Healing’s a tricky subject for those of us who work with the dying.
I remember one patient vividly. He had taken to his bed in the little downstairs room he was occupying in a friend’s house and I’d been asked to solve the problem of accessing the only bathroom upstairs.
It turned out it wasn’t a problem at all – he was perfectly capable of walking upstairs to the bathroom but he had decided to stay in his bed to wait for God to heal him of his cancer. He had already refused to see again the nurse who had referred him because she wasn’t a Christian and didn’t share his belief in God’s impending miracle. So I had been warned to tread carefully.
Sure enough, his immediate question to me was: ‘Are you a Christian?’
‘Yes,’ I replied.
And question number two was, ‘So do you believe God has the power to heal me or not?’
Now this was a man who wasn’t going to accept a counselling type approach of turning the question around to ask what he believed (as my colleague had already found out). He wanted a straight answer. The trouble was, I couldn’t give him the answer he wanted to hear, or at least not exactly.
‘Yes,’ I said, ‘I do believe God can heal and that He can heal completely…but I think sometimes He heals us here on earth and sometimes we have to wait for our healing to be in heaven.’
It wasn’t what my patient was expecting to hear but it was enough for him to believe we were on the same team.
There was no miraculous healing on earth for him. His disease progressed as medically expected and he died later in our hospice. But it was a peaceful death, which was an answer to prayer, and I believe he’s healed now.
In my prayer time today, I read this phrase from Malachi: ‘the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings’. Sometimes we have to wait for the sunrise for our healing.