I long to be healed.
My pain is constant.
Without going through the entire backstory, after a case of shingles in January of 2017, the trigeminal nerve on the left side of my face was damaged. As a result, I can’t chew on that side of my mouth. I also can’t touch it without pain. Simply moving it results in jabs of pain. Follow this link if you want the long version.
And so, I long to be healed.
But, so far, healing has evaded me in spite of pursuing it through prayer, medical doctors, pain management doctors, chiropractors, acupuncturists, and a variety of other options – medial and holistic. [I’ve been complimented (?) on my ability to mask it, but being stoic is a skill I worked hard to develop 30 years ago. Overall, I have found it to be problematic, but, in this case, it works!]
When I read Matthew’s account of Jesus healing, it stirs hope in my soul.
A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” Matthew 8: 2-4
I have prayed those words with hope many times. “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” I know that Jesus, if He so chooses, can make me whole.
And yet, He has not.
Do you know what? It’s ok.
Have you ever considered Paul’s words to the church in Corinth?
The things God showed me were so great. But to keep me from being too full of pride because of seeing these things, I have been given trouble in my body. It was sent from Satan to hurt me. It keeps me from being proud. 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. I receive joy when I am weak. I receive joy when people talk against me and make it hard for me and try to hurt me and make trouble for me. I receive joy when all these things come to me because of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2nd Corinthians 12: 7-10
These words, while difficult to read when you are suffering, are also incredibly encouraging to read when you are suffering. Each day, I must make the intentional choice to confess my weakness and allow the power of Christ to work in and through me. In doing that, I receive joy!
We can’t really compare our struggles with those of the people in the New Testament. Jesus had a mission – to offer His life as a sacrifice for our sins. He came so that we might be reconciled with the Father.
As He walked this earth, He taught and He demonstrated the Power that He, the second person of the Trinity, had to reveal Who He was. Not only did His teachings confound those who believed in strict obedience to the Law, His actions revealed amazing depths of love.
When He healed the man with the skin disease, He did so for the man. He instructed the man NOT to tell anyone but to go and comply with the Law. After that, Jesus healed the servant of a centurion without ever seeing or meeting the paralytic:
When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.” Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?” The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment. Matthew 8: 5-13
Doesn’t that tell you how much Power and authority Jesus had?
A person was surprised when the individual prayed over me and I was not instantly healed. The person believed that it was going to happen after the prayer. It didn’t. Does that mean I don’t have enough faith? I don’t think so.
I think it simply means that God has given me this and I am supposed to trust Him. Yes, I believe that Jesus can heal me or anyone else. But I believe He is the One who heals. It’s up to Him to determine the time, place, and means.
I’ve known my amazing and wonderful mother-in-law for 25+ years. She’s blessed the family with countless meals while we stared at her empty chair. While she always eats, she typically takes care of a multitude of things after everyone has been served. Why do I mention this? I think of her with the next healing Jesus did:
And when Jesus entered Peter's house, he saw his mother-in-law lying sick with a fever. He touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and began to serve him. Matthew 8: 14-15
Let’s be clear. Jesus didn’t heal her so that she could serve them. He healed her as a visible demonstration of His compassion and power. What I am amazed at is that He healed her so completely that she got up and was FULLY healed. Some commentators speculate that it might have been malaria (given the location and her fever). Whatever it was, most of us would need some recovery time. She was fully restored.
Matthew shares that Jesus went on to heal more – the sick and the demon-possessed. He healed all that were brought to Him.
Again, I believe Jesus could heal me if that was (is) within the will of the Father. Others may disagree with me and that’s ok. I still believe in healings.
Here’s the thing though. We don’t get to dictate the time, place, or method. That’s simply not within our purview. Honestly, I’m glad it is not because I’m sure I’d manage to mess it all up anyway!
Let me close by offering what I hope is some encouragement to you.
He is sovereign and He knows.
He is omniscient and He knows.
He is everything so, you guessed it, He knows.
Whatever is going on in your life, have faith that He can heal, He can resolve, He can protect, He can do whatever you might request Him to do.
If it is within His will.
If it is not, then you can still trust Him. Why? Because He has something better in store. It may be today. It may be tomorrow. It may be years and years down the road. Whatever it is, you can still trust Him.
He is good.
His mercies endure forever.
That’s a reason to rejoice and have hope.
Yours in Christ,