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.