Over the last year, as my chronic pain has kicked into high gear, I have come face to face with the question of healing. Let me tell you, this is a tough subject for those of us who deal with pain on a regular basis.
Why do I have good days and bad days? Why can’t the doctors find anything wrong with me? Am I crazy? Why do I still hurt when I have prayed so hard to be healed? Is it because I don’t believe enough? Is it because my faith is too small? Why does God choose to heal others, but not me? How can I answer those people who ask me the same questions, when I don’t have the answers?
I have searched my soul for the quick answer to these questions, but have come to realize that there is no easy solution, no glib answer. Since it is necessary, at least for me, to struggle through the muddiness of the unanswered question, I have come to find a certain amount of peace with the answers I have.
I spent much of the last 18 months searching for answers. I have spent hours on the phone with various doctors’ offices, sleepless nights online trying to find answers or a cure, I have been sent links, videos, essays, articles, and references on healing. I have had hands laid on me, prayers of fervent faith prayed over me, and I have prayed every prayer of healing and read every applicable Scripture.
In fact, I spent so much time trying to be healed, that for a while, I forgot to live. I forgot to laugh and play with my son. I didn’t go for walks with my husband. I stayed in my house. I waited, and waited, and waited, for the next thing to cure me. After a few months of this, it didn’t seem right anymore. Why was I focusing on one part of my life to the exclusion of all others? My scripture reading led me to believe that the only waiting we are to do is to wait on God. We wait for healing, for answered prayer, for His perfect timing and plan to be accomplished. But, we can wait on the Lord while we are getting out of bed, getting dressed, going for walks, laughing, and living our lives.
The question I have to ask myself all the time is, “Have I spent more time trying to find a cure than I have praying about how God wants me to live with my pain?”
Does that mean that I no longer believe that God will heal me? No. I’m just not sure when that healing with take place. I believe that God desires me to be pain-free, to be whole. I truly believe that God will heal me, but that it may be on the other side of this life.
Knowing that I may not be pain-free until I’m face to face with God does keep me awake at night. I’m scared of being in pain in twenty, thirty, forty years from now. And, when the pain gets especially bad, I find myself whispering, “Why, God? Why won’t you heal me?”
I find both heartbreak and peace in the example that Christ gave us for how to pray in our agony when He cried out in the hours before his death, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me.” The crucial part of this particular example of Christ is in what comes next and that is “Yet not what I will, but what You will”. (Mark 14:36)
The answer to “Why?” is, whether I like it or not, is that for the time being, chronic pain is what God has for me.
I often told people when I had cancer that I didn’t know the Reason Why I had cancer, but I did know lots of little reasons. The same applies to pain. I can reach out to those in pain. I know what it feels like to despair, to beg God to take me home, to be so discouraged that I can hardly move. I also know what it means to find hope, peace, and joy in my life, even when my whole body hurts. I have experienced, first hand, what Habakkuk meant when he said at the end of Habakkuk 3, “Yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and He has made my feet like hinds’ feet, and makes me walk on my high places.”
I believe that there are many people, thousands maybe, that desperately need to be offered hope in the midst of their pain. And, if I am to be one of those who can bring God’s help, love, and joy those who need it, then in the words of Paul in his letter to the Colossians, “I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body…”. (Colossians 1:24) I could do much worse than follow Paul’s example of being able to show others the path to Christ because of my suffering.
I am content with these answers to the question of why I haven’t been healed. Even though I will continue to pray for healing in this lifetime, I will be content, and even rejoice in this: “For behold, the day is coming…for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall”. (Malachi 4:1-3) I can surely wait for that, knowing that the God of healing will wipe away every tear from my eyes and my pain will be truly healed. Forever.