Learning How to Die
I’ve been reading about the trinity and the Holy Spirt lately.
The Holy Spirit can be experienced as the vague unknown person of the trinity. In my church background, there wasn’t a lot of talk about the Holy Spirit. As a child, I heard and acknowledged the God-in-three-persons theology of the trinity, but the person of the Holy Spirit was the least emphasized.
It wasn’t until I was faced with greater health complications as an adult that I saw the importance of truly seeking to know the Holy Spirit and clarifying what I believe about the the work and personhood of the Holy Spirit.
Two and a half years ago, I started having chronic pain in my jaw. It came on fairly suddenly, and I felt alone and without direction for seeking help. Right around the same time, I started seeking more Christian community and built relationships with new Christian friends.
Some of the gatherings with fellow believers were encouraging, but they were also confusing and complicated because of the jaw pain I was experiencing. Everyone reacted differently to my pain. Many people wanted to pray over for me for healing, some people debated on the theology of healing, and I met a woman who thought she could heal me because she believed she’d been gifted to do so.
And throughout it all, I wanted to be healed so desperately. All the prayers spoken over me meant a lot to me, but I didn’t start to experience any healing until months later. Even now, the healing process has seemed slow and unpredictable.
I believe that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit can heal any disease or ailment. I believe it’s important not to discount other people’s experiences, but I also think it is important not to assume your experiences are what others should be experiencing.
There have been times where I’ve communicated my pain and people have assumed that God’s will is to heal me quickly. It’s easy to assume that God’s will is always for healing, but we are only promised full healing in our resurrected bodies.
Jon Foreman has a song called “Learning How to Die.” In it, he writes:
“Friend, all along
Thought I was learning how to take
How to bend not how to break
How to live not how to cry, but really
I’ve been learning how to die
I’ve been learning how to die”
All our bodies are dying. We all face pain and aches and disease, and God allows it. He allows death, pain, and brokenness in this life. Living for Christ doesn’t mean removal of our pain and brokenness. It means learning how to die to our sinful nature, but it also means learning how to die well in this life before we can live forever.
The greatest gift a friend can offer to a friend that is dealing with physical pain is the gift of humility.