“Do you think you have seen healing take place in your body?”
A year ago my dad asked this haunting question, and I was immediately resistant.
This was last summer—three years after my health had declined significantly and one full year after three different procedures of blood and fibrin glue patches being placed along my spine to repair spontaneous cerebrospinal fluid leaks: one at Anschutz in Denver, one at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, and one at Duke Hospital in Raleigh-Durham, NC.
During these three years, I had gone from working my dream job full time to part time to unemployed; I’ve been in and out of a wheel-chair; I go to physical therapy two times a week to maintain mobility to walk and help with pain management and a host of other doctors weekly.
When my dad asked this question my doctor from Duke Hospital had just recommended my husband and I move from Colorado to sea level, away from all of our family, our jobs, and our church family.
In response to my dad’s question I was thinking: Am I back to normal?
I was not hearing the question though.
Have I seen healing?
Now, almost 5 years after the tipping decline of my health, my dad’s question still resurfaces.
I am reading the miracles that Moses and Aaron perform before Pharaoh in Exodus 7: turning the staff into a snake and turning the Nile River to blood. These miracles show the power, the presence, and the reality of God to Pharaoh. But Pharaoh hardens his heart.
I’ve read these sections many times and I’m always critical of Pharaoh: How can you, Pharaoh, see such clear demonstrations of God’s power and still fail to render your heart to God?
The truth is that I’m realizing I am like Pharaoh—given access to the Lord’s marvelous works in my life and those around me yet failing to be moved by His wonders.
My heart says, That’s not enough.
For years I have been critical of Pharaoh, until now. I stand convicted.
In my prayer journal, I confessed to God that I am like Pharaoh:
“I can witness Your miracles, blessings, mighty works—I can see them—and I still harden my heart. I still choose to believe that Your promises are not for me . . . or I am disheartened because they are not for me now.”
I can see the Lord’s mighty works in my life and those around me, yet fail to be moved by His wonders. I cannot help but wonder if there are a couple issues behind this.
I can see God’s gifts and worship the gift, not the Giver. So when the newness of the gift wears off, I wonder why I am left with a hard heart again.
Or my heart is masked as one of Job’s friends. I may not seek to question, let alone explain God like they do, but I may have expectations on how God should miraculously move in my life. And unless He does so, I choose not to be moved. I choose not to respond in worship.
I withhold worship.
After Job’s friends mourned with Job and his loss and sat with him in silence, they then spoke from their own wisdom in an attempt to rationalize Job’s suffering. In response to man’s wisdom, God brings His wisdom:
“Does the rain have a father? Who fathers the drops of dew? From whose womb comes the ice? Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens when the waters become hard as stone, when the surface of the deep is frozen” (Job 38:28-30)?
In this chapter, God finally breaks His silence and speaks to Job directly and perhaps to his listening friends by using a series of more than 70 questions. Not only was God present in the beginning to create water, He is the parent.
Many of the questions suggest that Job and his friends, in their supposed wisdom, have lived since the beginning of time, yet only one has done so–God.
This chapter in Job truly points to God’s preeminence, pertaining to His dominion of the natural creation and our ignorance over its concurrence and harmony: All things work together to sustain themselves because of God, not because of Job, his friends–or me.
As I wrestle with my dad’s question of how God must heal me, I’m failing to see God’s greater narrative in my life.
“Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance?” (Isaiah 40: 12-14)?
As my husband and I left the mountains and plains of Colorado for the sugar sand and water of Florida, I am given an even grander view of God’s majesty: All of this plus me are held in the palm of His hand.
When my dad asked the question of if I had seen healing (not healed), I realized a greater issue—my hard heart to see areas of God’s grace and mercy and His areas of healing in my life. I am dictating to God what wonder in my health, marriage, and life I believe He should perform.
I was the author of my narrow narrative.
I was failing to praise Him for the life He has granted me.
During the first year of my sickness my husband thought I had died during the middle night, twice. Praise God for sparing death!
From complications after a procedure, we now realize how close I was to becoming paralyzed. Praise God for sparing paralysis!
I can sit in a chair with the light on. Gone is the darkness!
I can cook for my husband, which I love to do.
I can walk with my husband.
I’m not held as captive by my pain. I can interact more with those around me.
Sometimes the pain and complications of my health consume our days, weeks, and evenings, but my husband and I share victories from our days, the areas where God has upheld us, carried us, and sustained us.
After all, Jesus Christ is the great Victor, so we can walk victoriously even if we come home from the battle a bit bruised.