Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Who Can Heal You?

Over the centuries human beings have attributed the power to heal to a variety of sources -- physicians, medicine men or women, psychic healers, priests, deities, energy workers... the list goes on.  Seldom, however, have we granted this same ability to ourselves.  As I suggested in my last post, The Power of the Placebo, there is a truly remarkable phenomenon that has been taking place throughout recorded history that has had little attention paid to it by modern science.  Regardless of the reason why, I want to begin a conversation about a very real power within us -- the power to bring about our own healing and to facilitate and support the healing of others.

Before diving further into this topic, I want to make it clear that I'm not one who believes we should abandon Western medicine or shun the help and viable avenues available through a myriad of healing technologies and practices.  I do, however, strongly feel that many of us have placed ourselves at the back of the line in terms of "who has the power to heal?"

In a previous blog post, Let the Healing Begin, I shared that, due to a rather unusual childhood, I was under the impression that what we called "natural healing" was something everyone engaged in.  It's probably no coincidence either, given my upbringing, that from a very early age I became fascinated with Jesus.  There was something about his healing work that always struck me. He's recorded as having said, on more than one occasion, "Your faith has made you whole" (or, as some interpretations say, "made you well"). 

I remember asking my grandmother about how one's faith could make a person whole.  "Faith is a powerful thing," she told me.   "It's more than just belief.  It's a knowing that comes from deep inside a person and when you know something that deeply, the whole Universe lines up to support you."

While I saw and participated in the healing of people, animals, and plants as a child, it wasn't until I arrived in South America, "on a mission from God," as the Blues Brothers put it, that I really understood just how deep and powerful faith could be.  There, in some of the poorest places on the planet, I encountered people who were so in touch with the world of spirit and healing that it was totally "natural" for one to call upon God, spiritual forces, and people to heal them or their loved ones.

One such instance that left me nearly speechless occurred when I'd only been in Brazil for a few months.  Since I was recognized as a minister (and people weren't really so interested in denominations, but merely that you were a man or woman of God), people would stop me places and ask for me to pray for them or sometimes to lay hands on them for healing. 

On one particular morning, an older, nearly blind woman who I often stopped to talk to as I walked from my apartment to the church where I worked, was anxiously waiting as I approached. I could see she was upset about something.

"My doctor tells me that I will soon be completely blind," she said.  "He says that he might be able to fix me, but he'll have to operate and cut into my eyes."  Tears began to flow down her cheeks.  "I don't want this surgery," she cried softly.  "It scares me to think of having such a thing done to me."

I held her hand and told her how sorry I was.  I quickly found, however, that she wasn't asking for my sympathy. She was asking for something much more daunting than that.

"I want you to heal me," she said with deep conviction.  "You are a man of God, are you not?"

I was stunned by her request and struggled to answer her question.  "Yes I am," I said without the depth of conviction I'd hoped to find.

"Then we will do this," she smiled as she reached up to pat my face.  "I will pray and fast all day today," the sweet woman told me. "And then tomorrow you come by my place and call on God to give me back my sight. " 

What could I say?  Her faith was so profound, yet so simple... so childlike.  I simply said, "All right, I'll see you tomorrow."

Throughout that day and late into the night, I fretted.  What had I done?  How could I have simply just said, okay?  While her faith may have been grand, mine had nearly disappeared. All of the miracles I'd seen as a young boy suddenly seemed "bush-league" by comparison to this devout woman's request.

The following morning I arose, dressed, and -- with a church colleague in tow for moral support and extra faith -- made my way to the elderly woman's apartment.  I knocked lightly and heard her shuffle her way to the door.  

As she pulled the door open, her smile was illuminating.  "You have come!" she exclaimed joyfully.  "God has answered my prayers."  Without further ceremony she ushered us into her modest abode and said, "I'm ready.  You can heal me now."

My colleague and I performed the healing ceremony as we'd been taught and when we finished, she hugged us.  "It is done," she said.  "Now we just wait for God to do the rest."

After another day and night fraught with concern, I hesitantly made my way down the street from my apartment the next morning.  To be honest, I have to admit that I actually considered taking an alternative route so that I wouldn't have to pass my sweet friend's apartment.  But, gratefully I found the courage to take my normal route.  

Upon rounding the street corner just up the lane from the faithful woman's place, I could see her standing in front of her door.  What was astounding was that she spotted me too. "Oh Father," she cried out to me, using the title she'd been raised to use with the local priest. "I can see! I can see!"

Stunned, I stopped in tracks as she made a dash for me with arms open wide.  The thick lensed glasses she normally wore were gone and tears streamed down her cheeks as she approached. Overcome with emotion and deep relief, I began to cry too.  "Oh, my God!" I stammered through my tears.  "You can see!"

"Yes!" she shouted in elation. "It happened just after you left and the doctor cannot believe it.  I went to him so he could know that there are other ways to cure people.  He had no words," she laughed.  "No words at all.  He just stared at me and then wanted know who'd done this thing.  I told him, it was God," the woman bragged happily.

I couldn't help draw upon the words I'd read as a young boy, uttered by one who drew many to him because of his healing presence.  "Your faith has made you whole," I told her. 

"And you were an answer to my prayers," she said.  "An instrument in God's hands."

"But I didn't have faith," I confessed, suddenly embarrassed in front of this saint of a woman.

"You came, though, didn't you?" she asked me, smiling wryly.  "Perhaps your faith wavered, but you came anyway."  She took my hands in hers and looked up at me. "That too showed great faith or great love for this old sister of yours," she chuckled. "It all comes from the same place."

This was to be the first of many such amazing moments, I would experience in my time in South America. Yet this first experience is the moment of faith that my heart cherishes most, because on that day, in a little town far away from my home, I learned at a level deeper than ever before that we are all connected by a great healing force.   It is the force that gives us life and that can, when our faith and divine timing line up, bring about what we call "miracles."

In my experience over the years working with animals (including wolves), I've found that their lack of resistance to the healing energy we can engender is its own kind of faith.  The following video provides an interesting example of what may be one animal's deeper, more intuitive understanding of this invisible power.

So my friends, who can heal you? I'd love to hear your thoughts and stories about healing and how it has taken place for you or others you know.

Peace, Love, and Good Health to you,

Chris Harding
Chief Community Officer
Our Health Co-op, Inc.


  1. Chris, your story is powerful and absolutely beautiful. Your sentiments are my sentiments exactly. Through our spiritual connection, we are very, very powerful, and, of course, this is what Jesus taught. It is what most religions fail to get or fall short of understanding. Our healing profession (read our medical profession) and our country in general needs much more spirit along with our great science.

  2. Thank you. The idea of combining more spirit along with great science is a wonderful vision, indeed. I look forward to seeing the marvelous discoveries that will come in the process.

  3. I'm typing through tears as I was touched remembering one of the many healing stories in the bible where a man asking Jesus to heal a loved one for him told Jesus that he did believe but needed the Lord's help with his unbelief. How kind and gentle the Lord was with this man and with you!
    I've been praying for the healing of my son's terrible stammer. A new doctor promises that very strong drugs will give him relief, drugs that he'll have to take all his life. NOT WHAT
    I WANT FOR HIM! As a Christian I know that God has incomparably great power for those who believe (Eph. 1:19) And...get this!
    In the book of Isaiah the text actually says that God can "restore fluency to the stammering tongue"! I've been feeling led to lay my own loving hands on be a conduit for God's healing power to flow. But I feel uneasy like you did with the old woman! You and this woman reminded me that it's not about's about God! Thank you both! Blessings....

  4. My heart goes out to you and your son and I'll be praying for both of you. Many blessings to you, as well.


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