That’s the question I’ve been tossing around and somewhat wrestling with lately. You might think you’re reading a blog about war or civil rights or a rant on Trump. But no, this blog isn’t about any of that. (thank God…am I right?)
It’s a little more spiritual. It’s a little more personal.
First, let me start by saying that I believe in a God of miracles and supernatural activity. I have seen ankles, knees, and deaf ears healed right before my eyes. I have met people who experienced real miraculous healings of cancer. I have seen people tormented by evil spirits get set free by the name of Jesus. I have seen and heard story after story about the power of prayer and the intervention of God in the lives of humans. I know that God loves to heal and that his mission is to set us free.
But what about when he doesn’t heal? What about the prayers that have been prayed for 25+ years? What about the suffering that envelops the lives of good, honest, faithful people?
Is it always God’s will to heal and deliver RIGHT NOW?
There are some circles of thought (that I’ve been a part of) that would gasp at that heretical question and be quick to answer YES! And if you aren’t experiencing that healing or deliverance, you just have to believe that you already are healed.
I won’t mock or belittle that belief. Because I am convinced that our modern minds often keep us from seeing any possibilities apart from our own reason. Yet, the postmodern mind isn’t convinced by such an absolute answer and wonders about the uniqueness in each individual story.
I’ve heard it said that Americans (maybe Westerners) have a poor theology of suffering. I would add that this is partially due to a poor understanding and practice of faithfulness. One of my favorite quotes comes from the book, The Heavenly Man. It is the story of Brother Yun, who experienced severe persecution in China for being a following of Jesus. He says, “Don’t pray for the persecution to stop! We shouldn’t pray for a lighter load to carry, but a stronger back to endure! Then the world will see that God is with us, empowering us to live in a way that reflects his love and power. This is true freedom!”
So where do we begin to engage in a dialogue that may unlock fears, anxieties, and doubt? Do we fight or do we make peace?
My “suffering”, if it is even appropriate to use the word, is physical and emotional. Emotional because I struggle with extreme highs and extreme lows. Navigating through those seas of emotion can be exhausting and discouraging. Physical because my spine is curved and causes consistent discomfort and pain in my back, neck and shoulders. I cannot count the number of times I have received prayers of healing, prophetic words, and even experienced the power of the Holy Spirit on my back. Yet, still I am not healed.
It’s left me in a vulnerable place asking: Do I keep holding onto the belief that God will heal me, fighting to remain faithful in my request? Or do I lay down all my efforts and quiet all my pleading, making peace with God and my body?
I’m not sure if it’s possible, but I have landed somewhere in the middle. I’m not mad at God for not healing me yet, but I continue to hope that he will. I don’t think he is maliciously withholding something good from me, but I know that I’m seen and loved. Sometimes I battle furiously for my emotional and physical health. Other times, I find peace in the unending streams of grace and mercy that wash over my broken spirit and body.
God is far too mysterious for me to know exactly what he will do. I am far too limited to know what should be done.
So if I fight, I will fight to be faithful despite my circumstances. And if I make peace, I will make peace with a God whose love gives me a hope far greater than this world.