Exodus 15:26: I am the LORD, who heals you.
Before I jump in, let’s think about something…think about your life…think about ways you have hurt or injured your body over the course of your lifetime. You may have scars, sure, but you’re not still bleeding from that papercut when you were ten. Or how people have wounded you with their words…yes, you can still recall those I’m sure, I know I still can, but they just don’t sting the same way as the first time you heard them. At least I hope they don’t. And that’s because God created our hearts and our minds and our bodies to heal.
Okay, so a current physical healing: back in the Fall, I hurt my feet. It’s a stupid and frustrating story, but basically, I bought a new pair of walking shoes forgetting I desperately need arch support and then started walking in them every day doing my then normal two almost hour walks each day. Which, as you can imagine, ended up messing up my feet to such an extent that I felt so much pain, I had to stop my walks altogether and wondered if my feet would ever recover. I can be a touch overdramatic at times but with my walking being such a huge part of my daily life for not only my physical health but also my mental health and spiritual health with the fresh air and sunshine and time listening to podcasts and praying, I was so discouraged. So I prayed, and my mentor literally anointed my feet with oil, bless her, and I went to a podiatrist, and I started daily stretching, and I got night splints, and I went to physical therapy, and I took ibuprofen, and I rode a stationary bike in my basement instead of walking, so not the same, and I got custom insoles and new shoes and six months later, my feet are about 95% back to what they were and I can walk the same distance and speed with little to no pain, and that is a miracle of healing in my book. Now, to some, that wasn’t God healing my body. That was me doing a million things because I’m stubborn and disciplined and my body and I healed myself. But that’s just not how I look at life. Now sure, had I done literally nothing but pray and pout, I think it’s safe to say I would not be happily walking painfree right now. And to be clear, I do not believe in this often used non scriptural cliché that God helps those who help themselves but I do believe that though God can move parked cars, he typically doesn’t. That we do have agency and responsibility to take care of ourselves. And yet, I could have done these things and not felt any better. Plus this body of mine was made by God. He is my creator. So yes, I’m chalking this up to a physical healing that God did for me with me doing my part.
Now, I have also experienced an actual physical complete healing that had nothing to do with anything I did other than ask God to heal me, and you can hear the whole story in episode 18 but the gist is that at one point in my life, around my early 30s, I had racked up somewhere in the ballpark of, I don’t know, 20 or 30 food allergies. I had gotten tested and I was basically allergic to everything except water, rice and oats, no joke, that’s what my doctor said. So I planned to start getting a weekly shot but a, it cost too much so I let some time go by, but then my generous dad gave me the money to get them, and so I got retested maybe six months later but not before it occurs to me randomly to maybe, oh I don’t know, pray for God to heal me, oml. Unbelievable that it hadn’t crossed my mind. So I prayed, one time, if I remember correctly. Then I go on with my life. And I get retested, and girls, they were all freaking gone. I mean. COME ON. Yes, do people quote unquote grow into and out of allergies? Yep, all the time apparently. But umm, probably not 30 allergies in a few months time (or who knows, he could have just done it right there when I prayed but I didn’t find out til months later). Anyone who wants to come at me with some kind of scientific explanation other than the power of God can just back the frik up because it was him. Jesus healed this poor girl and I have never had to stay away from any food since then. BAM.
So, yes, I believe God heals in tandem with us. And I believe that God still does heal miraculously without us doing a darn thing.
And I believe that sometimes God doesn’t heal a physical thing. For reasons we may never fully know.
This is what Paul says in II Corinthians 12:8-9: I asked the Lord three times to take it away from me. He answered me, “I am all you need. I give you My loving-favor. My power works best in weak people.” I am happy to be weak and have troubles so I can have Christ’s power in me.
We don’t know what the thing is that Paul asked the Lord three times to take away. But we know that God, at least at this point in Paul’s life answered with a no, I am all you need.
Like I said, I’m not feeling well right now. In the past nine months, I have had more health issues all at once than ever before in my life. And it’s a wearying thing. My heart is much more tender and compassionate to those of you and those in my life who suffer physically every day or with a really difficult sickness. And I’m just so sorry. I have no easy answers why God sometimes does heal and why he sometimes doesn’t.
But I also want to talk about relational healing.
I have had so many relationships end in my lifetime, it’s pretty sad. The biggest one, of course, is my first marriage. But I am no longer in the same pain I was during that marriage or when it first ended. Keeping in mind of course, that you’d better believe I prayed for healing of my marriage for almost two decades, and the healing didn’t come in the form of restoration, for whatever reasons only God knows. And now, it’s so crazy to me, there are moments now that I can hardly believe that was even my life. Because God healed me, deep in my soul. Psalm 147:3 says that He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. And Peter says that by His wounds you have been healed.
I can think of a more recent relationship ending where the relationship had been so fraught and rollercoastery for about five years and when it ended, my predominant emotion was relief because I had grieved it. I used to think about this person and our conversations and what I wished I’d said daily for a while there. And now, when this person comes to mind every once in a while, I pray for this person and give them back to Jesus. I literally do not feel the physical and emotional ache and shame anymore. Because God has healed me.
So those two relationships ended but healing came a little bit during but mostly afterwards.
But I had something happen in the past year that has surprised the living daylights out of me because it was one of my most emotionally precarious relationships, one that always felt a little undone, where I couldn’t get a handle on where I stood, there was fear and sadness and again with the shame. But here’s where it gets interesting…I had gotten to a really steady place on my end, with the help of a great therapist and Jesus of course. I felt as settled as I could be and had come to a place of accepting where we stood. And then…only God, girls…there was a miracle clearing of the fog between us and things were said and many tears were shed, well, by me, and it just felt like we both understood each other maybe for the first time, and the thing I had been carrying around with me for most of my life and I’m not kidding, I just wasn’t carrying it anymore. Only God could do that. Only God. In this situation, the healing came along the way, as I processed and did counseling and journaled and prayed and talked things through with people I trusted AND as God moved in us in ways that I cannot explain because his ways are higher than my ways.
So, yes, with everything in me, I believe that God still heals: physically and emotionally and mentally and relationally and spiritually, and sometimes it’s all him and sometimes he wants to partner with us because he’s in it for the growth and sometimes it’s instantaneous and sometimes it’s 51 years, and, also, sometimes we don’t see the healing, and we are called to keep walking in faith anyway.
If you’ve experienced his healing, don’t forget to stop and thank him. And if you’ve been waiting for a long time, again, I’m so sorry, but honey, persevere. Persevere in praying, keep asking and asking for God to bring healing and relief and restoration and strength and love and protection from irritability and self-absorption. And persevere in doing your part, if there are things you can be doing. And perhaps, if you’re able, be someone else’s answer to prayer…pray for someone else who is hurting, write a note, drop off a meal, text a Scripture.
I heard Beth Moore say that God is our Deliverer. He will either you deliver you from your thing, or he will deliver you through your thing, or he will deliver you on home, but regardless, he will deliver you.
Check out my podcast, All That to Say.
Such a great post! I have nothing to add, this is fantastic, just as you wrote it!
Thank you, Patty!