What is the Death Positive Movement? How will a Christian Death Doula training program use the platform to proclaim the gospel message and serve Christian communities with end-of-life care?
In America, there is an emerging movement called Death Positive. This movement first began in 2011 through The Order of the Good Death, a feminist society founded by mortician Caitlin Doughty. The Order’s website (https://www.orderofthegooddeath.com) succinctly defines what it means to be death positive: “People who are death positive believe that it is not morbid or taboo to speak openly about death. They see honest conversations about death & dying as the cornerstone of a healthy society.” The tenets of the movement also include measures of sustainability and equity. To be sure, to be death positive does not mean we must positively accept death. Rather, it aims to form a culture that provides society with the means to experience death with the necessary resources for care and grief support. Such an initiative requires that “we push back and engage with the systems and conditions that lead to ‘unacceptable’ deaths resulting from violence, a lack of access to care, etc.” (12/14/22, https://www.orderofthegooddeath.com/death-positive-movement).
It is important to separate the potential for the movement from the conception of Doughty’s Death Positive ideology. According to her, this idea of death positivity was forged from her interest in sex positivity, which is a fascination with human sexuality and the personal relationship to sex. In 2013, Doughty tweeted, “Why are there a zillion websites and references to being sex positive and nothing to being death positive?” Doughty notes, “In the years since, death positive has become an international Movement that includes everyone from high level practitioners to members of the public” (12/14/22, https://www.orderofthegooddeath.com/death-positive-movement). Two examples of these community efforts are Death over Dinner and Death Cafes, which are organized gatherings where people come together to eat and share creative conversations regarding mortality. The conversation has sparked new ideas for body disposition. Traditional burial and cremation options are expanding to environmentally sustainable options such as green or natural burials, mushroom suits, and water cremation. Beneath these methods is the desire for a virtuous death. It is a giving back to nature to "be of use” as a personal act of salvation. According to Dr. Hannah Rumble, “Natural burial presents an opportunity for gift-giving and salvation in the context of death” (12/14/22, https://drhannahrumble.com/academic-research/). The movement has also produced the role of the Death Doula, a professional non-medical end-of-life care advocate for individuals and families.
The appeal of a Death Doula is to help individuals and their families and communities create a personalized ritual for the death bed and a ceremony following death. Personal choice is the capstone of the Postmodern death. The modern death was already moving in a more individualized direction with the Funeral Director replacing the traditional role of the Clergy, but the role of the funeral home as a one-stop-shop for every detail of the American funeral is now finding itself more of a helpful resource for navigating the bureaucratic process surrounding death as people look to retrieve more authentic and personalized rituals. Authority in death has progressively moved from the Clergy to the Funeral Director to the individual. The Rev. Thomas G. Long suggests the emphasis on personalization appears like a healthy trend, but in reality, such an emphasis on the life of the deceased “may, in fact, be a desperate attempt to fill the aching void left by the collapse of a creed we once believed” (Thomas G. Long, “The American Funeral Today: Trends and Issues,” Director 69, no. 10 (October 1997: 10 -16. Quoted in Kathleen Garces-Foley and Justin Holcomb, “Contemporary American Funerals,” in Death and Religion in a Changing World, ed. Kathleen Garces Foley (Armonk: M.E. Sharpe, Inc., 2006), 224.). As a Death Doula who is immersed in the Death Positive movement by default, I have a legitimate concern. Doulas are trained to be the ones accelerating this shift.
Death Doulas are also trained to assist individuals and families with future preparations including advance directives, and financial and legal planning. Implementing these plans before a person gets a terminal diagnosis is imperative. Not only can it provide peace of mind, but it is a way to take care of the future generations of a family. If death arrives and no preparations have been made, the survivors of a dying person experience higher levels of trauma and grief. All of these tasks are much more palatable if undertaken prior to sickness or old age. While the ethos of today’s wellness initiative surrounding death is noble and practical, the secular rejection of God as the sovereign Being over humankind and death has created an aching void, which is lucidly pronounced not only in the denial of death but also in the efforts being made to reconnect to it.
This secular movement aims to redefine death and promotes spiritual teachings and the worship of death apart from God. There are significant differentiating factors between a Christian Death Doula and a non-Christian one. Christians believe God has come to us in Jesus Christ to rescue us from sin and death, and it is imperative that a Death Doula training program provides the essential theological training to support individuals, families, and communities in the face of death. Ultimately, death cannot be redefined outside of what is written in the Scriptures. The secular encouragement to embrace death as “natural” is not the Biblical view of death. I put quotes on the word natural because this is accurate from a medical standpoint of human mortality — all human beings will experience aging and death — but from a Biblical standpoint, death is not natural; it is a condition related to Original Sin. Sin and death entered the world through Adam and Eve’s disobedience to God.
When I trained as a Doula, the program consisted of a New Age spiritualization of death: when death grows near, the physical body decreases, and the spiritual body increases. As this change in energy occurs, the dying understand things differently; they see and feel connected to another realm with others where there is no judgment, and the experiences of the world make sense. This idea of “gnosis” is undoubtedly contradictory to the teachings of Christianity. In his work titled Against Heresies, the second-century Church Father, Irenaeus of Lyon, battled against the Gnostic subversion of the Christian gospel. Irenaeus is considered to be the first systematic theologian for the Church, and his theology is themed on Christ, the new head of the human race, who recapitulates all of human history through his incarnation, death, and resurrection. Christ existed from eternity, and therefore, Adam was created “in the image” of Christ, who is “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation” (Col 1:15). As only a “type,” the original formation of Adam is brought to completion in Christ, which is the life he is to grow into “by learning through experience” (John Behr, “Irenaeus of Lyons,” In Christian Theologies of Salvation, ed. Justin Holcomb (New York: New York University Press, 2017), 43-44.). It is only by following Christ unto death that we fully recover the likeness of God and are truly made human.
Irenaeus recovers the meaning of death in an era that has forgotten the meaning of salvation. I believe this budding movement is the platform for reviving Irenaeus’ recapitulation model in ministering to the dying and in a contemporary charismatic healing ministry for the Church and the world. Irenaeus’ recapitulation theology is ready for the secular movement, Death Positive. Emphasizing the cross as the transformational experience of death and resurrection in the Christian life must be the future work of the Church and her theologians as death, the shared experience of every person, comes back into focus and conversation. It is the theological foundation for a Christian healing ministry where a personal encounter with the Spirit of God through the action of the cross causes life-altering effects. Spiritual healing ministries abound in this age, but there is a need for a ministry that brings together the Sovereignty of God, the Passion of Jesus Christ, and the renewing work of the Holy Spirit. Here faith is deepened in the Kingdom message proclaimed by Christ: God has come to make you new (Rev. 21:5).
“The purpose of the cross is not to pay a debt which man owes for not making it to heaven, not to assist man in his aspirations toward some kind of religious perfectionism. The purpose of the cross is to create that faith which man has lost, that faith which enables him to live once again as a creature on this earth.” ~Gerhard Forde, Where God Meets Man
If I wish to stay healthy, a moderate routine of exercise and healthy eating will help me accomplish this goal. If I wish to live in my own home and fulfill my vocation as an attentive wife and mother then I must take care of myself and my home, watch my children, and love my husband. Merit-based rewards also follow the law-equals-results kind of thinking. If I work hard, I will be rewarded with a higher salary; if I study and train diligently, I will be recognized as an esteemed student-athlete. This is how our world works, and when we set goals, we benefit from this system of rewards in a lot of ways.
Most likely, we attempt to play along this same law(goals)-equals-results system in our relationship with God. If I do this right, God will bless me. In reality, we all have stories of failure. We actually have more than we care to admit. Still, there are times when we have seemingly done something right, but the bottom still fell out and we found ourselves in disadvantaged circumstances. God’s faithfulness is not contingent upon our efforts or what we achieve.
The truth of that statement hurts as much as it brings relief and hope. Our human nature is wired for success through the merit of our efforts. Such independence is the trademark of the Fall, when Adam and Eve took it upon themselves to be like God, to know good and evil (Genesis 3:5). Christians believe Christ is the fulfillment of the law and the new self or new creation in Christ, which lives by faith, already has merit by way of Christ’s sacrifice. This merit is true merit although the lives of Christians may not display it in every action.
Martin Luther, the Protestant Reformer, brought this truth to light when he criticized the Catholic Church’s stance on salvation -- the authority of the Church does not undermine the authority of Scripture. Luther’s reformational recovery of St. Paul’s doctrine on justification — Christ’s atoning death justifies by grace through faith — is an essential element of The Death and Resurrection Doula theology for this training program. Prior to the Reformation, in the second century, Irenaeus of Lyons crafted his theology around the theme of recapitulation, which means that in becoming a human being Jesus Christ is the recapitulation of all of human history in an effort to safeguard the Church from her Gnostic opponents. Luther’s theology of the cross — the theology of the God who meets us in suffering — and Irenaeus’ recapitulation theology together enable us to see our stories in light of the fact that we are yet to be made complete. Our existence on earth, from birth to death is the experience of salvation. Entering into our stories to see salvation at work can change the experience of dying for individuals, families, and communities. We can face death knowing it ultimately holds no power over us because we have the promise of resurrection. God’s death changes death. In Jesus Christ, God has gone before us and entered into death to save us from it.
Where are we in terms of talking about death in our Christian communities? Are equipped for these conversations?
The dangerous phenomenon of nihilism taking place in postmodernism is evident in the way we no longer see or talk about death. It is time for a large-scale recovery of the conversation, and this task needs to be taken up by Christians. Death Positive is a growing secular movement aimed at redefining death and it has already started the conversation. While the movement displays noble and practical goals, it is empty of any acknowledgment that God is the One who is completely sovereign over death. There is a direct correlation between seeing death and the stability of our faith. If death is a reality we choose to deny, then our faith in healing will be at risk. When the ability to see death is taken away, in the context of the great commission Jesus gave to his followers, we should ask, "With our faith, how were we not able to raise the dead?” (Matthew 10:7-8).
It is critical for the Church and the world that contemporary ministries of healing speak about death. Christ’s healing ministry, which we witness through the Scriptures, is eschatological, and it cannot be separated from God’s mercy and forgiveness of sin. The in-breaking of God’s Kingdom on earth has already begun, and we are to be expectant of this reality permeating our experiences now. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God’s eschatological plan for creation provides a future beyond death.
Today’s theological treatises must take into account the present reality of Identity Politics, which I believe, is a detriment to the Church. Many Christian teachings are being confiscated by inaccurate theology in attempts to assuage the truth about the fallenness of humankind. The emergence of victim identities as a means of outsourcing the sin of the human race to other groups based on their identity curtails the Church’s mission of spreading the good news of the Gospel. All persons find their hope in Christ alone. Politics cannot replace God’s coming justice. The emerging theological discourses based on identity politics are found in Contextual Theologies of Liberation. These theologies give rise to voices that are considered to be marginalized in the Church such as women, people of color, gays, transgender individuals, and so on. Finding hope in the Christian message is imperative for marginalized groups and individuals, and it should be celebrated that the gospel is reaching into the deepest wounds of every community in the world. Within these emerging theologies, something to watch and discuss is the removal of Jesus Christ as the TRUE Scapegoat who bears the sins of the world. Critical Theory lies behind these theologies, and they are quickly taking a prominent position within the field of eschatology.
The eschatological commitment of Contextual Theologies of Liberation is also concerned with the present relief of God’s in-breaking Kingdom of Heaven. I believe it is important to make an effort to discuss how my theology is similar in this important matter. Along with these theologies, I promote an eschatological “Now” theme as the underlying emphasis behind healing and relief. Eschatology “Now” opposes a disembodied future tense of relief only in the heavenly realms. Liberation Theologies heavily critique the Reformation’s prevailing emphasis on the effects of grace in the lives of sinners. I refute this critique because God’s creative love is for both the oppressors and the oppressed.
I recently spent two years in seminary where I learned there is considerable pressure to succumb to Identity Politics emerging within theology. I will analyze these theologies and share two stories of experience at the deathbed of a poor Black woman and a gay man with HIV-related cancer. In seminary, I was publicly called out twice for my orthodox views suggesting I was racist and homophobic. I made a formal complaint to the seminary but never received an apology from either student. Still, I did not fold to the theological pressures placed on me by the faculty and students, and I am quite sure that I was the only student in the school cleaning out buckets of vomit, rubbing feet, praying, anointing, and facing the fear of death with a dying person after-hours. True work in the gospel is not academic — it is hands-on. This is what it means to serve as a member of the body of Christ.
A second-century Church Father, Irenaeus of Lyons, believed,
“For in no other way could we have learned the things of God, unless our Master, existing as the Word, had become man…we could have learned in no other way than by seeing our Teacher, and hearing His voice with our own ears” (Against Heresies Bk 5:1.1).
In Jesus Christ, God fully lives in the experience of our human nature. He prays in such agony over His death that His sweat turns to blood (Luke 22:44). Death is real, even for God. God can do whatever He pleases, and God chose to plunge into the misery of death and demonstrate dying in front of the world, nailed to a cross. When speaking of the sinner's surrender of his life to God, the Rev. Sam Shoemaker, a spiritual advisor to Alcoholics Anonymous, wrote this: “We felt we had come somewhere within hearing distance of His [Jesus Christ’s] tremendous surrender ‘Let this cup pass…nevertheless, not my will, but Thine be done.’”
"In the latter part of the last century, there has been much discussion of our ‘denial of death.’ But it would seem to me that the problem is deeper and more difficult. If it is true that Christ shows us what it is to be God in the way that he dies as a human being, then, quite simply, if we no longer ‘see’ death, we no longer see the face of God" (The Very Rev. Dr. John Behr).
There is a direct correlation between talking about death and the stability of our faith. If death is a reality we wish to deny, then our faith in healing will be at risk. If the ability to see death is taken away, in the context of faith-healing, we might ask, with our faith how were we not able to raise the dead?
Death Positive is a philosophical and social movement gaining momentum through community efforts of bringing death back into our conversations. It is a culture shift ushering in a positive mindset around death as part of living well. The goal of the movement is to redefine death. I believe this budding movement is the platform for reviving the work of 2nd Century Church Father, Irenaeus of Lyons. His theology of recapitulation is predicated on Christ as the New Adam. This model is essential in ministering to the dying and in reviving contemporary charismatic healing ministry for the Church and the world.
“If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matt. 16:24-25).
In his book, The Red Badge of Courage, Stephen Crane illustrates the reality of our human nature by telling the story of Henry Fleming, a young Civil War soldier who enlists in the Union army in hopes of fulfilling his dream for glory. A long time goes by before Henry's regiment is called forward into battle, and the fear of dying begins to set in his mind. Henry wonders if he is courageous enough for battle. Then, upon seeing the enemy for the first time, Henry’s courage fails, and he flees the battlefield. To die is inconceivable. It is something humans constantly work against and pray to avoid. The hardest part of dying is not knowing what new life will bring. How could one know? New life is something that has never been before.
Sufficient Grace: Suffering is Hope
“O Love That Will Not Let Me Go”
George Matheson, 1842-1906
O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.
George Matheson wrote this hymn on the night of his sister’s wedding, when he was 40 years old. Matheson was flooded with the painful memory of the woman he loved, and who did not marry him because he was losing his eyesight. Through deep and personal suffering, George came to know and trust in the love of God made known in Jesus Christ.
In the Scriptures, the Apostle Paul, who calls himself the chief of sinners, tells us God’s answer to his plea for God to remove a thorn in his flesh. “My grace is sufficient for you for power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12: 7-10). The Apostle makes it known that this thorn is given to him. In ancient literature, a piercing of the flesh by a thorn or an arrow signified love’s invasion of the body; it was a common theme in love poetry. The love of God is found in suffering.
O light that followest all my way,
I yield my flickering torch to thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.
In the deepest moments of our pain, God does not seem to be a particularly sentimental God. The heart of God and God’s willingness to share in the sufferings of the world God loves come to articulation in Jesus Christ's death upon the cross. To bear a cross is to bear the suffering that brings the crown of glory. The 16th century Reformer, Martin Luther, wrote: "The love of God does not find but creates that which is pleasing to it." He believed that and creates from the nothing he has reduced us to through suffering. God must rid us of the old so that the new life may begin. In a conversation with an esteemed Jewish leader, Nicodemus, Jesus says that unless a man is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God (John 3:3).
Contrary to what we might want to believe, we are attached to our sin, and the cross is an intervention -- it creates a real low point where false optimism and positive thinking cannot move our mountains. But, it is also where in faith, we recognize that God is gracious. In our deepest sorrows and our deepest wounds, we can be assured that God has shared in our suffering in the life and crucifixion of Christ. Jesus was crucified at the hands of the human race, but he makes it known that he laid his life down on his own accord; it was not taken from him. “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). God’s grace is sufficient for you. God will have his way and this is good news because your life is held in the hands of a Creator who creates from nothing. God's saving work seems strange, but we must first die so that we may live.
O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.
In an exchange between Jesus and his disciple Peter, Jesus asks who people say that He is: "John the Baptist, Elijah, one of the prophets.” Jesus asks: “Who do you say that I am?” and Peter answers, “ You are the Messiah.” After sternly ordering the disciples not to tell anyone about Him, Jesus openly foretells His death and resurrection. Peter pulls Jesus aside and rebukes him. Jesus, in turn, rebukes Peter with the words, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things, but on human things.” He called the crowd with his disciples and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow me” (Mark 8:29-38). We will lose our lives on account of our salvation; we will die so we can live. We will follow after Christ in the way of the cross. In this passive experience of suffering, we come to know Christ as the Messiah, and we come to know that God is the ultimate answer to it all.
O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.
We would never construct a religion patterned after the cross. As we experience our own sinfulness before the holy God who declares, “I am the Lord your God,” we may want to run away from God. But, in this declaration, God promises to be our God! God will not leave us nor let sin and death have the final say over our lives. As we come to know Jesus, we come to know God, disguised in human flesh and humility. God calls us in grace to experience God where he bled and died on the cross. God calls us to know the passion of the God who saves sinners.
“Grace cannot prevail…until our lifelong certainty that someone is keeping score has
run out of steam and collapsed.” Robert Farrar Capon (1925-2013)
I first read this quote in one of my favorite books, The Christian Life: Cross or Glory by Steven A. Hein. This quote catches me by surprise every time I read it. For by nature we are theologians of glory and daily my thoughts of God pursue him as the One who will fulfill my will according to my prayers. But in all reality, again and again, I will be brought to the depths of pain and sorrow as God thwarts my will in order to make room for His own. It is a holy anguish.
Hein makes no soft talk page after page he discusses the theology of a God whose will it is to bring us to absolutely nothing to prepare us for His grace. He says that “He never comes to sinners to inquire if anyone is interested in becoming a Christian.” (1) This is a God who hides himself in death on the cross instead of taking an alternate route (which He perfectly has the power to do). We will feel the reality of this terror as we lose the grip on ourselves that separates us from him. Our sin is our pleasure and the illusion of owning ourselves is a false pride that will fall hard as Christ takes on the work of the New Creation that we have been baptized into.
Martin Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation takes us through the meaning of his Theology of the Cross. Here we find the truth about our perceived good works. As good as we believe they are, we must be separated from them. For they are the source of a pride that fools us into believing they offer some merit for our own cause. It is a juxtaposition in that it is in our piety we say precisely that we do not believe!! We believe in the law more than we believe in Jesus Christ. Gerhard Forde says that good works are the “seat of sin.”(2) The cross reveals it is really our spiritual aspirations (disguised as good works) that we must hold as responsible for the seriousness of our sinful nature. How strange! But yet, how strange it is that God incarnate died at our hands to save us.
Capon’s quote above is an echo of Luther’s Heidelberg thesis 18: It is certain that man must despair of his own ability before he is prepare to receive the grace of Christ.(3)
Briefly, there are two types of despair to discuss: despair and ultimate despair.
Ultimate despair lies where we have not yet despaired of the self; it is to be caught up in a false regard for our works believing there is no hope beyond our own abilities.(4)
“Doing what is in one“ is the hallmark of a theology of glory, but with a theology of the cross, we come face to face with the utter depravity of our sinful nature that we will then judge ourselves by admitting we can claim absolutely nothing in the way of good works. Then comes the cry for mercy. This alien work of God’s law and wrath catches us in the false pride of our works and turns us to Christ for salvation.(5)
So we must have grace. This humbling work is death to the old Adam but it is also where true hope lies. Where we see doubt and despair is exactly where God is saving us and making us into something totally new. The love of God does not find, but creates, what is pleasing to it.(6) The one humbles is pleasing to Him. Humility is the faith that saves and it is in this faith that we are lifted up by grace and made anew.
Grace is the beginning. This realization at first causes despair because we have to have it, but it prepares us to receive. There is no way we can save ourself. But the old Adam by nature will fight to his death to hold onto a least something he can offer. And he will die and be saved from the ultimate despair and he will be set free. And this is the beginning of the new.
(1) Steven A. Hein, The Christian Life: Cross or Glory, (Irvine: New Reformation Publications, 2015), 2.
(2) Gerhard O. Forde, On Being a Theologian of the Cross: Reflections on Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation, 1518, (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1997), 1.
(3) Forde, On Being a Theologian of the Cross, 65.
(4) Forde, On Being a Theologian of the Cross, 66-7.
(5) Forde, On Being a Theologian of the Cross, 61.
(6) Thesis 28 from Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation, 1518.
“O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go”*
O cross that liftest up my head
I dare not ask to fly from thee
I lay in dust life’s glory dead
and from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.
*George Matheson (1842-1906)
My Anorexic Nervosa was fully evident by the time I was 15. The worship of thinness and beauty in society presents an unrealistic ideal body image. I obsessively tried to maintain this through sports — mainly long-distance running. I have learned in my recovery that the real problem is much deeper than this, and I can recall this struggle beginning as early as 8 or 9 years old. By the age of 22, I was both Anorexia and Bulimic.
“Eating disorders are among the most difficult mental illnesses to treat. Anorexia in particular, has stymied many of psychiatry’s best treatment efforts. The illness has the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder, with patients dying from the medical complications of starvation or from suicide" (This quote is taken from a New York Times article on 3/15/16.)
I grew up in a Christian home. I was baptized as an infant and I grew up attending Sunday school and church. I read my Bible and tried my best to live like I was a Christian. I struggled deeply with uncertainty over sin, and I carried this grief long before I began to lose weight and show signs of an emerging illness. I understood right from wrong, and I felt tremendous guilt over anything I did that might not be right according to God’s law. I prayed for healing and I journaled with prayer requests and scriptures relevant to the beauty of God’s creation and his design for the female human being, but the disease continued to take control.
I had long been faithful in praying to be made well, and the healing experience healing was the valley of the shadow of death. Sorrow, sadness, and suffering were the merciless companions God used to strip me of the vanity I had created for myself in an attempt to secure my well-being apart from Him. To my surprise, God intervened in my life with His cross, and for a long time, I found it to be even more painful than the disease of eating disorders itself.
Having an addiction is no different than heading straight for the grave; it is this serious. My eating disorder was an impossible attempt to make myself righteous before God. This way of thinking only offers death; we must instead have Christ, who has taken the burden upon himself. Through faith, we are righteous because Christ's righteousness replaces what we could never offer. It is easy to see how sin leads to chaos and ultimately death, but we may be surprised to see how a preoccupation with our (good) works will also lead to death. We presume (good) works cannot lead to death, but the letter of the Law produces death because it is a rejection of Christ and God’s mercy. It leads to death because we can’t help but believe we might acquire salvation through our own efforts. Without Christ, both roads lead to death. Salvation comes through faith alone. The cross restores this faith. I write this on my healing experience:
The life I strived for lies at my feet. I have not been reconstructed as I had hoped, but the beams and timbers of my own self-sufficiency continue to smolder. Broken glass from the rose colored windows of self-help promises make it dangerous so I must be careful where I step. The cross on my back has emptied me of my pride and my strength. I feel the realness of my sin. I feel the purifying fires of tribulation and my salvation has become tangible to me as never before. Bravely, I call this healing because Christ is saving me from myself.
Before I began to heal from eating disorders, I had a misunderstanding of the Gospel. I believed in works over faith - the law as a code of conduct to be met by my own efforts. This manifested itself brilliantly in my battle with food. Anorexia is a disease of measurement and precision and Bulimia is a disease of shame. An emaciated and malnourished body is starving for the life and nourishment of the Gospel.
“Then he said to me, prophesy to these dry bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord’.” (Ezekiel 37:4)
Unbelief is the root of sinful behavior. Healing is not about being made better, but it is about being made new. We are either slaves to sin or slaves to righteousness. "For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin-- because anyone who has died has been set free from sin" (Romans 6:6,7). To speak of death for the sake of resurrection is to say that healing is the experience of the saving work of Christ where the sinful areas of our lives are brought to an end so that we may be raised up in a new life of faith which rests in the provision of God alone. “For the righteous shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17).
By way of holy anguish, God has separated me from this sinful ailment. Like a skilled surgeon, God has removed a terminal illness from my body, and now I remain under his cure. God’s plan for change within us goes to the heart of the matter. He deals first with the cause, not the symptoms. I have been given complete freedom from eating disorders. I can also attest to a complete physical restoration, including restored bone density, a common condition that accompanies the disease.
Embedded within my eating disorders were my own strict efforts of obedience that are nothing more than a dead end. We will never reach the obedience or righteousness demanded by the Law. Because Christ is the fulfillment of the Law, we are set free from the Law: “He was sent to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners” (Isaiah 61:1). When we live by faith, the Law can no longer work death within us. Make no mistake about it, healing comes with a huge cost. It comes with the cost of losing your old life in exchange for a new one.
We all go through tough times; it is inevitable; you, me, or nobody will hit as hard as life, but you should not worry about it because God is always there for you. It does not matter whether your problem is emotional, physical, mental, or spiritual, losing faith and feeling like you may not overcome the challenge is very tempting. But, you will pass every challenging situation. The almighty God does not throw anything in your way that you cannot handle. And when you forget this truth, then the Bible verses about healing will work as a sweet reminder that no matter what, the Lord is always there for you.
The verses from the Bible help you grow and tackle all the challenging situations in your life. God's mercies are new every day. Give yourself some time, pray in front of God and remember, regardless of what you are going through, better days do lie ahead.
Best bible prayers for healing!
"The Lord most high is the one who gives life to every heart, who gives life to the spirit! Look, He indeed exchanged my bitterness for wholeness; you have spared my whole being from the pit of destruction because you cast all my sins behind my back."
This prayer states that the Lord is above all of us, and He is the reason behind every life, and He is the one who casts all of our sins behind our back. No matter what, He will permanently save us from destruction.
1 Corinthians 10:13
"No temptation has seized you that is not common for people. But God is faithful. He won't allow you to be tempted beyond your abilities. Instead, with the temptation, God will also supply a way out so that you will be able to endure it."
You have to believe that God will never put an obstacle in your life that you can not overcome, believe that one day all dots will connect, and you will pass every challenging situation.
"So they cried out to the Lord in their distress, and God saved them from their desperate circumstances. God gave the order and healed them; He rescued them from their pit. Let them thank the Lord for His faithful love. and His wondrous works for all people."
The Lord is always watching us; no matter what, he is backing us from behind; all you have to do is pray, and he will be there for you.
"The Lord said, 'If you are careful to obey the Lord your God, do what God thinks is right, pay attention to his commandments, and keep all of his regulations, then I won't bring on you any of the diseases that I brought on the Egyptians. I am the Lord who heals you."
If you call for Him with all of your heart, He will always find a way to answer you and remove the obstacle from your path. All you have to do is believe because He always helps those who have faith.
James 5: 14-15
"If any of you are sick, they should call for the elders of the church, and the elders should pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. Prayer that comes from faith will heal the sick, for the Lord will restore them to health. And if they have sinned, they will be forgiven."
Even those who have sinned can pray in front of the Lord and ask for forgiveness. If you promise Him all of your heart, he will never leave you or forsake you!
"Peace, I leave with you. My peace I give you. I give to you not as the world gives. Don't be troubled or afraid."
According to the Bible, peace is more significant than any of your richness in life. If you genuinely believe in God and if you will walk on his path, he will guide you to the ultimate peace.
Going through tough times is inevitable; we all have to face problems in our life. But God and prayer for healing in the Bible will help us remove all the obstacles from our path. No matter what sins you have committed, ask for forgiveness, and the Lord will come for you.
The word "resurrection" describes that you are not alone; God is with us in every phase of our life. He's working to resolve our whole sense of abandonment and alienation. Jesus' resurrection is a declaration about the world that we cannot work our way to glory, but He has already accomplished the impossible for us.