we are not the “correct” type of Christian? That we must hope and beg for the “miracle scraps” that might fall our way? Again, no beloved reader. I cannot tell you why there is so many different types of healing in our modern society – that some are so complete as to be a “miracle” and others so . . . not on target as to seem to be not miracles at all. It is not even, as this story is sometimes understood and interpreted, as a matter of strong enough or correct enough faith. Healing is what it is. But I know, from personal experience, that we are NEVER alone when we are ill, and that God’s Spirit hovers near us always!
“Then he returned from the region of Tyre, and went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. They brought to him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him. He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue. Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. Then Jesus ordered them to tell no one; but the more he ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. They were astounded beyond measure, saying, “He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.” (Mark 7:31-37)
“He has done everything well . . .” This might me (and maybe you, beloved reader) wonder about “incomplete” healing or healing that is not what was desired. If then, in the telling of this story in the gospel of Mark the healing was so “well done” why is healing not “well done” now?! Again, I do not have an answer that satisfies.
And then I remember Paul, who if anyone, deserved “well done” healing. But what he received was God’s assurance that the Lord’s grace would be sufficient for him.
I may have mentioned before, beloved reader, that I have an illness myself, a “thorn in my flesh” that gives me many problems. But I have never questioned way I have not been healed; I don’t know that I really expected to be healed. But what I have found is that God’s grace is more than sufficient. I rely on that grace every day, and many times during the day. But I am straying a bit from the Gospel Passages here.
The Gentile woman of Syrophoenician origin got complete healing for her daughter, even if it was miracle crumbs. The deaf man was given his hearing and his speech was cleared up completely – although I suspect that the deafness contributed to his speech problems. The healing that Jesus performed correctly targeted the very need that was presented before him. But what we do not know is what needs Jesus saw that needed to be healed. Can we ask with faith and assurance to allow God/Jesus to do the healing for what is seen as our needs, as opposed to what we think our needs are? Is this the type of faith that the Gentile woman had?
I come back to the phrase in the second scripture passage, “Then looking up to heaven, he [Jesus] sighed . . .” So I consulted a few bible commentators. And they seem to agree that the “sighing” was a response from seeing what “evil” had done in the world, and/or how much suffering there was in the world. And I can believe then that God’s grace is sufficient to relief that.
There are many questions around the whole issue of miraculous healing. And I have few, if any answers. It may well be one of those things that can only be understood completely on the other side of this life.
May you, beloved reader, receive from God the grace and healing that you need in your life. Selah!