Monday, March 13, 2017

Emotional Healing

“When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, "Would you like to get well?"  John 5:6

I hear many stories from my Muslim(and followers of Jesus) friends of being hurt, taunted, shunned or abused. They have been emotionally or physically injured or wounded.  Iman was poisoned and betrayed by her best friend. Her life hung in the balances for four months. Then there was Amal whose husband threatened to divorce her because after fifteen years she hadn’t produced a baby. A Libyan friend was gripped with high anxiety because her country is in a huge crisis, affecting her family.  Maryam concluded she must be a sinner and being punished by Allah because she has multiple sclerosis. Hussein recounted his two kidnappings, beatings, and torture of being hung by the feet from the ceiling by the Taliban. I want to put my hands over my ears and say, “STOP, I can’t take anymore!” Maybe you, too, have heard many such stories. Anyone who is involved deeply with Muslims(or followers of Jesus) will hear many sad and horrific stories. There are some very resilient friends but many of them carry heavy burdens of memories which won’t go away. Some are shell shocked, traumatized, and bearing both visible and invisible scars.

They need healing. And I can’t help them. That is the worst part. I want to take their pain away but I can’t. I want them to hear about our Healer, Jesus Christ, who is not only the Healer of physical illnesses but also mental, emotional, and spiritual disturbances. I believe that my friends can get some measure of help from professional sources and medications but it often is not complete or lasting apart from that mysterious touch by our Healer, who also heals even our painful memories.

What can we do? First of all, we need to look at our own lives. Do we need emotional healing in any area? Do we have a story to tell? I have personally been miraculously and mysteriously healed by God’s divine touch a few times. When we have experienced healing God will use our stories powerfully and redemptively in our Muslim friends’ lives. We need to point them to the Healer, not draw them to ourselves. They need to hear the story of the cross and the risen Savior.

Occasionally I have witnessed a strange response from some Muslims. Nasrin is beaten and ridiculed by her husband. I assumed she would want to be free of that cruelty. But I discovered she actually wants her husband to beat her because she feels that her reward in the after life will be greater if she suffers unjustly here on earth. Not all my friends actually want to be healed. Frequently I ask them if they want to be healed. In a twisted way they may conclude  their suffering will somehow atone for their sins. When my friends respond like this I share with them that we can't atone for our sins or think we will have a greater chance of getting to Paradise by suffering emotional wounds. Rather, Jesus has become our atonement and healer on the cross.

Probably the biggest area of ministry I’m engaged in is praying for Muslims. I listen to their stories, pray for them, and then give their pain to Jesus. I don’t take it on and carry it myself. Praise God, that He is the one who carries and can remove, not only our sins, but our burdens, wounds, injustices, and sorrows, too. He CAN and DOES heal, deliver us from evil spirits, lift away oppression, give comfort, and put us back together and make us whole. Thank you, Lord! What a wonderful, glorious, marvelous Healer you are.

Dear heavenly Father, please heal my friends' wounds. Help them to want to be healed and set free.   In Jesus' name, Amen.