Friday, August 28, 2015

Why Doesn't God Heal Me?

Why hasn’t God healed me? That is the million dollar question for anyone struggling with a chronic or terminal illness. And I don’t have an answer for that question – one I’ve asked many, many times. But I do have a response, one that took years for me to understand. I want to share my journey and hope that my struggles might help someone else in a similar situation.

Eleven and a half years ago, I was struck down by a mystery illness that has left me in a state where my muscles do not work correctly, causing tremors and crushing muscular fatigue. At the time this hit, I was an extremely fit bike racer, the latest in a string of sports dating back to my earliest childhood. I was ALWAYS doing some sport or physical activity. Since the onset of my illness, however, I have become increasingly weak, forcing me to give up more and more activities, to the point where I had to give up working because it was just too fatiguing to even get showered and dressed.

As soon as I realized this condition wasn’t going away, I began asking God to heal me. I asked friends and family to pray for me. People at my church prayed for me. I went to the Healing Center here in Spokane, and had them pray for me. People are still praying for my healing. But I haven’t been healed, or even sent to a doctor who can help me. And, initially, this made me angry. If God loves me, why does He let me suffer? Doesn’t He know how miserable I am?

Greater theologians than I have tried to tackle the issue of suffering, so I certainly don’t have anything to add to that conversation. But what I have learned is that the question “Why hasn’t God healed me?” is not the question to be asking. Because He is God and His ways are higher than ours, there are things we do not understand. But just because we don’t understand things, that doesn’t change who God is or His love for us. If I believed God loved me before my illness, how does that fact change just because I’m disabled? If before I was sick I believed God was on the throne with Jesus at His right hand, how can my illness change that? If before my illness I believed the Holy Spirit was dwelling inside me, giving me strength and guidance, how does my illness negate that? When I realized that my circumstances do not – and cannot – change who God is and how much He loves me, it was a major milestone in my life. It moved my spirit away from despair and into a place of walking with God, regardless of my physical state.

Once I started to grasp that God is still God and that He still loves me, I started learning to live in what Don Piper in his book 90 Minutes in Heaven calls the “new normal” – I may be physically restricted, but I don’t also have to be spiritually restricted! I was no longer burdened with trying to figure out why God wasn’t healing me, and I stopped trying to convince him to. “If I pray for an hour a day, maybe he will heal me” or “I just need to find the right way to ask for healing” or “I just need to discover what God is trying to teach me through this, and then He’ll heal me” were all ways that I struggled to make God heal me. When I realized that focusing on my lack of healing was really hindering what God wanted to do in my life, here and now, I felt a huge burden lift off my shoulders. No, I don’t know why God hasn’t healed me, but that is not going to stop me from moving forward with my life – even a life that is so physically restricted.

Let us never forget that God is in the business of turning dark into light, defeat into victory – so He can certainly take my disability and make something good come of it. Do I still wish He would heal me? Every. Single. Day. But now I focus on Him, and live in expectation for what He will create in me. My disability doesn’t disable God!