I used to have a much different view of healing than I do now. Thanks to exposure to certain teachers, I believed that physical ailments were a direct result of my sin. Healing could be acquired by repenting of my sins and praying with full belief that God could heal me. This sounds very Biblical, and you could find several verses that could be used to support this. Some people have been healed when they repented and prayed for healing. I praise YHVH for this, and am thrilled for those who have received healing.
So, why do I have a different view of healing now? Because most people do not receive instant, miraculous healing. My heart aches for those suffering from chronic pain, disease, and physical problems. Some were born with genetic problems. Some had accidents that their bodies never properly recovered from. They got up every morning with an incredible resolve to face the day, in spite of pain, dietary restrictions, emotional struggles, and fear of what the future holds. They have spent hours on their knees, searching their souls for unresolved issues and unconfessed sins. They have prayed for healing, but healing never came. Anyone who has ever asked for healing and didn’t receive it knows that so many questions come flooding in.
- Why am I suffering?
- What sin haven’t I confessed?
- Why was everyone else healed and not me?
- Doesn’t God love me?
- Why don’t I have enough faith?
- How will I face tomorrow?
- What is wrong with me?
- Why do I feel so alone?
People with physical problems suffer from so much more than physical problems. They have doubts and fears. They have sadness and despair. They feel alone in their struggles. They feel like people are judging them, or are sick of hearing about their problems.
We live in a world severely affected by sin and thousands of years of human choices that have been handed down for generations. I don’t understand why we live in a suffering world where some people are healed and some people are not. The Bible doesn’t give a clear answer to this dilemma. In the absence of this much desired clarity, many people have tried to provide answers to fill the void. Someone gets miraculously healed, and in their excitement, they assume healing is God’s plan for everyone. They confessed their sin and were healed, so they make another assumption. If someone has chronic problems, they must be living in sin. Biblically speaking, this is a very dangerous assumption to make. Paul, though he asked for healing three times, was denied. TImothy, though he was considered a very godly man, suffered from digestive problems. Jacob was never healed from his hip problem and limped the rest of his life. Even Yeshua was not spared the physical pain of the cross, though he asked to be.
Physical healing is not the holy grail of our faith experience. Rather, becoming a clear image-bearer of our King is the goal.
So, what is my current view of healing and pain?
After spending hours in prayer, and reading a lot of Scripture, and trying to make sense of my own lack of healing, I see a different picture.
The human experience is all about learning to reflect our Master’s nature and character to the people around us. YHVH is loving, upright, compassionate, righteous, and the list goes on. My job as a human is to become more like Him. The more I read my Bible and try to put into practice His character, the more “human” I become. Everything that happens in my life serves a purpose. As a believer, I am promised that every circumstance is being used for good in my life. Sometimes, my struggles are a result of my sin. When someone smokes for 40 years and gets lung cancer, a clear connection can be made. Natural consequences for our choices are part of life. But, sometimes my struggles are the result of living on a cursed earth. I am not responsible for the genetic condition I was born with. Neither is my mother. But I do have the promise that YHVH is using this condition in my life to make me more like Him. I have the promise that He will never leave me to suffer alone. I have the promise that my sins are forgiven, irregardless of whether or not I am ever healed. I also know that I am not alone. Everyone groans from struggles that may or may not be visible. People can see my cane, but they may not see someone struggling from digestive problems. No one is left untouched because, since the first sin, suffering of some sort is simply part of our journey through life. Suffering may vary in length and intensity, but no one is spared.
So, what do we do in a world where YHVH, in His infinite wisdom, sometimes heals and sometimes doesn’t?
We show love.
We show love to ourselves.
Anytime we face pain, or a scary diagnosis, or an accident, we also face big emotions. We can show love to ourselves by giving permission to feel. It’s okay to feel scared, overwhelmed, mad, frustrated, or desparate. The Psalmists felt all these emotions. Just be sure to bring yourself back to the point where you can praise your Creator. He has not abandoned you. He doesn’t hate you, and He has promised to work this out for good. He can be trusted, even if your feelings don’t always agree.
When you are facing struggles, the most loving thing you can do is saturate yourself with Scripture. You will see your loving Father. You will see that He never changes. You will see that He has a plan for you.
You can also show love to yourself by using the comfort measures that YHVH has provided. While there aren’t any natural means to put the cartilage back in my joints, anti-inflammatories like boswellia have been very helpful. When they weren’t working very well anymore, I knew it was time to get a new hip joint. You don’t have to feel guilty for doing what it takes to feel better. When you feel better, you can serve YHVH and your family better. It’s okay to seek help. It’s okay to say no because you need to rest. Take care of yourself. You are deserving of love.
We show love to others.
When we realize that everyone faces suffering and has a unique journey to walk, it is easier to show love. We can ask ourselves, “Does this person need my advice, or just a listening ear?” Can I offer a hug, cook a meal, show compassion, or provide prayer support? When you encounter someone with suffering, don’t brush off their feelings as small or inconsequential. Offer them validation that the trial they are facing is very real. Sometimes, health advice is not a great way to show love. Coming from a family full of chronic pain sufferers, I can safely say that most health advice is misplaced at best. The intentions are always noble, but it tends to come across as insulting. You see, they may have dealt with this problem since childhood, The years have probably been full of well-meaning advice givers, but there is no magic pill, or herb, or diet plan. If you feel your advice could truly be helpful, save it for those you have an actual relationship with, as opposed to shotgun approaches on social media.
The best ways to show love to someone facing health problems include acceptance, a listening ear, support with tasks, a chat, a laugh, a hug, and permission to have bad days.
What if you are the one with health problems? Can you show love to others? Yes! No one is in a better position to offer understanding than you. Share your story. Share how YHVH has helped you, and the lessons He has taught you. I recently had the opportunity to listen to several women share their stories dealing with cancer and it was a huge blessing to me. Your story matters! We are all blessed when we learn to share and be vulnerable with each other. Many times, we are afraid to share because we are afraid of being judged. We need to work together to fix this by showing love unconditionally. When someone shares their struggles, it should only be met with support and encouragement. Let’s make this the norm! Let’s be the change we want to see in the world by always defaulting to love.
We show love to our Heavenly Father.
My husband handles triage in our home. He lifts our children up on the bathroom counter, cleans their cuts, bandages them, and reassures them that the pain will be gone soon. I picture our Heavenly Father in much the same way. He has such compassion for His children, especially when they are hurting. How can we show love to Him? We can trust Him as a little child trusts their daddy. We can listen to Him. We can praise Him. We can ditch our self-centered mindsets, and ask Him to use us to show love to others.
He loves us so much, and as we travel on this journey, we are learning to pass His love on. Whether or not you have physical suffering, I pray that you will see this pain as an opportunity to show love. Whether or not you see healing, I pray that you will praise YHVH for His wisdom and compassion. What can you do today to show love? Do you have a story to share? Please take a minute to encourage each other in the comments today.