When the miracle doesn’t look like one

Sometimes we fail to see anticipated answers to our prayers. Days and decades can pass without so much as a glimpse of the change or miracle we seek. Things can actually get worse. More challenges, problems, trials and tribulations occur and we wonder where God is in all of this. What if God answered but the answer doesn’t look or feel as we think it should?

I’ve been praying for physical healing for several years now. Brief respite and remissions have occurred but none were sustained or led to a deeper, more lasting change for good. A general decline has taken place, leading to becoming more housebound and incapacitated. Has God failed to answers those prayers?

I thought that He didn’t want me to be healed for some reason, I wasn’t ready to receive it or healing was being delayed for a more optimal time of God’s choosing. But our heavenly Father’s  greatest desire is for us to be healed and made whole and it’s rarely a one-off event. Our unique healing journey will encompass every facet of our lives, character, personality and calling.

I’m not the person I used to be. A deep, inner work of transformation is still going on in me and you as we are made to be more like Jesus. It can feel like everything we are and know is being painfully pulled in a new direction as we rail against or resist being renewed in God’s way.

What if the healing miracle I seek looks more like: teaching me to be teachable, adaptable and receptive, changing perceptions, defensive walls coming down, altering my outlook and world view? Isn’t this still God at work? I’m receiving deeper emotional healing, a restored marriage, strengthening of faith, hope, courage to tell my story, growing commitment to Christ, new priorities, relationships and friendships, fresh outlets and opportunities. All gifts of grace, aspects of wholeness and treasures mined in dark places, to be recognised and thankful for.

To outside appearances, with my body weakening with M.E and other chronic health problems, it doesn’t look good at all. But on the inside, with eyes open to see, I know my soul is being cleansed and healed, my spirit is flourishing and I am changing as God sees fit.

God works holistically with us. He’s continually working in us to shape us into greater Christ-likeness. Though the paradox of the ‘now but not yet Kingdom’ we are in is that complete healing in this lifetime is not a given.

It is painfully easy to see only darkness, struggle and stress. Though when our focus is on what God has already done and is doing, rather than on what He hasn’t, then we can learn to live with peace and thankfulness in the midst of our current circumstances.

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland” ~ Isaiah 43:18-19

As we allow rivers of grace to wash and refresh us each day, as we lean on God’s mercy and rely on His love to sustain us in our weary pilgrimage, the journey will not seem so arduous. We can rest our heads and let God carry us, bearing every heavy load. He understands how hard it has been and may still be.

One day all will pain, suffering, sickness and struggle will cease. Now we can try to live out our lives with eyes open to grace being poured out on us each day.

Your miracle answer to prayer may look very different than envisaged. I know mine is. My circumstances haven’t changed, physical healing hasn’t come, but I am being given grace to live with and rise above my circumstances, and that’s no less a miracle in my eyes.

9 thoughts on “When the miracle doesn’t look like one”

  1. “All gifts of grace, all aspects of wholeness, are treasures mined in dark places…" How right you are! There are things we need, or greatly desire for our lives, things God desires FOR us, that are not available in any easy, painless, struggle-free way. So the question comes: “How badly do you want it?" You are right, too, that much of what we gain along the journey, and in the dark or dry place along the way, are as valuable as the end destination we are striving toward. And, when we get there, it may look different than we thought it would, and we have to trust our Guide that this really is the place where we are supposed to be. Great blog, Joy! Thank you once again for your humility and perceptiveness as you shared it with us!

    1. Yes, Neil, that does beg a really hard question for us to try to answer. How much do we desire God's will for us over and above our own desires, no matter what? Yet, He is a God of such generosity and grace that it ought to make us able to trust Him through it all. But we falter in our weakness. I firmly believe that the journey is what shapes and makes us. We gain so much as we learn and grow through our time with God. It does all come down to completely trusting "our Guide that this really is the place where we are supposed to be", as you so rightly say. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and insights here!

    2. Dear Joy, I will try to make my response short and to the point ~ Simplicity ~ it is human nature to complicate. Trusting your Guide and complete surrender, here is the crescendo…Grace has already been freely given! The miracle that you speak of… "but I am being given grace to live with and to rise above my circumstances" is and can be life changing! ~ that is a God miracle all in itself!
      Joy, your courage and strength shines from your writings and blesses me. Thank you for your honesty and your love for your Creator.

    3. Dear Kathy, I am living in awareness of all you say here about the miracle of acceptance and "grace to live with and to rise above my circumstances" and it encourages my heart in the process. Any strength and courage displayed is God-given and not my own. He is the One who sustains us in all our trials. Thank you so much for your beautiful comment. Bless you!

  2. Joy, you said it perfectly. Thank you, thank you for being so open to God's Spirit and calling. I love you, my sister. And even though no story is exactly the same, you have written my story too.
    Blessings, sweet friend, blessings from the Lord to you.
    Deborah xxoo

    1. Oh, Debby, that's such a sweet thing to say! I'm so pleased this resonated with you too. Thanks very much for reading and leaving a lovely comment. Bless you, my friend. Xx

  3. I believe your name says it all, "Joy". You understand the blessings and joy whole-heartedly. You definitely have an inside track to what healing and the gifts presented to you. Yet, I will pray for the physical healing as well. Thank you for sharing your story as I appreciate the reminder that the gifts come in many packages!

    1. Yes, let's keep praying for the outer healing while God gets on with the inner one! There is no need to lose heart or faith when our faith is rooted in Christ Himself, not in our measure of it, nor in the healing per se. Our God is the ever faithful One. Thank you, Laura. I really value your prayers and thoughts shared here!

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