This Tuesday I wrestled through one of my migraines. Nasty, hateful buggers, they are. As I’ve said before, “bad headache” doesn’t begin to cover the pain associated with one. Nausea, sensitivity to light and inability to move captures more the essence of the beast. Regretfully, I texted my mentor, “I’m not going to be able to make it tonight.” In response, she sent me her sympathy and a bold and compassionate prayer, requesting God’s mercy over my head. I almost cried. For one, I appreciated her response. Two, I wish I possessed her faith.
Watching my dad live with habitual migraines (that no herbal remedy, dietary restrictions, exercises, doctors, or prescription drug could touch) conditioned me to view Jehovah Rapha, our Healer, as an attribute of the past (or one granted to other families elsewhere). Despite the fervent, faithful prayers of many (my dad included), he went Home to Heaven 4 years ago. Some of would say cancer got the final word, but I don’t think so.
One of the novels I read this year involved a pastor’s wife dealing with cancer; despite the Christian readers who craved that “ah yes” victory moment, the woman didn’t heal (at least not in the worldly sense of the word). But, she told her friends there were four types of healing: the healing through help (medical and natural advancements), healing of the attitude (perspective alteration), miraculous healing (unexplained by anything but God’s touch), and complete healing (going Home to Heaven). I appreciated the theology. For many argue that a person isn’t healed if they “die.” But, honestly, what further restoration could there be? I realize separation from our loved ones isn’t optimal…for us, but for the person called Home, there’s no greater gift.
I don’t resent God for taking so many believers out “sooner than their time” (whatever that means) because I know where they are going, and believe me, it’s much better than here. Those left behind are the ones who feel the loss–not those who go on. No, I wish He would take us all. Because of my experiences, I don’t expect much healing (not only do I not expect it, I don’t feel that I deserve it…but who does, truly?). For His grace is sufficient, and anything beyond becomes a bonus to the gift we’ve already received.
Flashback to migraine afternoon. Ice pack over my eyes, ears pulsing with the pain, my stomach threatening to empty if I move one inch from complete stillness. My mentor has prayed over me and I’ve returned to bed, expecting little. But, I know Allison’s faith possesses the ability to overwhelm my own anemic deficiency. And like an offering from God, an idea pops into my mind. Try this. I lay on my roller and do some M.E.L.T. stretches. I roll off my spine and take some deep cleansing breaths, nearly crying from relief. The edge is gone. Now, instead of a migraine, I have a dull headache…a manageable one. The gift wasn’t lost on me. The LORD didn’t zap my head, but he did offer me a solution and that something made all the difference.
Does He always work this way? No. He doesn’t always. He doesn’t always take the migraine away…or the cancer; He doesn’t always say “yes” to our wishes. But, what He does do comes from a heart of love.
Do I hate the physical pain some people endure here? You bet. But the discouragement settles in when I see the Enemy taking what breaks us and using it for his means (defeat, rebellion, confusion, fear, anxiety). I care about your grandmother’s heart condition and your child’s stomach virus and your friend’s prognosis, but over those concerns one question lingers: do they know Christ? Do they believe that after all implodes on this earth, He will restore them? Because we do serve a God who rescues, redeems and renews. We may not witness a miraculous healing to our bodies, but what He’s done to the condition of our souls should astound us. Spiritual healing ascends physical healing every time. And that’s why we keep bowing down and singing praise. Our awesome Creator stooped down and said, “Yes, I love you and choose you, and one day, I will make all right again.” We hold our hands open and offer our lives. “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”–Corrie Ten Boom
I Peter 5:10, “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”
Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare[a] and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Psalm 147:3, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”