Monday, January 12, 2015

Answered Prayer, Part 2: What If?

Last week, I posted about the healing that the Lord has granted me recently. If you read that post, you know that I have had great success with a recent therapy technique, and am feeling much better than I have in years. But, as I mentioned in that post, there is always the nagging fear in the back of my mind that the pain and dysfunction may return as time passes. What if it comes back? Will I lose hope again, and end up back where I was before I surrendered this issue to the Lord?

The answer to these questions depends on whether I remember the lessons I have learned: It is not physical therapy, or medications or surgeries or anything else of this world that heals us. It is the Lord. Job 5:18 says, “For He wounds, but He also binds up; He injures, but His hands also heal.” You may not always know His reasons for your wounds, but you can be sure that he is fully sovereign over them. Sometimes we do discover, as we go through difficulties, that they are for the purpose of chastening, as this passage in Job instructs us. I never did really figure out the reason for my suffering, other than the general purpose of God’s glory. Maybe it was discipline from the Lord, and maybe it wasn’t. But I do know for sure that it was His hand that wounded; His hand that now has healed; and His hand that will sustain me, regardless of how long my improvement lasts.

It is vital to our faith that we remind ourselves constantly about the sovereignty of God over all aspects of our lives. Are you suffering? God knows, and He will sustain you until the day of your healing, whether that is here in this world, or when you meet Him face to face. Does your physical disability make it difficult for you to earn a living? Fear not, my friend! God knows your needs (Matthew 6: 25-34). We often slip into a pattern of thinking that we are providing our own material needs. But, in reality, it is God who provides. So, no matter what is happening in this world, the same One who has provided for us all our lives will continue to do so. It may be through different means, but the same Provider will faithfully continue to come through. His presence and provision are seamless.

Are you grieving a loss? Job 1:21 tells us that the same Lord who gave us whatever was so precious to us, has also taken it away. Maybe you have lost your ability to walk. Maybe you can no longer use your hands. Perhaps your vision is failing. God knows your heartache. He gave you that strength or skill or vision in the first place, and He knows how painful it is for you to lose it now. If it was the best thing for you, he would heal you right now, as you read these words. But if He doesn’t heal your physical body, He has promised to heal your heart. Psalm 147:3 says that He “…heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Ps 147:3).  

This brings me back to my original question: What if the results of this therapy are not permanent, and my pain and dysfunction return? Well, if that happens, it is of the Lord, and the same principles will apply. Whether I lose hope again really depends on how I think about it. If I become self-focused and self-pitying, then I will end up back where I was before. But, if I consider it through the lens of God’s sovereignty, I will be grateful. Grateful that He gave me even a moment of pain relief. He did not have to do even that. Grateful for His grace that has sustained me all these years and will continue to sustain me, regardless of what happens. And grateful for all that He is teaching me in this precious pain.

My sovereign God loves me, and His desire is to make me like Him. Is He your God, too? Your healer? Your sustainer? Then trust in Him for your “what if”.