Proverbs 18:14 The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?
The Bourne Identity is one of my favourite movies. It has a small scene in which two CIA assassins discuss their work. They confide that their job had led them to experience phenomenal head-aches. The guilt and shame of what they were doing has taken its physical toll on them. In the movie, one of these assassins, Jason Bourne, can no longer violate his conscience by killing people. He hurts. But his intolerable pain has no relief with medication or even vengeance. Instead, he finds relief by repentance.
Prov. 14:30 A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.
Prov. 17:22 A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.
Scripture reveals that some pain originates in the soul but is felt in the body. There is no pill or injection that can relieve this kind of pain. This malady only responds to the forgiving, atoning, grace of God bought at the infinite price of Jesus Christ.
In the Godfather Trilogy, Michael Corleone is a deeply troubled man. He travels to Rome to do commercial business with the Vatican but has the course of his life dramatically altered when he encounters a born-again Cardinal who diagnoses his physical ailments as the symptoms of a sin-stained soul. The Cardinal pastors Corleone to confess his sin and seek the saving forgiveness of God. The whole movie trilogy is about this scene. The story to this point in the movie has been about gansters, crimes, murders, police and political corruption and family betrayal. Years earlier Michael Corleone had murdered his own brother for betrayal. Little wonder he is aged beyond his years and in constant pain! But in this moment of grace this hardened gang-land mobster breaks down and weeps over the condition of his soul. The Cardinal leads him to a forgiving Saviour. For the first time in his life, Michael Corleone finds relief from his pain.
Eph. 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
Should we preach that Christ can heal physically? Peter cites this Isaiah passage in a context that seems to be about spiritual healing rather than physical healing -
But he was wounded for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his stripes we are healed.
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
First Peter 2:24
While some believers debate whether physical healing is in the Atonement (Christ's Death) it at least is soul-healing (which may have a physical effect). The context of Isaiah 53 and where Peter cites it in First Peter 2:24 is surely about Christ dying to save sinners.
For many people their deathbed anguish is not merely physical or psychological.
As her palliative-care nurse, Jean Echlin, writes, “At the end of her life she shared with me her agony over her lost babies . . . she felt that she had committed murder.”
Caroline is not alone, as Echlin writes in Perspectives 2007, a publication of the De Veber Institute for Bioethics and Social Research. Echlin also tells the story of a woman named Lydia, who was dying of cancer. Even with the use of a pain pump, which gave her steady doses of morphine, Lydia's pain did not abate.
Caroline and Lydia are but two examples of what the Institute calls an "unexpected correlation" between abortion and pain-relief care. Dying women experience unresolved guilt and psychological pain related to their abortion—guilt and pain that stand in the way of a peaceful death. Their guilt is so great, Echlin says, that it impedes the effectiveness of their pain medication. Only when the abortion issue is resolved—when someone listens to them and assures them of God's forgiveness—is the pain medication made effective, and the women able to die peacefully.
Mark Earley, “An Unexpected Correlation”, Breakpoint, January 22nd 2008
It is not a light thing to be saved. It is profoundly enormous in its implications. Not only is the God of the Origin of the Universe so immensely concerned with His crown of creation - mankind - He has stooped to become what He has condescended to create so that He might sacrifice His Son to redeem us. He has then sent His Holy Spirit to seek out and save His elect. And if you are one of His elect, then by now you have probably already dropped to your knees in tears of appreciation as you glorify the God for the peace that you now enjoy. Because without this peace from salvation God only knows what pain we might be in.
Thank God we are healed.