The word healing brings with it a kaleidoscope of feelings. Many experience complete freedom from former disease or pain. For others, like me, the idea of healed body became a distant memory. What happens if you’re not healed?
At a time when a career I loved was taking off, my body betrayed me. I had had an intense few years leading to this point: the last two of our three children married in one year
Dad had suffered with cancer for seven years and ultimately died.
Mom had had mental problems all of my life and dad’s death escalated those. Our hands were full in our attempts to help her.
My husband was diagnosed and treated for cancer.
During all of this, I was completing a master’s degree and an internship in chaplaincy. But it was ALL behind me and I was experiencing success and fulfillment. These were joyful days, even in the midst of an oncology center, which is where I worked. Those courageous patients taught me more about living life than I could have learned anywhere on earth.
A weight lifted; my life was in a good place.
My husband was in remission. We had an empty nest. Each of us enjoyed fulfilling careers. Our daughter and son-in-law had given us 2 young granddaughters whom we adored.
The Road of Suffering
At some point, pain in my legs began waking me up at night.
Although I wore Dansko’s, the shoes were no longer helping my legs. The pain worsened and became coupled with fatigue. I attempted to ignore it and plow ahead…
Until one day after work, fatigue overwhelmed me after walking from my office to the ground floor exit. I thought I may not make it to my car. It was parked a half block from the hospital. I could not ignore the stranger within me any longer.
For eight months I saw various doctors and specialists attempting to discover what was wrong with this body I had called home. Finally, a pain management doctor told me I had fibromyalgia. Not long afterward, the migraines, which are often associated with fibro, began in earnest.
Unbeknownst to me at the time, life as I had known it, was over.
“The deep meaning of the cross of Christ is that there is no suffering on earth that is not borne by God.”
What Happens Now?
Many of you have a similar story, experienced similar losses. You could be writing this yourself. You’re well acquainted with the grief associated with loss. You’re familiar with the stages with which I cycled and grappled…
And continue to cycle during dark seasons of my life. My go-to emotion is anger. It feels more powerful than the grief that can drown me.
I wondered how God could use me, now. I questioned if He had even called me to ministry in the first place. A body wracked by pain and fatigue seemed useless to me or anyone else, for that matter.
Can you relate?
A quick Google search will reveal that we are a nation, and yes, a world in pain. In 2015, in America, medical scientists were sounding an alarm that 11.2% of the population was reporting chronic pain. By December 2020, the number had jumped to just past 20%; that equals to approximately 50 million people. In a 2021 study, the UK reported 38% of adults with daily pain.
These figures don’t touch the number of people living with debilitating diseases. Each of those statistics represent a face, a person whose life was upended by pain or disease. Every one of those people have had to release their dreams and goals. Too many have falsely believed they no longer have purpose.
A decision must be made. The next step is crucial.
It’s embarrassing to admit, but it took several years for me to make my choice. I’m still making it, actually. Initially, at least, making the choice requires making it daily, sometimes hourly.
I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live,
Choosing life sounds like a no-brainer. But when the life God wants me to choose is different from the life I had and loved, the choice can become less clear.
Sometimes we may need to simply choose life. It is possible to become so attached to something or someone we have lost that we move forward blindly, looking over our shoulder to the past rather than before us to what lies ahead. The Bible tells us that as she looked back, Lot’s wife was turned into a pillar of salt. I suspect that many of us have had this happen to us without our realizing we have become frozen, trapped by the past.
Kitchen Table Wisdom, Rachel Naomi Ramen
I was trapped by my past. In my stubbornness, I didn’t want to look ahead to future possibilities with God. However, until I stopped dwelling on my former life, I would never be released from the self-made trap of grief and anger.
Gradually, and with humility I came to a place where I chose life.
Healing looks different for each of us. Many pray to be healed. A few even demand physical healing, (whether in “Jesus’ name” or by their own virtue.) Others hope for it, but don’t expect it. Still others seek healing continually, going from doctor to doctor or faith healer to faith healer.
Certainly, I have prayed for healing. I have asked others to pray for me, too. After so many years, however, I find that I have accepted that I will not be healed, physically. That doesn’t mean I’ve stopped trying new medications or stopped seeking wisdom from my heavenly Father concerning my suffering.
But my wrestling and anger is mostly gone, now. I wish I could say with the apostle Paul that I give thanks for the pain, but most days, I’m not there. However, the healing I have experienced is in my soul. Ever so slowly, with the help of a therapist, I’m learning that God doesn’t love me only when I’m in ministry or serving. He loves me regardless of what I do.
That’s a hard lesson for someone who was teethed on “doing,” both at home and in the my denomination.
Approximately two thirds of the miracles Jesus performed on earth involved healing. It’s safe to say that it was important to Him. However, if you read the passages describing each healing miracle, you will find that there is usually a lesson being taught by the healing, (John 4:43-54; Matthew 9:1-18; Luke 6:6-11).
Healing isn’t the main point.
Oh, it always is for us, at least in the beginning of our affliction.
But, there is so much more to glean from these ailing bodies than physical health. When Jesus touched the leper and told him, “Be clean!” (Mark 1:40-45), Jesus was modeling compassion. The main thing was not the physical healing, but that He did the unthinkable. Jesus touched a leper with love.
With Him, it’s always about the miracle of the heart.
What miracle do you need today?