When I was very new in the faith life, I spent some time in Nova Friburgo, in the mountains of Rio de Janeiro, along with two other missionaries. It’s a beautiful city with German and Swiss architecture, nestled between some of the highest mountains in the state.
I must confess that I have never been one who could easily believe in miraculous forms of healing. In fact, I prided myself a bit on being “rational,” “logical,” of which skepticism was an integral part. Perhaps it was also because of feeling that what happens to us is just part of the big game plan—our destiny. I think that I too, like the Jews demanded of Jesus, “required a sign.”
One of the greatest healing factors is faith, knowing that God loves us and is going to take care of us no matter what happens. Faith eliminates fear and tension, which are two of the greatest causes of disease and ill health. Those and other negative mental states such as worry, hatred, and bitterness can contribute to various psychological and nervous disorders, as well as physiological conditions such as heart trouble, arthritis, and stomach ulcers.
Question: I suffer from a chronic medical condition. I asked God to heal me without medical intervention, and I believe He can, but He hasn’t yet. Recently my doctor recommended a course of treatment, which I’m considering. How can I find what’s best for me in this matter?
My friend Rose has been going through a difficult time. Her knees and toes are swollen and inflamed, and sharp pains in her legs keep her awake at night. She has had these problems off and on since she was a teenager, but it was only recently that a series of tests at a rheumatology clinic revealed that she suffers from a particularly debilitating type of inflammatory arthritis. Rose is normally an energetic person, living a busy and full life. Naturally she wondered why she was afflicted with this incurable disease, so she did some research.
When my older sister Evelyn was 16, she suddenly began experiencing excruciating pain in her lower-right abdomen. As the pain intensified, she began running a fever and vomiting. I remember the anxiety and desperation we all felt as my dad rushed her to the nearest hospital.
A doctor in the emergency unit discovered a large gangrenous cyst in Evelyn’s abdomen. The cyst had twisted, cutting off blood circulation and causing the extreme pain. Time sped by in a blur as she was hurriedly prepared for emergency surgery. At home, the rest of us prayed fervently, asking Jesus to protect, comfort, and surround her with His loving presence.
I don’t want you to look at this sickness as something that I stand back and watch you go through—you there and Me here. It’s never been like that, really, and I certainly don’t want it to be like that now.
My heart breaks to see you in pain—not only the physical pain, but also the mental and spiritual attacks that come with it, the thoughts of helplessness and hopelessness, the despair. Please believe that I never allow anything to happen to you, one of My children who loves Me, that’s not in some way for your good. Hang on to that promise.
I’m right here. I know it hurts, and I feel for you. I’m right here by your side. No, I’m not even that distant; I surround you, soothing as only I can. I won’t leave you for an instant.
Some people have long-term illnesses that don’t go away instantly when prayed for. I’m someone whom God has not seen fit to heal right away.
There are medications to relieve the worst symptoms of the immune system disorders and other chronic conditions I suffer from, but no actual cure. The miracle for me is having God’s help and comfort in my ongoing condition. He’s giving me a happy, fruitful life, even though I’m still quite sick.