The Body that Heals Itself

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. – I Thessalonians 5:11

I was not feeling very good about myself. I had tried to do something nice for someone and had got it all wrong. Gift giving with me is kind of hit or miss. Sometimes I know just the perfect gift, and it’s a hit. Other times … not so much. This was apparently the latter. “It’s the thought that counts,” I was taught as a child. “Thank them anyway.” But blunt honesty seems to be the way this generation communicates, and I knew beyond a doubt that however well-meaning the thought, I had blown it.

Oh well, I told myself. We can’t all be gift-giving geniuses. Anyway, it was time for the evening prayer meeting – On to other things. I attempted to dismiss the bad feelings and headed for the service.

As anyone who has read this blog knows, I love my church. They seem to do everything a Church is supposed to do. They care for one another, sharing needs through their large group email (those needs being met usually before the day is over), taking meals to anyone with a new baby or who has had surgery, and always, always praying for one another, especially in their endeavors to share the gospel. Guests or first-time visitors are met with warm greetings and genuine interest.

And the singing … ! There is no “choir” per se. A four-person worship team leads, and the congregation is the choir. Being surrounded by that multitude is like momentarily stepping into heaven, especially when the instruments stop, and the final verse is sung by unaccompanied human voices in four-part harmony.

While prayer meetings at most churches I’ve experienced have been lucky to have a dozen show up, this church routinely has hundreds at their Sunday evening prayer service. These people truly believe in prayer.

That evening, being one of the last to arrive, I slipped into the only empty pew left.

Immediately, two of my younger (twenty-something) friends came in. They greeted me with hugs and asked if they could sit with me. When I said “Sure!” they seemed excited, and one exclaimed, “We’re so glad we get to sit with you!” Their enthusiasm surprised me, but it felt so good I decided, I’ll take it.

Prayer requests were given, and one by one, we prayed specifically for one another. I remembered a couple of times when I’d had needs, and it had been such a blessing to hear someone pray specifically for my concerns and know that a couple hundred other people were praying in unison for the same thing!

After the devotional message and the closing song, the girls and I lingered and caught up with each other’s lives. Then after one more series of hugs, they were on their way.

I recognized a few pews away another young woman who had sent out a prayer request that week via email. Since I had prayed for her situation, I went over, introduced myself, and asked her how things were going. She gave me an update and thanked me for praying. We then spent a few minutes getting acquainted.

Thinking this young person probably had other people she wanted to talk to besides yours truly, I told her it was so nice meeting her and wished her a great week. As I started to walk away, she called after me and asked if I wanted to get together for coffee sometime. We exchanged phones and added our numbers into each other’s contacts. After we handed them back, I got yet another healing hug.

On the way home I reflected on all that had happened that day. I thanked God for the worship service that morning. I smiled, remembering the tiny daughter of friends, whose face had lit up when I came in, and the way she ran over to greet me with her little arms open wide. (Toddlers are such good huggers!) I thanked Him for the girls that had sat with me that evening, seeming to feel so privileged, and the new friend who had asked me for my phone number.

Psychologists these days like to talk about having our emotional “love tank” depleted or filled up, depending on the encounters we experience with others and how they make us feel about ourselves. I don’t think for a moment this is a new concept. This is the reason Jesus established His Church two thousand years ago – to be His arms of love around us. And as we “go forth into all the world,” as He commissioned us to do, the Church is there to refill our tanks after the world has drained us, physically and emotionally.

A doctor could no doubt do a better job than I do explaining the many ways the body heals itself and the parallels to the Body of Christ. I only know that that afternoon I had been feeling lousy, fighting tears. But I’d learned that I don’t have to let my emotions run my life, and they weren’t going to keep me from going to church. Scripture says, “Let us not give up meeting together.” (Hebrews 10:25) Sometimes you just have to decide what you need to do and do it. Consequently, my love tank was filled to overflowing that night – with smiles and hugs, prayers and songs, and an invitation to coffee.

When I hear people give various reasons they don’t go to church, I wonder, where do they go when the world wears them down? Do they realize what they’re missing?

(Maybe we should invite them to church … One more time…)

“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” Galatians 6:10

Prayer: Lord, You know how much we need one another for comfort, encouragement, strength, and emotional health. Thank You for the times You help us heal one another. May we continue to be Your agents of healing, for Your glory. In Jesus’ name, amen.

42 thoughts on “The Body that Heals Itself

  1. Thanks for sharing this. I have had the same experience. I’ve gone to church feeling undermined by something and then unexpected people (or music, or Bible verses, or prayers) have truly ministered to me. As a consequence, I’ve left in a different state of mind. Yes, thank God for His body!

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  2. Amen ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿพ. What a beautiful story and it makes me want to visit your church. ๐Ÿ˜God is so awesome and he knows exactly what we need and sends people to help. I am sure you have a lot to offer to the world and those young women saw and knew it. Bless you. ๐Ÿ’—

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  3. Beautiful the way He worksโ€ฆthe word โ€œperspectiveโ€ comes to mind and itโ€™s so fitting that youโ€™ve named your blog with this word because I always finish reading your posts feeling like God has gifted you with pulling โ€œdivine perspectiveโ€ from the toughest of situations. Good read, Annie, thanks for sharing!

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  4. When life wears me down, I go to the Bible, wordpress, youtube,the internet, itunes(I have a playlist), to Jesus Himself. I used to go to books and devotionals but, with internet access I can get a bigger variety quicker. I drink a cup of hot tea, or play a board game, sit outside and have coversations with Jesus & meditate or even stew. Jigsaw puzzles have really helped me in the past, but my over 40 eyesight has kept me from really enjoying doing them these days. I’m a artzy craftzy person, so sometimes doing something along that line has helped relieve stress. Sometimes I miss the social of church going, but the shallowness and small/weather talk of other people isn’t worth it to me anymore. I can get all the worship songs and sermons I want using the computer. Yes, there is a power in corporate worship and I do kind of miss that, but, my one on one time with Jesus just doesn’t compare. Technically I can still be involved with corporate worship through youtube postings and live streaming. Didn’t really intend my comment to be so long, but I hope this answers some of your questions. I’ll answer any questions, comments or complaints you might have. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    1. Thanks for sharing, sister. I enjoy a lot of the same things you do, and although I haven’t yet found a suitable substitute for hugs, I’m grateful for the technology that helps us keep connected long distance (or not-so-long-distance during the lockdowns). Some of my blogging friends I consider true friends, although I have never met them face-to-face.
      Thankfully, my church has very little small-talk, although in the world friendly small talk keeps the lines of communication open.
      Prayer is more and more ongoing with me these days. Wherever I am, Jesus is with me. < 3 Have a blessed weekend, sister.

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      1. I agree, no substitutes for hugs. As sad as it is to be living without them, I look forward to having as many hugs as I want in eternity. I do live with my husband and our four offspring (and two dogs and two cats), so I don’t go completely without hugs. Hope your weekend feels super blessed.

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  5. My church is small, but prayer is very important to us; our monthly prayer meeting has almost as many regulars as our Sunday school class. Also, I can tell you are a hugger; so am I. When I meet you face to face (probably not until heaven), I’ll give you a big hug!

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  6. What a beautiful post Ann. I value going to church. There were times when I would not feel like and would choose to, I remember feeling so differently after.

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    1. Same with me, for church and working out. I think the enemy tries to discourage me from going to church, and my flesh doesn’t want to work out. ๐Ÿ™„But you’re right, in both cases I always feel so differently afterwards and glad I didn’t listen to him/it. ๐Ÿ˜

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  7. So glad you were encouraged and built back up! You got a lot of love that night and “love builds up”! 1 Corinthians 8:1 This is a good lesson for us all. Blessings, Annie!

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  8. You’re right, Annie. THIS is what church should be! We recently had to find a new church home and think we’ve found it. The factors that have impressed us are some of the ones you most appreciate about your church: friendly and caring people, singing with a congregation that we can hear (The music from the platform is not overly loud.), and a vibrancy among the people we’ve met so far. There are over 100 women involved in Bible study groups, and we’ve received strong, biblical preaching from the pulpit. I think it’s going to be a place where our love tanks get filled AND we’ll be able to fill those of others, as well as be spiritually fortified each week!

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  9. It is wonderful to be with the body of Christ in God’s house! Today our church hosted a National Day of Prayer gathering for the whole town. There were many churches represented. It was really powerful. And I got a lot of hugs! Bless you !

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