From the Old to the New Testament, so many stories and examples of divine healing have been recorded for us to read about in the Bible. They encourage us to believe God is not only able to heal, but willing to heal. People with skin conditions, inability to conceive, blind, deaf, suffering with high fevers, palsy, epilepsy, cancers, tumors, mental illness, any condition we can think of, each account helps strengthen our faith in God to heal, not just some conditions, but any ailment, disease and all sickness.
We read the stories, we are inspired to pray with fresh faith and renewed hope for healing. But what happens when we pray, call on the faithful to pray with and for us, enlist the spiritual leaders of our church to pray over and anoint us with oil. We fast and do all the things Scripture direct us to do in our circumstances, yet no healing comes. Our prayers for healing remain unanswered.
Naturally our hope is stifled, our spirit deflated, our instinct is to question our approach, give in to the devil’s temptation to doubt God, disbelieve what we have read with our own eyes, and give up praying, trusting, hoping for healing in our situation. Our mind is always plagued with questions and wondering why God chose not to heal us but did heal others. We question our own faith: maybe we don’t have the kind of faith we read about in the Bible after all. We are perplexed, resolved to be an unwilling prisoner to sickness and infirmity.
As much as we would love an explanation from God, we seldom receive one. We are forced to keep living as best we can while enduring pain, sickness, and infirmity. Accepting results of medical tests even when we don’t want to claim the conclusion. When healing is delayed the natural instinct is to become weary and hopeless.
The woman bent over, as Luke writes in his Gospel, waited eighteen years before her healing came. That meant she was praying and waiting for approximately 6,570 days, 157,680 hours, and 94,608,000 minutes! But every day she waited and kept hoping in faith that the Lord would heal her. God bless her spirit of perseverance and deep faith! We pray God give us the strength to possess even a tenth of what she had!
What is God up to when healing is delayed? We know he is not just sitting idly in heaven, twiddling his spiritual thumbs while we suffer. We know he does not leave nor abandon us in our time of sickness no matter how lengthy it is. We know he comes to strengthen us so we can endure one more day, one more test, one more disappointment. We know his love is unconditional and steadfast and while we may not experience healing in our body somehow we feel it in our soul and being. And we learn that even in the element of mystery surrounding our sickness God is present in a supernatural way. We can see, when we look back that it was God alone who made us brave and courageous throughout. Brave to endure yet another medical test or treatment, another doctor visit, another shot in the arm, blood draw, scan and consultation.
How can we stay encouraged when we are waiting a long time for God to heal us? When we don’t get any answers? When there are no medical explanations why we are suffering for so long or to the degree we are suffering?
Even when Job was suffering and sitting by the ash heap, asking God so many questions about his suffering God gave no answers. Instead, God gave Job something better, the same gift he gives to all of us during sickness or extended trials that never seem to come to an end: he gave Job and us a deeper awareness of Himself. He allowed Job and allows us to see the God of our salvation, the God of grace, comfort, help, strength and encouragement.
Oh God, may we never lose sight of the fact that you are able to heal. You are! You are even willing to heal, but you also choose whom you will heal this side of heaven. It is a mystery that cannot be solved by mere humans. In those times our healing is delayed help us to accept your will with grace and to continue hoping trusting and looking to you because you have not left us and will never abandon us. Draw closer to us, Lord than we can possibly imagine in sickness or in health. Help us always, through every circumstance to see the God of our salvation, the God of grace, comfort, help, strength, and be encouraged through what we see to keep holding on to your unchanging hand. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Scriptures to Reflect and Keep You Encouraged When Healing is Delayed
Healing may not come but God’s strength always does.
(Isaiah 40:29) He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.
When you are feeling weary and worn down by sickness.
(Matthew 11:28-30) Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
God’s grace is all-sufficient.
(2 Corinthians 12:9) But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.
The comfort God gives you now can be used to comfort others later.
(2 Corinthians 1:4) Blessed be the God and Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
When you feel alone in your sickness.
(Hebrews 13:5) I will never leave you nor forsake you.
We share in the suffering of Christ Jesus.
(2 Corinthians 1:5) For as we share abundantly in Christs’ sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.
Be encouraged to wait on God for everything.
(Psalm 27:14) Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!
When you want to rush in front of God.
(Psalm 46:10) Be still and know that I am God.
Healing is part of God’s divine plan and purpose.
(Exodus 15:26) Saying, if you will diligently listen to the voice of the LORD your God, and do which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, your healer.
Do not hesitate to call upon those of faith in the Church to help. Have you remembered to do this?
(James 5:14-15) Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up.
Sickness is scary but God does not want you to be afraid!
(Isaiah 41:10) Fear not, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
There is nothing you cannot do with God‘s strength.
(Philippians 4:13) I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
In returning to God in prayer and meditation you will be strengthened.
(Isaiah 30:15) For thus said the LORD God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.
When we feel fragile and giving up.
(Psalm 103:14) For he knows our frame; he remembers we are dust.
Praying to God when you are wondering about why you have not been healed.
(Jeremiah 15:18) Why is my pain unceasing, my wound incurable, refusing to be healed? Will you be to me like a deceitful brook, like waters that fall?
There is no sickness beyond Christ;’ touch or power to heal.
(Matthew 8:16-17) That evening they brought to him many who were oppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.
Remember how the Lord forgives your sin also.
(Psalm 103:2-5) Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.