Week 10: Hopeful Submission: When Healing Doesn't Come
 

Yesterday I posted the scripture, “…He healed them all” from Matthew 12: 15. I have always wondered why Jesus healed EVERYONE during His earthly ministry and yet doesn’t seem to do that now. I’m not the only one that has had these questions. A lady responded to my post with this comment:

“I pray for healing several times a day. I pray that my husband can feel relief. I pray that he is able to sleep through the night. I pray that he can eat a full meal. It’s hard to keep an eternal perspective sometimes.”

Healing is a topic that can be painful for those with chronic illness. Having suffered many years with Lupus I have known what it’s like to feel like healing will never come. I have had days where I couldn’t take care of my kids and other people had to take care of me. I have had dark nights and lonely days. I have had deep despair. If you have felt that way too, can I share with you what I’ve learned and how healing came to me?

First, back to my initial question, why did Jesus heal everyone during his earthly ministry but doesn’t seem to do that now? Some may respond that it is because not everyone has enough faith to be healed. I see two problems with that line of thinking. First, Jesus healed people who were struggling with their faith (remember the father who said “help thou mine unbelief”)? Second, I have learned from personal experience that it often takes MORE faith to NOT be healed than to be healed. Nothing will try your faith like miracles or promises that don’t come.

During those painful waiting periods, I learned to live in the balance of hope and submission. Maintaining hope can be hard when the miracle you’ve been praying for doesn’t come. It can be soul crushing. In my moments of deep despair, I have had several people in my life that have reminded me to keep trying, keep looking, and keep praying for healing when I’ve wanted to give up. Faith and hope cannot flourish when you are swallowed up in despair, discouragement, or despondency. Believe in good things to come. “All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8: 28.

When life doesn’t work out according to your plans, it begins to feel like everything is spinning out of control. However, there are things that ARE in your control. You can pray, you can eat healthy foods, you can take care of your body, you can take your medications. Don’t give up on the things that do help when complete healing doesn’t come.

On the opposite side of the same coin is submission. Even Christ himself had trials that could not pass from Him. In the garden of Gethsemane, He taught us to submit to the Lord’s will for us and trust that our loving Father has a plan for us. If He had to endure certain trials then why do we feel like we are any different? “Art thou greater than He?” (D&C 122: 8). Keep your faith and hope alive by submitting to Heavenly Father’s will—whatever it is. There are crosses to bear in this life.

Even when Christ cannot remove a trial, He can lift the burden. I call these moments “handcart moments.” When the pioneers were traveling west by handcart several of them reported being so exhausted that they literally could not take another step. It was then, in their complete desperation that they would suddenly feel the handcarts pushing them. The very trial that is weighing you down is the very thing that will push you to where you need to go. Your trial is pushing you. Let it. Don’t sit down in despair.

Two final thoughts that came to me this week as I have been studying the New Testament and pondering this question.

First, although Jesus healed everyone that came to Him, their journeys were all different. The woman with an issue of blood suffered for 12 years. The man born blind dealt with his impairment his whole life. Lazarus died before his healing came. We do not know when we are going to have our healing encounter with the Lord—our moment to touch His hem or to be touched by Him. But when we do have that encounter, it will be ever as precious and life altering.

The last lesson I want to share comes from Matthew 8, and the story of the man with palsy. The man with palsy was so sick that he couldn’t even walk—his friends carried him on a cot to see Jesus. When Jesus saw the man, what was his first order of business? You would think given the nature of the visit Christ would want to physically heal the man before anything else. That is not what happend. Jesus said, “thy sins be forgiven thee.” The scribes and pharisees were surprised too. But from this we learn the real priorities of Jesus. Spiritual healing is much more important to him—and to us—than physical healing. And Christ has the power to heal your soul sickness whether it’s emotional pain, sin, or heartache.

I want you to know that your healing can come today. He waits for you to reach out to Him.

“This very day—every day—He reaches out to you, desiring to heal you, to lift you up, and to replace the emptiness in your heart with an abiding joy. He desires to sweep away any darkness that clouds your life and fill it with the sacred and brilliant light of His unending glory.” Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Believe, Love, Do.” Oct., 2018

After the man with palsy was healed spiritually, Christ healed him physically. Real, physical miracles like that do happen today. Don’t stop believing in them. When Jesus asked the man, “wilt thou be made whole,” he was asking us too. Miracles do happen everyday! I have witnessed my own physical healings and have seen others experience healing as well.

Sometimes we have to wait 12 years or our whole lives for physical healing. But you can take hope in the fact that the kind of healing that matters most—spiritual healing—is available today. You don’t have to wait to seek your healing moment with the Lord and you can look forward with complete faith that your physical healing will come someday too. He truly heals ALL. He has overcome sickness, infirmities, pain, and even death so that we can ALL receive healing, hope, and strength.

 
Jenae Nelson
Week 9: Judge Righteously
 

“By your fruits ye shall know them.” Matthew 7:20. Why would the Savior give us a way to judge people after He told the people “judge not.” The JST adds critical clarification, the Lord said, “judge not unrighteously, that ye be no judged; but judge righteous judgement.” However, the Lord is explaining that there is a time to judge and a time to withhold judgement. How do we know when we should judge? Jesus taught us when to judge and how to judge based on certain situations.

There are times when we have to make judgements. We make thousands of judgements each day. We choose how to spend our time, who to spend it with, and which belief system to follow. One of the situations Jesus teaches us that we must judge righteously is when we are choosing who to follow. It is important to judge righteously so that you are not deceived. There are many voices you can choose to listen to, and choosing wisely who you will follow is one of the most important decisions you will make. 

Christ said, “beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” Matthew 7:15. Wolves don’t look like wolves, they look like innocent harmless sheep; otherwise it would be easy to judge and easy to trust them. Instead, it’s important to judge them by their fruits or the results of their actions. If someone makes you feel uncomfortable, don’t feel bad for listening to your gut. When choosing who to follow, that is the time to pay close attention to how they make you feel or what kind of person they are. 

However, when judging those closest to us, Jesus gave us different counsel. In this case we are told to withhold judgement until we have first dealt with our own issues. He told us to first remove the beam that is in our own eye before we point out the mote in our brother’s. “Set your house in order before you criticize the world” as Jacob Peterson puts it. Before you judge others take a deep look inside yourself. Instead of trying to change those around you (your husband, your boss, your mom) try changing yourself first. And when you do have to make judgements of those closest to you, make them with kindness. 

In psychology we use the term, “charitable interpretations” to describe judging righteously. It means that when you have a decision to make about an interaction with someone use charity to guide your interpretations. Memory researchers have discovered that our memories are not perfect recordings of events, but interpretations of events. And each time you remember something, you remember it differently. In other words, you create your memories. That should be a powerful truth to you. 

When you remember an awkward or painful experience you are remembering your version of it. Maybe the interaction wasn’t exactly how you remember it. Maybe the person who said something rude to you in the grocery store didn’t mean to be rude at all. You get to choose how you interpret the encounters in your life, and when you do, try using charitable interpretation. Give people the benefit of doubt. Assume the best instead of the worst. Unless of course you are making the decision to follow that person or give them money, etc then you will want to be discerning and less lenient in your judgements. But in day to day interactions judge with grace or withhold judgement altogether. For with that same judgement, you will be judged.

 
Jenae Nelson
Week 9: Invest in eternity
 

Throughout His mortal ministry, Jesus taught his disciples a new, higher way to live. I don’t think it was unintentional that Jesus “seeing the multitude went up into the mountain”—as they ascended physically he prepared them for a spiritual ascent as well.

In the second half of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught his followers that the heart and intent behind religious observance mattered more than mere obedience. Like Cane who’s sacrifice to the Lord was unacceptable, those who focus only on immediate rewards and their personal glory instead of eternal rewards and God’s glory will find that “they have their reward.”

The word “reward” is used 7 times in Matthew 6, causing us to reflect on the consequences of our actions and the WHY of our service and obedience. Reward is used in the New Testament as another word for payment and can be either good or bad (see Matthew 16: 27). From fasting to prayers, Jesus teaches us that even in our spiritual strivings we can advance our selfish motives for lateral praise and immediate payment or we can transcend our selfish motives and serve out of praise for Heavenly Father with our eyes focused on his glory (Matthew 6: 22).

Elder Renlund said, “Our Heavenly Father’s goal in parenting is not to have His children do what is right; it is to have His children choose to do what is right and ultimately become like Him. If He simply wanted us to be obedient, He would use immediate rewards and punishments to influence our behaviors.” But the truth is in the premortal life, Satan’s plan was to take away that choice and force everyone to be obedient so that everyone would be saved. It almost sounds like a good plan.

But choice was infinitely valuable to our Heavenly Father because with our choices, we show what is in our hearts. And with choice, we can improve what is in our hearts. So Jesus taught us to use our choice to “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” because “where your treasure is there will your heart be also.” This is a call for us to invest in the right things—to invest in God’s glory, not our own.

 
Jenae Nelson