I recently recalled a moment when an old church member of mine, a beautiful Christian friend suggested that those suffering from anxiety, depression, and other trauma should seek prayer and study alone and not counseling. As if the two didn’t belong together. I heard that quite often. In fact, my whole life I was told that everyone experiences trauma and that if you pray hard enough God would heal you and you didn’t need to seek help for your pain. God would be enough for you. But I believe the miracle of healing is not just for the one suffering. Our Jesus is invested in the healing, not just the curing.
“Cast all your anxieties on Him, for He cares for you..” 1 Peter 5:7. This verse may lead us to believe that God alone and not God through people can heal. I am not negating the relationship that must exist between each individual and the Savior. But I cannot say of how many times God, after I spoke about my cares, led me to someone who could relate to me and help me. I then realized that we all need healing, and the patience that someone had with my weakness, only reveals a small fragment of the community that God provided through His son, Jesus.
One who experienced this phenomenon as I have is Ananias.
The story of Saul becoming Paul on the road to Damascus-eager to bring the Christians back to Jerusalem in chains, who meets His Savior on the road has captivated us all. But few who hear that story take the time to imagine the shock of realizing your life’s goal was destroying the very faith you thought you believed in. The consequences of your actions that have brought immeasurable suffering to countless people you should have stood by. Not only did the weight of his choices come crashing down on him but the blinding light of Jesus’ glory physically blinded him. It compounded his trauma.
Enter Ananias. It’s easier to focus on the physical healing of Paul. But what did it mean for Paul’s emotional and psychological state to meet with the man Ananias? To have one of his enemies place his hands on him, call him brother, feed him, baptize him and pray that the Holy Spirit would fill him. I believe that Paul wasn’t the only one made whole that day. Ananias must have learned through this that taking care of others in their fragility is following God. And that to provide emotional, spiritual, and physical healing was acting as a conduit of God’s love and power. Jesus didn’t need to use Ananias to heal Paul. He could have done everything Himself. But He didn’t. He made space for us to work with Him, in turn drawing us closer to Him.
April is an Assistant Chaplain in Texas.