Do you pray for healing? How often have I heard this question? I lost track during the first couple years of our sons’ autism diagnosis. Then, again, after my husband was diagnosed with Schwannomatosis , a form of Neurofibromatosis, a painful, but not fatal, genetic disorder.
Do I believe in healing? Sure. But what if my prayers remain unanswered –at least in the way I hope for? Here are a few responses I’ve received from well-meaning people:
“Becky, you just need to have more faith. I believe God wants us to be whole.”
“Becky, you need to renounce the demons that bind you to these diseases and disabilities…”
“There must be something wrong. Do you have any unconfessed sin in your life?”
“Here, let me pray for you…”
“Maybe God’s punishing you… He’s clearly not pleased with your life or you wouldn’t be suffering like this.”
I believe God can and does heal. I’ve read books and seen movies of His healing in other peoples’ lives. I have friends who have been miraculously healed. I’ve experienced God’s healing in my life on a number of occasions. But does He always heal in the ways we ask? Is a lack of healing a result of my lack of faith? Do I need to be completely capable and wholly able in order to obey God? Here’s God’s response to Moses when Moses reminded God of his speech impairment:
“But Moses pleaded with the LORD, ‘O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.’ “
“Then the LORD asked Moses, ‘Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the LORD? Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.'” ~ Exodus 4:10-12 (NLT)
God allows disability and weakness that I may know a full measure of His strength. For this reason, there is no excuse for disobedience based on my infirmities and shortcomings. Often He may ask me to do something that I cannot do in my own strength. In fact, when I’ve tried to live life by His standard without Him, I fall short. I could set my standard lower so I seem successful. But why settle?
Don’t get me wrong; sometimes I think, What have I done to deserve this? Health, wealth, and prosperity is the feel-good-gospel today. An old religious way of thinking, but it doesn’t reflect Christ. Even Jesus’ disciples didn’t get it.
” ‘Rabbi…why was this man born blind? Was it because f his own sins or his parents’ sins?’
It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,’ Jesus answered. ‘This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.’ ” ~ John 9:2-3(NLT)
Although Jesus did heal this man, the reason for his blindness was not sin; the purpose was for people to see God’s power in this man’s life. That’s something else. How often have I prayed for a miracle, but then complained about my circumstances when God has put me in position for one? This man couldn’t have experienced the miracle of sight had he not been blind first.
Can I live wholly if I haven’t been healed in the way I desire? Can I be whole without healing, period? Here’s what Paul wrote to the Corinthian church after asking God to take away his suffering:
“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)
Maybe my prayer should be, “Lord, how do You want to glorify Yourself in me? Through my healing? Or through my weakness? Either way, I find my wholeness in Your grace.”
Which would be the bigger miracle for you?