What My Students Teach Me about Healing

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Don’t get me wrong. I believe in healing. Even though I had to watch my baby cousin lose a fight to cancer after we had prayed for over a year for her healing. Even though I laid hands on a woman just to hear that she lost her battle against drugs one week later.

I’ve witnessed healing. I watched a lame girl’s legs straighten and saw her walk across the room for the first time. I saw a deaf man’s ears open. I met a boy who was dying of Malaria one day and sitting up eating lunch, perfectly healthy, the next.

Let me explain a bit about the type of students I work with, and the world I have chosen to enter. These children are the ones who have been turned away by multiple schools. Many people have given up on them. They have endured traumas that I cannot imagine. It’s not uncommon for them to be hospitalized. Most days seem like one step forward, and two steps backward. They are abused, battered, bullied, anxious, depressed, angry, with little hope for a normal childhood, much less a normal adulthood.

The problem here is that their brokenness is not a bone that can be set. It is deep, much too deep to see or fully understand. Often they do not even understand it. Healing doesn’t work for these kids.

There is something stronger needed, it is needed desperately. It is called LOVE.

Love is more powerful than healing.

I don’t know that my students necessarily want all their problems to magically disappear. They simply want to know that I will love them from one day to the next. That they can punch me, kick me, spit on me, bite me, throw chairs and desks at me, call me names, run away from me–and that I will still want to play Checkers with them or read them stories. They want to know that I love them, even WITH their problems and struggles.

Sometimes I feel like praying for healing is a manifestation of our fear of pain. It’s easier to pray that the pain goes away, rather than love someone through it and stand with them, feel the pain with them. Stepping into the life of someone who is struggling, loving them whether they are healed or not, is where true healing comes from.

Love IS healing. The greatest healing: the healing of hearts and souls.

Despite my doubts, I know that physical healing is real. I’ve seen it happen. But I’ve seen far more beautiful healing come through simple, daily, practical love.

Each day, let us choose to love others, no matter their brokenness. Every soul is worth being loved.

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