Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Healed

I feel that I am extremely blessed to have had an amazing childhood. Having a 2 acre yard meant that we had space to run around and do all kinds of boy things, like building forts and playing ball. We even had a sandbox. We could make a game out of just about anything. We also played with other neighborhood kids. We did not always enjoy showering, so mom would take us to my grandmother’s house for swimming so we would be at least a little clean.
There is a growing amount of medical evidence which suggests that my early exploration was not only good for my happiness as a child, but possibly also my health as an adult. The hygiene hypothesis is a theory which suggests that not coming into contact with bacterias and diseases early in life may impair the growth of one’s immune system, resulting in immune system-related problems such as allergies and asthma. It is similar to getting a flu shot which contains a small amount of the disease to build up one’s immunity to that particular disease. I have even heard of successful medical procedures in which the bacteria from a healthy person is transferred to a sick person, then the disease is eradicated.
In Matthew 8:14 - 17, Jesus heals many people of their diseases. First he heals Peter’s mother-in-law, then others who were brought to him. Matthew then quotes Isaiah 53, in which the prophet foretold that Jesus would be a healer, taking up our diseases and infirmities. It seems that Jesus’ healing was a powerful demonstration of God’s care for the pain suffered in humanity.
What about the rest of us who may have never had a serious infectious disease or have been possessed by a demon? Can we not know the love of God in the same way?
Using the logic of the hygiene hypothesis, one might suggest that there are actually three types of people: (1) those who are sick and yet to be healed, (2) those who are not sick because they have not yet come into contact with the disease, and (3) those who are pre-healed through immunity. 
I think this type of viewpoint might be helpful in the way we think about other people. We are all vulnerable to the brokenness of the world, but for some problems God has placed within us healing before our affliction. For other issues we may be vulnerable and yet to be afflicted. The most powerful set may be those things we have actually encountered directly and experienced healing.

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