Archived Story

Turning to Jesus helps when you feel powerless

Published 9:03am Friday, May 31, 2013

By the Rev. Katie Fick
Hayward and Trondhjem Lutheran churches

“Illness has hung over my house for the last week, and yet here I am, preparing for a Sunday that brings us one of the many stories of Jesus healing someone,” — Luke 7:1-10

Here Jesus goes to Capernaum, and some Jewish elders meet him. There is a Roman centurion, a gentile and military leader, who has a slave that he values who is ill and close to death. These Jewish men appeal to Jesus to come and heal the slave of this man, who has been kind to the Jewish people. Jesus agrees to go with them, but before he can get to the house, some friends of the centurion come to Jesus and tell him he needn’t bother: the centurion is used to people simply doing what he says, and trusts that Jesus simply has the power to say the slave is healed and he will be. Jesus commends the centurion’s faith and the man’s friends return and find the slave in good health.

Which is an interesting story, and all well and good. Yet I admit: I find healing to be a mystery.

Healing, be it emotional, physical or spiritual, seems to happen in its own time. Sometimes it makes sense: You get strep, you take antibiotics, you get better. Other times it is mysterious: people get sick and we don’t know why, people get better and we don’t know why. We pray for those who are sick, and some get better, and some don’t. We don’t always understand.

And, of course, eventually we all die. All those people Jesus healed in the Bible aren’t still up walking around somewhere. They have since died, and one day, we will join them. We can’t stop or control or understand that, sometimes, too. But we don’t have to.

I enjoy that the Roman centurion in Luke’s story, a man who is used to making things happen, having things done for him at his word, a man who is in control, has to admit that he doesn’t have control in this situation. His slave is sick, and might very well die, and there is nothing he can do, no one he can order to make it OK. He has to, for all his power, admit his own helplessness in the situation. And so he and his friends turn to Jesus.

In the end that is often what I do, too. There are many times when we are helpless, when we don’t understand, when there is nothing more we can do, other than turn to Jesus, to trust in the one who preached and healed and died and was raised from the dead. To turn to Jesus and say, “Lord, I do not understand, but I entrust my life to you.” To trust that God will take care of us in life and in death, in sickness and in healing. This is not blind faith, this is seeing that there is much in the world we cannot grasp, admitting our limitations as human beings and acknowledging finally that we rely on God because we cannot on ourselves. We live into the mystery, trusting in God’s love and mercy no matter what happens to us.