Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Miracle of Healing, Pt. 4

   Today, I'm wrapping up my series on The Miracle of Healing. I'm relieved to be at the end of this series and I'm excited to move on to sharing more of my journey with you. You can find the previous parts of this series by following these links: Part 1, Part 2, & Part 3.

   Here I am, writing about healing, but before I saw any improvement physically, I got worse. Yes, worse! What in the world does getting worse have to do with healing, you might ask. As I've mentioned before, I truly believe God is more concerned with our spiritual health than our physical health.

   As my health continued to decline despite countless prayers, medical intervention sought and lifestyle changes I made, thinking they would somehow better my situation, I realized I was losing control rapidly. The situation was just running away from me. I thought I could somehow control what was happening. Who was I kidding?! I was never in control to begin with!

   I could hardly do anything! The harder I pushed to get better, the worse I got. The more I tried controlling my situation, the weaker I became and soon, my health was so deteriorated, I could barely walk.

   Oh, how my flesh fought, resisted, and resented this humble position of needing others to do things for me that had been so easy before. Needing medication to sleep, needing my husband to wheel me into doctor appointments because I was too weak to walk, needing my mom's help in numerous ways, needing to depend on my older kids for things I could have easily done before. Needing, needing, needing!

   I love to do! I thrive on doing things for others, for God. But God took my ability to do away and as I spent so many long days with Him, over and over He would say, "I love you, not because of what you can do. I just love you." I couldn't understand that. It didn't make sense to this self-sufficient, self-reliant, proud, able-bodied, independent, performance-driven, stubborn-bent person - Me. God just loved me, even though I couldn't do anything for Him? I couldn't be the wife, mom, friend, or Christian that I thought would make God happy. I no longer possessed the ability to be the ideal of all of those roles, or at least the ideal I had in my mind.  All I could do was just sit or lie there and cry at times, and He actually loved me when that was all I could do? That completely blew my view of God out of the water and changed the way I had been looking at Him and at myself. My errored view of myself and God had to be fixed and God used my sickness to remedy those areas.

   The time I spent with the Lord when He was all I had to hold on to in my darkest hours, they are the sweetest that I have ever known. In those moments on death's doorstep, I was so close to God. As I look back at that time now, while I was getting what I thought was a taste of hell, I also can't deny the incomparable intimacy I experienced with the Lord that was as if I were in heaven. I find myself at a loss for words to describe those months. I suppose my best description would be surreal. In the middle of the agony and severe distress, there was God. His presence was so close, so near, and His love covered me and melted my heart which was hurt from lies I'd believed about God and myself.

   While I still pray for physical healing, this isn't my main objective in prayer. I am learning to look past what I want physically and submit to what God is desiring in my life spiritually. I am not to be ordering God around and demanding things from Him, but rather, my life and heart should be centered and ordered around God's will and desires. My desires and requests should be in line with His desires. Jesus is my example as I continue on my journey. He suffered more than I ever will, yet He was God.

   Instead of asking myself, "Why am I suffering?", I think it is important to ask, "Why did God suffer?" When this question is asked, it puts everything in a different perspective and helps me get my eyes off of myself and onto the Lord. Keeping my gaze heavenward and setting my mind to think eternally changes the way everything looks.

   In spite of the conflict that occurs between my flesh and spirit, there really is a peace that surpasses understanding when I am fully submitted to God's will for my life. Sometimes there are just hours in a day when I am experiencing that perfect peace and the other hours are spent battling my will to submit to God's. Some days are easier than others to be content and thankful. Other days it is a fight with my flesh to just say, "thank You, God...Your will be done."

   I am in no way saying this is easy, friends. This trial is the hardest thing I've ever faced. It has tried me beyond what I thought myself capable of enduring and I know that is only because God has been carrying me through this, covering me, sheltering me, protecting me and strengthening me. To think that God loves me so much that He would walk through this AGAIN with me. Yes, AGAIN. I say that because He already endured all this. But He is by my side, journeying with me on this path of suffering that He Himself took alone. I'm not alone. And even more than that, when I think about how much I'm hurting at times, I just remember that my Heavenly Father has me covered and He is the One receiving the heaviest of the blows. The little stones that pass through to me and hurt are nothing compared to what God is enduring for me while we walk through this together. God has my best in mind and I resolutely hold to that as I continue walking this path of suffering. Along the way, there is healing. It just doesn't always look the way we pictured it. But deep down in my heart, I know the healing God has done and continues to do in my life is better than any healing I had imagined or hoped for. Not my will, but God's be done.

   I used pictures from a visit to a butterfly exhibit throughout this post, because I feel at times that I'm stuck in a dark place that I'd like to get out of and I don't see the point of being here at times. But just like a butterfly in a cocoon, there is a transforming work being done in my heart in this dark place that takes time and I believe it is beautiful. One day, I know I will see the beauty that will be revealed that I believe in faith is being developed.

Finding healing in more ways than one,