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When Cure Isn’t Possible … But Healing Is

Pastor Jessica Harren’s journey with chronic pain and illness embodies the belief that it is possible to live well — and find healing — in the midst of challenging circumstances.




Pastor Jessica A. Harren
Schaumburg, Illinois
May 2018

I am grateful for the healing that I’ve experienced in my life though my faith, therapy, and good medical care. I have lived in chronic pain since I was 13 years old. There was a time in seminary when I spent 3-4 days a week in bed. Now, I manage my family and my call as a pastor with very few days in bed. My journey has included trial and error with treatments, alternative Eastern medicine, a great Western medical team, meditation, a lot of hard work and prayer, and more. But while these things have helped, I know I will never be cured.

For many, when they get sick, cure is the goal. For some of us, though — especially those of us with chronic or genetic conditions — cure will never come. And that is ok. I have come to realize that I do not need to be cured to live a full, happy, and good life. I do need healing, though. For me, healing is knowing that with Jesus I can handle whatever pain and challenge I will face. Healing is about having a good relationship with my whole being. That is how Jesus heals: He restores people to community and affirms their worth and beauty just as they are.

Jesus has done that for me. Although I write this on the eve of yet another surgery, I know that Jesus has brought healing into my life. I go into surgery knowing that I have a God who loved human beings so much God needed to become one. I know that I have a God who loves and cares about the body so much God needed to have one, and that when that body was resurrected it was marked with scars. Those scars don’t make Jesus less whole or less alive or less healed. When Jesus offers his broken body at the table of Holy Communion, I experience the healing truth that God cares about my body — just as it is — and my whole being. My prayer is that you will know that healing in your own life, even if a cure is not on the horizon. Jesus promises that healing is open to us all.

This submission describes a personal perspective and may or may not reflect the experience of others. Rev. Jessica Harren explores ideas and resources for renewal and healing on her website, pastorjess.com.

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