I just finished watching the movie Miracles from Heaven based on a true story about a young girl in the process of dying because of an incurable illness. She went home from the hospital after many months of treatments, basically to live out her last days, had an accident falling from a tree, and was miraculously healed. The child claims to have gone to heaven and met Jesus who told her she was coming back to earth as there were things still left for her to do in life. Fact-checking the story it appears the movie took a few liberties, but for the most part, stayed true to the reported experience.
First, let me say I do believe in miraculous healings, in Jesus, and that heaven is not necessarily a place, as we have been taught, rather a higher level of understanding or consciousness, in other words, a transition from our earthly life to one of spirit united with God. Does everyone get healed? No, not everyone is meant to be healed in this life. Is it our fault we don’t receive healing? Certainly not. We are subject to the frailties of our bodies and the stresses of the world we live in; people become ill and sometimes they die, but I don’t believe death is a failure on our part in any way.
In the movie the family attended what appeared to be a fundamentalist church. At the end of a church service when the child was getting progressively more ill, two women approached the mother of the child and strongly suggested if the child wasn’t experiencing healing it was time to look at reasons such as sin, or lack of faith, or some other failure on their part. Her reaction was pretty close to the one I had while attending churches in the past during times of hardship. The same suggestions were made – and I am being polite using the word “suggestions”. She was offended and decided not to go back, throwing God out the window with the offensive and cleary wrong “suggestions”. Anyone besides me been there? Those suggestions have been offered to me more than once The first time I swallowed it, believing my level of Biblical understanding and faith not as mature as the ones offering the unsolicited suggestions. Age, wisdom, and life taught me ignorance is everywhere, sometimes disguised as cherubic, Bible-believing, never-had-a-day-of-hardship-in-their-life pew sitters. It truly is amazing how many there are in churches throughout Christendom, and many are leaders and teachers! Like the movie character, I walked out the door and dropped God at the threshold. I did give attending church another chance, as did the “mom” character, but the ignorance quickly reared its ugly head yet again. I left with God that time, but took a right turn on my way out the door and haven’t looked back since. People are imperfect, and certainly I don’t expect only perfect people to attend churches. We are all in the process of learning and growing in our earthly and spiritual lives. I don’t mind people offering me an opinion – if I ask. People who choose to offer unsolicited advice not knowing the circumstances, or condemn others in a backhanded way meant to sound like an offer of prayer, are another story altogether. Why kick someone when they are down? Is that what “Jesus would do?” Common sense is not a flower growing in everyone’s garden.
My take on Yeshua (Jesus) is that He came to demonstrate and teach what is possible. God taking the form of man was important to the process. Jesus, although Divine Incarnate, lived as a man and therefore was subject to man’s limitations. He was also fully Divine to demonstrate man’s ability to live from the spirit while living within the here and now. He was not bound by the ego, although if accounts of Him in the Garden of Gethsemane are at all accurate, His ego did war with spirit, at least in the telling of that story. Jesus embodied the work of positive energy; intention always set for the outcome He wanted to create, while ignoring the naysayers and negative-nellies in His midst. He embodied all that is possible. In my mind, the ‘possible’ is the takeaway.
Life teaches us valuable lessons through experiences and consequences; both good and bad. But what if a young child dies unexpectedly, a parent is tragically taken from a family, a natural disaster wipes out an entire town? Are these results of sin or failure on someone’s part? No, not as far as I am concerned. Life happens. In times like these I have heard parents being told a demon must have been let into their midst and God’s protection was taken from them to explain an unexpected death. From the pulpit I have heard ‘count it all joy’ when we suffer. And, I have heard parents of a gay child who died from AIDS told their child wouldn’t go to heaven as God’s punishment for their sin. Talk about rubbing salt into a wound! If compassion is what these comments were meant to convey, please, refrain from sharing.
The Bible tells us God is love, and that all are welcome. It also says there is no condemnation for those who believe in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1) Belief, it would seem, is a condition to escape condemnation. Within love there are no conditions put on behavior, belief, or lack thereof. Man has given God human characteristics, and we see that throughout the Bible: vengeance, judgment, discipline, and the like are not characteristics of pure love. At times, the God found within the scriptures almost seems fickle, short-tempered, or petulant. Karma eventually settles all scores. It’s not some weird new age philosophy, as many believe; Karma is the result of the consequences of our behavior.
Everything comes back to heart motivation. Man cannot judge the heart motivations of another, or the inner workings of any situation or circumstance. In the Biblical account of the woman caught in adultery, Jesus responded stating He didn’t condemn her either when her accusers walked away. Why would any other “sins” be condemned, and what would be the conditions for their condemnation? The account doesn’t mention anything about the woman’s ‘belief’ in Jesus, or a ‘confession of sin’ on her part.
Healing is real, I believe that, and have experienced it myself. The child in the movie could have just as easily died like her roommate at the hospital. What is the takeaway? Did mom turn back toward God, ask forgiveness, and in exchange God healed her daughter? No, I think it much simpler than that. “For with God, nothing is impossible.” (Luke 1:37 The Complete Jewish Bible) Partnership with the Divine, living from the spirit; it’s what Jesus taught. Possibility…..