Not everyone who prays for healing receives it. I realize that this might not be a popular message. But I think today, in a world where medicine practically cures everything through one method or another, in a Christian community that still holds up wellness and financial prosperity as a sign of God’s favor, we need to take a moment to sit with Paul in his second letter to the Corinthians. We need to take a moment to address the many members of the church who pray for healing and do not receive it.
Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
2 Corinthians 12:8-9
If You Have Prayed for Healing and Have not Received it, Do not Despair
If you live with chronic __________, and have asked as I have for healing, and you have not received it, do not despair. I know what it is to wake and battle daily, to think I’ve finally rounded a corner only to find the beast waiting for me around the bend. I know what it is to daily take up the armor just to survive the day without melting into pieces. I know what it is to feel inadequate compared to my counterparts, watching them run circles around me while I can barely walk a straight line. I know the embarrassment of literally having to say, “I can’t.”
And I have despaired, beaten my fists and head against the wall, fearing the judgement of others and worst of all, the lashes I know I’ll give myself.
If You Have Prayed for Healing, and Have Not Received It, Rest Assured He Is not Withholding Out of Cruelty
The worst is when people speak to me of healing. I always imagine someone going to my children behind my back and saying, “You know, if you only had enough faith, if you ask for this or that in the correct, spiritual way, your mother will give it you.”
And I know what I would say to that person speaking to my child of things they do not understand:
“I am not withholding x, y, or z from my child out of cruelty. I have specific plans for this child.This walking with me second-to-second in profound weakness, this discipline I’m building, this hunger I’m filling, is purpose-driven and love-filled. Do not fill my child’s head with silly ideas that this exercise is anything less than my perfect will.”
And I have accepted that there are things in my life that separate me unto Him, according to His will. I may need certain disciplines that others may not, certain understandings I must come to alone. This does not make me more special and others less, but a unique and cherished child of a Father who knows my snowflake identity and purpose and calling.
I struggle daily. That is true. But in that suffering, I need God moment to moment, sometimes even breath to breath. In that hunger, in that neediness, I am praying for more and more of Him to fill me.
I loathe being hungry. I abhor needing all the time. But I cannot imagine a life so full that I didn’t need the Lord to fill me. I cannot fathom a life so rich in world and so destitute of His good things.
If You Have Prayed for Healing and Have not Received it, Pray for Something Even Better
Instead of just praying for healing, maybe we need to pray for enabling. Maybe we need to pray for more nourishment, more comfort, more strength that can only come from God to live out the purposes of our individual, snowflake lives. Maybe that is the healing for more than just our bodies, but also for our spirits. Maybe that is what we all need: to know how truly dependent we are on Him for every breath of every day.
So the next time someone brings up healing to you, my friend, the next time someone mistakes your suffering for the carelessness of our Heavenly Father, lovingly remind yourself and them:
You are not an orphan. God in His holy dwelling is a father of the fatherless and a champion of widows (Psalm 68:5).
You are not forgotten. For God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you showed for His name when you served the saints—”(Hebrews 6:10).
You are the child of the Most High God. And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they shall be called children of the living God (Romans 9:26).
He walks with you. For the Lord your God walks throughout your camp to protect you and deliver your enemies to you; (Deuteronomy 23:14).
He orders your steps, and He will fill you with good things.
But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me,
the Lord has forgotten me.”
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
I will not forget you!
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
your walls are ever before me.”
Take this to the bank: you are engraved in His very palms.
His plan for your life is intimate, perfect, and generous.
God bless you.