Jesus once healed ten lepers by telling them to go and show themselves to the priests: “And as they went they were cleansed” (Luke 17:14). Healing sometimes happens as we step out and do the next thing, in this case checking in with the priest. Some get touched when they get out of their seats and walk forward for an altar call. The priests discovered that the waters parted when they stepped in, not before (Joshua 3:15). For others it might mean asking someone out, asking for forgiveness, or taking responsibility for the family.
Passivity can keep us from the next thing on God’s agenda. He has plans for us, but they are not realized without our participation. Our part–take the next step. Could one step forward be that important to God? Indeed. Waiting upon God is not paralysis. We are in motion, doing what He says and trusting Him in the process for the desired outcome.
We may be thinking, “If God does this, I will do that.” God may be waiting for you to do that before He does this. God is leading the dance, but sometimes it looks like He is following us.
“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”
Healing is often incremental. It happens in stages as we take steps of obedience. Faith is sometimes spelled r-i-s-k, though a well-calculated one. Faith has lips and legs. It says something and goes somewhere. By faith Abraham “went out, not knowing where he was to go” (Hebrews 11:8). Had he said, “I am not going until you show me the way,” he would have waited a long time. We don’t need to see the distant shore, just the next step. And “the steps of a righteous man are ordered by the Lord.”
Growth is a little at a time. It does not happen all at once. People who are looking for God to heal them may need to take the next step in order to see a new level of healing. This is often true of emotional healing or healing from strongholds.
God brought victory for the children of Israel who took the Promised Land phase by phase. “I will not drive them out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the wild beasts multiply against you. Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you are increased and possess the land” (Exodus 23:29, 30). That is a visual picture of the way God often heals us. It is more often a process than an event.
Sometimes we balk at the process because it is taking longer than we hoped for. Faith is required each step of the way, lest we sink back into passivity.
Vulnerability helps us in the process to accept where we are and by faith move forward into the fuller healing. Being transparent about what is in process gives others grace to walk out their life in God with the same courage and realism.
Healing from depression or serious identity conflicts such as same sex attraction most often comes incrementally. Many steps of faith are needed before the process has been completed. That will take courage and trust when the outcome is not yet clear. “Faithful is he who calls you, and he will do it.”