The year I turned 40, things changed. One sickness chased another. I’ve been diagnosed with several chronic diseases. Most of them are what I call “invisible diseases.” It’s hard to explain Ménière’s disease or chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
Interestingly enough, on days I feel the worst I get the most compliments on how good I look. How can you explain to someone that you’re barely staying awake, that you’re so fatigued, you can’t think straight, after you hear their raving compliments of how radiant/good/relaxed etc. you look. It’s beyond frustrating.
I’ve quoted Ruby’s line from “Monster-in-Law” numerous times: I am sick, sick, sick … And when I’m not sick, I’m tired…” This has been my life for the past seven years.
I stopped praying for healing for myself for a while. I resigned myself to this thought: “I guess that’s how it’s going to be. I will have to live with these struggles and limitations.”
But then one of my “conditions” would worsen and I’m back on my knees crying and praying my heart out: “Heal me, Jesus!”
The prophet Isaiah wrote about Jesus:
He was looked down on and passed over,
a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand.
One look at him and people turned away.
We looked down on him, thought he was scum.
But the fact is, it was our pains he carried—
our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us.
We thought he brought it on himself,
that God was punishing him for his own failures.
But it was our sins that did that to him,
that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins!
He took the punishment, and that made us whole.
Through his bruises we get healed.
excerpt from Isaiah 53 according to Eugene H. Peterson’s “The Message”
How is our sin forgiven? How is our sickness healed? Consider these words by Rick Renner in “Sparkling Gems from the Greek”:
“Jesus’ broken body was the payment God demanded to guarantee our physical healing! Just as Jesus willfully took our sins and died on the Cross in our place, He also willfully took our sicknesses and pains on Himself when they tied Him to the scourging post and laid those lashes across His body. That horrific scourging paid for our healing!… Considering the pain Jesus endured to bear your sicknesses that day, isn’t that enough evidence to convince you how much He wants you be physically well?”
So why has Jesus not healed me yet? The obvious one comes to mind: Unbelief. Doubt loves to fuel unbelief.
“And so he (Jesus) did only a few miracles there because of their unbelief.” Matthew 13:58 New Living Translation
“And because of their unbelief, he (Jesus) couldn’t do any miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them.” Mark 6:5 New Living Translation
I love the honesty of this prayer in Mark 9:24:
“I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”
In Max Lucado’s book “Before Amen” I learned of another possibility:
God “will use your struggle to change others. Or he may use your struggle to change you.”
As an example, Lucado describes that he prays for healing from the pain in his hand. He says, “Thus far God has used my hand to heal my heart.”
I had to smile when I read it. At least something gets healed in the process, or someone gets changed, right?
When healing doesn’t seem to come, I consider this possibility, and it encourages me to trust God: his plan and his timing for my healing are what matters most. And I continue to pray… for healing!