Monday, November 03, 2014

God Causes Healing, Not Our Emotional Reponses

Maple leaf on my front porch.
A friend, T, read "The Sign of Real Healing Is Behavioral, Not Emotional" and sent me a question:

"You've clearly defined the difference in outcomes between an authentic healing experience through Christ and an experience limited to a momentary emotional reaction, but what defines the difference between the cause of these two outcomes? In other words, how can one who wants to experience authentic healing find that experience through Christ rather than just experience an emotional reaction?"

Thank T for this question. Here's what I think.

  • The cause of any authentic healing is God. The cause of an emotional reaction whereby one thinks they have been healed is probably not from God, whether the healing is real or not. I'm thinking that most of our emotions are not caused by God, but are our responses to things like met or unmet expectations. God causes the healing but not the emotional response. The latter is us.
  • I would think that if one experiences emotion as they are prayed for, believes God has healed them, and discovers that God has healed them, then that emotion's reason is grounded in the reality of being healed. The emotion successfully refers to the reality.
  • If one experiences emotion as they are prayed for, believes God has healed them, and discovers that God has not healed them, then that emotion's reason is not grounded in the reality of being healed. That emotion fails to successfully refer to the expected reality. 
  • In both cases the emotion is not the true, or final indicator of healing. The sign that I am healed of chronic back pain is not emotional, but that the pain is chronically (through time; chronos) gone. When that happens I would expect to feel much emotion, as my response of joy and gratitude to God. In this sense I can say "He has made me glad!" God turned my mourning into gladness by healing me.
  • For example, I might turn off the Tigers game with them leading 7-0 in the eighth inning. Emotionally, I feel glad. My expectation is: The Tigers won the game. But if, not yet known to me, the other team scores 8 runs and wins the game, my emotion is still gladness but now it does not successfully refer to the reality. In this way my emotion is not the true indicator of the reality. Instead, the final score is. This seems like the blind man who knows he is healed because he really sees men, like trees, walking.
  • Finally, I believe God can cause or produce emotions in us. For example, the "fruit of the spirit" in Galatians 5:22-23, one of which is "joy." But note that this joy is non-circumstantial, and available to all who abide in Christ. This is a joy we can experience in all circumstances, whether we are healed now or later or not until we enter finally and fully into God's eternal presence.