This week I am using the reading from the liturgy found in the Gospel of Mark 1:29-39. I am drawn to the story not as an interpreter of the story itself, but how the message of healing is one that is developed for all people. We read the miracle stories found throughout the Gospels and at times find the greatest messages in the fact that Jesus “cured” a person or group from a fatal illness. It is very easy to maintain a personal theology that, in the cases of healing, Jesus answers the prayers of the needy.
What about those whose prayers appear to be left unanswered? What happens in the cases of those who are faced with life altering diagnosis? Did Jesus simply say no, or forget them? In other words, how do those who struggle with physical or psychological issues find empowerment in the stories of healing? Do they find hope in these stories, or should they simply gloss over those stories of healing mentioned in the Gospels?
These are some of the questions that the text, from the Gospel of Mark, call to mind. It is my belief that Scripture is complete and for everyone. We are not invited to simply look and find the stories with which we find the most comfort. We must apply the overall truth found in the holy writings that speak to our everyday lives. Our task is not easy.
I enter this discussion by wanting to find the power of God through every part of the Bible. I want to share with my children that God’s miraculous healings and wonders are important for them as well as anyone that faces struggles. I want my six year old son to know that these miracle stories do matter in his life as he is hospitalized again and again due to complications from hemophilia.
The beginning of my understanding starts with the central message found in the Book of Job. Job lost everything that he had. He lost his health, he lost his family, and he lost his livelihood. Finally, after many chapters of struggle and questioning, God finally answers Job. God tells Job that he is asking the wrong question. The question should not be “Why is this happening to me?” but the question should be “Who will be with me through the suffering?” The answer to the question will always return to God.
Returning to the Gospel stories of healing, one might apply the answer to Job’s question to the Biblical text. Perhaps the miracles that occurred were not as important as the fact that the creator of the universe was present. The outward healings are simply wonders that transcend the very idea of human understanding. Maybe God’s presence is the very miracle itself.