When healing doesn’t come

Warning: this post contains spoilers of the film “Until Forever”

I have always admired the faith of the woman who touched Jesus’s cloak. Even after 12 years of unexplained illness and trying all she could to find an answer, she didn’t give up. She believed that this time was the time, and that even as little as touching the cloak of Jesus would be enough to heal her. And she was healed. It really was enough. (Matthew 9:20–22, Mark 5:25–34, Luke 8:43–48)I have touched the cloak of Jesus too, but nothing this sudden and miraculous happened for me. People are quick to jump on the idea that you must have had not enough faith, and if only you prayed more and with more faith things would change. Do you truly want the healing you say you want, or are you scared of letting go? Maybe there is something you are holding back, maybe you don’t really believe you can be healed. The voice inside my head keeps insinuating doubts. Does God really love you if He won’t heal you as you asked? Is He really as good as you say since he could so easily make things right? The downward spiral can be pretty grim, and the compulsions kick in because those thoughts are not my own. 

There are so many things I need healed that, if I’m completely honest, I don’t know where to start keeping tabs of it all. Perhaps I have experienced more healing than I think I have, and I’m just blind to it. Perhaps I haven’t, but it shouldn’t matter.
A few nights ago, my husband came home from work to find me crying my heart out after watching a film. It was a Christian film titled “Until Forever”, and I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I started it. I didn’t realise it was based on a real story, nor what the story was. I was looking for something uplifting, expecting the usual cheesy trope of girl meets boy when she was set on focusing on the Lord and boy asks her parents to court her and then they get married. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I kept watching because I was intrigued to know why the bride was crying on her wedding day, with sadness rather than the joy you’d expect. I could have never guessed. 

It was an uplifting story in a roundabout way. How lucky I am to be alive, and that my husband is alive. Still, I was so moved by the final scene with the balloons, a testament to the many lives this young man had touched in his brief 21 years of life. So many more were to come with this film, and I was one of them. Christian films can be preachy at times, and this one dealt with that beautifully with his friendship with an atheist patient at the same hospital. The film didn’t shy away from showing the understandable doubts that Michael Boyum must have had when the events showed occurred, and when the easy explanations of why bad things happen to good people begun to be wearing thin. It grappled with them all, and has shown his faith all the greater because of it. So great, in fact, that it challenged the faith of everyone else around him, when the façade of perfect Christian family begun to show what was behind.

His leukemia was healed once, miraculously, only to come back and not be taken away. I wonder if that’s what made it easier to accept it the second time, like he knew that God could and had healed him before, but He really was calling him home. This young man isn’t the only Christian who died of cancer despite an outpouring of prayers for his healing. There are a fair few among the canonised saints, with others on the way. Some of them are even younger than he was. They all inspire me in the same way: while I may still pray for healing, I may want to pray for acceptance of my cross too. If healing doesn’t come, it doesn’t mean that I just didn’t have enough faith to be healed. I need to trust that God is using me in this situation for His purpose. In the way those for whom healing has never come inspire us in perseverance and acceptance of our crosses, the long wait for many for whom healing has come should inspire us the same. And the wait will make the miracle all the sweeter. 

Today’s blog post has been part of the Love Blog Challenge 2020 on the subject “Healing”. Find the rest of the series here

 

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4 Comments

  1. I found and find it especially hard to listen to all of the stories of miraculous healing in the absence of stories that glorify God in the middle of loss. After Bill died, it was hard to listen to Christian radio call-ins about “praise God, I’m healed”- my response was often not “Hallelujah!” but “Didn’t I pray hard enough?”
    Living without the healing is hard.
    God’s peace, sweet friend… xoxox

    1. It really is hard. I can’t imagine what you’ve been through with this added burden to your grief which was bad enough without more layers to it. We need to give more space to the stories of praising God in the middle of loss, that’s when the faith is hard to keep and those are the stories that truly inspire me.

  2. Miraculous healing is such an interesting topic. I do believe God heals still today but obviously God isn’t a machine and we don’t know his plans. I find it helpful to remember that I am just part of one very big story and that we are all in his hands in the end of the day.

    1. Yes, it can be easy to see prayer as putting the coins in a vending machine and pressing the numbers for the sweets you want and you’ll get them. Something that has been helpful for me has been imaginative prayer where instead of petitioning on various intentions I just sit on a bench having a chat about what’s going on in my life right now. I’m not great at it, but it’s been good so far.

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