Daily Readings: Psalm 30, Romans 4
Lord my God, I called to you for help,
and you healed me.
This is a post that I am more nervous to share than any other I have written so far. If you are going to continue on reading, I would ask you read it in it’s entirety and not simply skim. It is about a 10 minute read. If not, thanks for getting this far!
Our God heals.
Miraculous and medically unexplainable physical healing is not something that is isolated to Biblical times. It happens today.
Throughout my life I have always believed in the power of God to heal, but I have to confess, I have always allowed the scientist in me to cause my faith to waver.
“Are they really healed? Is this just an emotional response and they are tricking themselves into believing they are healed? Is there another explanation? No! I believe, I do. God help my unbelief. I want to believe…”
The battle rages.
I have had multiple people I know personally healed unexplainably through prayer. It has occurred in my own sphere, not just in a story I read somewhere. And yet, for my entire life, my belief wavered. I would have previously told you that it was not my belief in God’s ability to heal overall that struggled, but rather my belief in each individual situation that faltered. What if it isn’t in God’s plan? What if they don’t fully believe?
Belief in something that is physically observable is scary. You have to really put yourself out there. What if it doesn’t happen? Was it my fault? Did I lack the faith the size of a mustard seed that Jesus spoke of? Was it not God’s will to heal them? Why wouldn’t God choose to heal this person? It is way easier to take the safe road. It is way easier to pray, “God, if it is your will…” and just then go ahead and just assume it isn’t.
God wants us to have the type of faith Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had when standing before the King and boldly proclaiming, “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” God wants us to have this type of faith that allows us to walk confidently into the fire expecting to be saved, but acknowledging at the same time that if God chooses not to for some reason that we may not be able to understand, he is still God.
That is such a hard line to walk. I think there is a reason Jesus told us we simply needed faith the size of a mustard seed!
My father was initially diagnosed with brain cancer in 2010 and has now been cancer free for over 6 years. About a year after his brain surgery he had a pretty scary 10 day stretch where he began getting nosebleeds every day, day and night. It was a definite cause for concern. On day 10 he had an appointment with his neurologist who said he needed to make an appointment with his oncologist. Later that same day my Dad felt prompted to take a different rout home, which my Dad never does. When he got off of the highway he saw a man standing next to a motorcycle on the side of the road.
My Dad stopped and asked if he had broken down. The man replied, “Nope, just standing here waiting for a good man to come along.” My Dad wasn’t quite sure how to respond to that so he asked if the man would like a ride. He through the motorcycle in the back of his pickup truck and drove this man back to his sister’s house. Before he left the man asked, “Now what can I do for you?” My Dad at first responded, “Nothing, I just thought you were stranded, so I thought I could give you a ride.” But then after pausing felt prompted to ask if this stranger was a praying man. My father told him about the nosebleeds and asked if this man would pray for healing. He prayed over my father and then looked at him and said, “You will never have a nosebleed again. Do you believe that?” My father responded, “Yes. I do.” The man then turned and walked inside and my Dad has not had a nosebleed in 6 years since. Gone. Miraculously healed after ten days of having these day and night.
Our God heals.
2 years later my youngest daughter Sophie was born with a rare form of cancer and at two months old embarked on a year of chemotherapy. The doctors prepared us at the beginning for the reality of what was to come. They told us that chemo is terrible with infants. They try to avoid it if possible. Sophie wouldn’t know what was going on in her body and was going to cry virtually non-stop and want to eat constantly. The good news was that we caught it early and should be able to beat it. Not only did Sophie beat cancer, but she was one of the happiest baby’s you will ever meet. There was an occasional hard day like with any infant, but the non-stop crying, constantly wanting to eat, simply wasn’t there. The doctors LOVED Sophie and couldn’t believe this child was on chemo. She had so many prayer warriors lifting her up constantly!
Our God heals.
I have prayed for God to heal others with varying degrees of belief throughout my life, hating myself for it every time because of my lack of belief. Even though I have seen miracles, my own belief falters. I want to believe!
There is one person I never even wanted to pray for healing for at all. Me.
I didn’t deserve it. There was more I could personally be doing to heal my back that has given me issues since high school. I could work out more consistently, do my stretches, get adjusted, etc. I wasn’t worthy of healing. I hadn’t been doing my part, why should I expect God to do his? It would almost be unfair for me to ask God for something that I clearly hadn’t earned.
I think this is how so many of us approach God in every area of our lives.
I am not worthy of God walking with me and filling me with the Holy Spirit every day. I am not worth healing physically. I haven’t done my part in reconciling that broken relationship. I have not formed the right habits that would allow me to break free of that addiction. Once I am doing my part, then God can step in and do his. If I just get to a 9/10, God can take me to 10/10. I just have to get to 9.
God’s glory is seen in the miraculous. God’s glory is seen in taking the 1/10 to a 10/10 without us having done anything to “earn it”. Our God is a God of the impossible. Are we willing to believe that?
Last Friday night at a worship gathering I was on my knees praying that God would stir in the hearts of others and that they would come pray over my back for healing. I didn’t even believe I could approach the father for healing on my own behalf…but I wanted to believe. I wanted to borrow conviction from others. I prayed that God would send someone to pray over me…and two people came.
My back was so knotted up that night and had been really struggling the entire week leading up to Friday. My walk with God has been so amazing recently and I wanted to let go of this last area I had been holding onto. I wanted to believe that the father in Heaven loved me as a son and wanted to heal my back. I wanted to believe that it was his sincere desire to show his love in this way.
But the battle raged…
They probably prayed over me for a good 10 minutes or longer. I lost track. Slowly I began to feel the tension and pain melt away. Yet I still fought it. Was this just me tricking myself? Was this the real thing? Would it last for ten minutes only to be replaced by disappointment?
A different type of healing took place that night as well, a healing of my heart.
I desperately prayed that God would heal my unbelief. I was bawling. And not the quaint, few tears rolling down your cheeks, “this person is clearly moved by the spirit”, type of crying in the midst of prayer. I was a snotty mess.
Towards the end I could hear God’s voice moving in my heart. “I love you. I am going to heal your back tonight and show you what I am capable of. But I need your help with something in the coming weeks. I need to you to stop treating my healing and love like a status update. Your back will be sore again at some point. You are human. There will be days you do yard work and have tension in your shoulders afterwards. There will be nights you sleep funny and wake up sore. That doesn’t mean I didn’t heal you. I need you to believe fully. Stay with me.”
My back felt so much better. The pain was virtually gone. Throughout the night I felt spiritual warfare taking place in my back. There were moments of slight tension where minor pain resurfaced and my old human nature would want to creep back in, “Oh no, maybe…” and I would feel God whispering in my ear, “Stay with me. Stay with me. Don’t give in.”
I was exhausted when I fell asleep Friday night. Just totally spent.
The next morning I woke up and was almost confused. There wasn’t any pain…anywhere. Not even a slight discomfort. It was just gone. Even when my back is doing well, I always hurt in the mornings. The degree of the pain varies, but I can’t remember the last morning I woke up pain free. It was at least 10 years ago.
I was shocked. I couldn’t believe it. I almost immediately felt the tug of, “When is the next shoe going to drop? When is this reverting back to normal?” and I felt that gentle whisper, “Stay with me. Stay with me. Just enjoy it for now.”
I had such and amazing day with God on Saturday. My wife and I did a decent amount of yard work, cleaning of the shed, etc. There was some normal soreness by the end of the day, but no more than you would expect from a normal back after a day of work and I continued to feel that nudge, “Stay with me. This is normal. You are human. Your muscles will be sore from time to time. Don’t give the enemy a foothold. Don’t let your faith be shaken. I am still here.”
I also felt him telling me, “It is ok to want to do your part. I want you to take care of your body. I want you to have good habits. I want you to do all of the little things you know would make a difference. Just remember, healing comes from me. Just remember, that you can approach me with your requests before you feel like you have earned them. Just remember that I love you. Remember Friday night always.”
My back has continued to feel significantly better than the previous several months. In moments of stress I still feel the tension in my shoulders and back. However, now, it is a beautiful reminder to turn those items causing me stress over to God. It is a beautiful reminder that I am striving a bit too hard without allowing God to help shoulder the burden. It reminds me that Jesus wants us to take his yoke upon us. He wants to give me rest.
It reminds me of Friday night.
Our God heals.
Thought to ponder
Where have I struggled to pray for healing because I don’t feel that I deserve it? Is it physical healing? Healing of a relationship? An addiction? Forgiveness that I want to give to another but have been unable to fully give? God wants you to come before him and have faith that he is a loving father capable of all things.