This was an “exciting” week. It was the kind of exciting week when a husband is away for work and disaster strikes in the form of illness and injury. We had three urgent/emergency doctor’s appointments this week. Jon broke his elbow on the slide pictured behind us. William’s g tube is infected and has been bleeding for days.
There has been quite a battle to get William proper care, but we finally have a plan for Friday. God provided friends who offered meals and encouragement just when I needed it.This uphill battle should be par for the course but my friends, I am so weary. My sons’ pain has worn me down physically and emotionally. Worse, I am tired AT God. Yes, I am exhausted in his general direction because this is the point where temptation to despair is most evident. Grace doesn’t feel sufficient when doctors won’t treat your screaming child and the other one wakes up every two hours, totally terrified that you are gone again. This is when the Devil taunts me, challenging that I am not content in all circumstances. This is when the weight of my children’s health feels like my responsibility because God seems to be taking too long. This is when a healthy family that isn’t in crisis mode seems like a hope that isn’t intended for our family. These are guilt-causing lies, my friends. LIES.
This is the breaking point when faith is beyond feeling. Otherwise resentment, bitterness and doubt set in. This is when it feels like my faith isn’t strong enough, because of course my God is strong enough.
At church on Sunday, a woman who is pregnant asked us to pray for her unborn child. A recent scan showed a potential issue with in the brain and she is scared. As we came to pray, a woman insisted that before we pray for healing, her faith had to be strong enough to dismiss Satan’s power. Healing would come related to the mother’s faith. Um, WHAT?! No. This is a lie from the pit of Hell, and I told them so. Of COURSE, we should pray for supernatural healing from the one who designed this child. We know that God can heal the child and use the testimony. YES, God has performed amazing miracles and healing through prayer. HOWEVER, God often uses what devastates us to make us more like himself. If God doesn’t do an immediate healing, the conclusion is that the problem is the faith of the afflicted. They are no longer in the faithful-elite-class. (Amusing, Paul’s thorn in his flesh wasn’t removed. Was it a faith problem? Hm.) We must be careful what we preach to the deeply wounded.
I reassured the mother that we would be here for them in any outcome and that she is not alone, because that is what you NEED to say to that mother. I WAS and AM that mother.
People suggested my faithful prayers would keep William from having Down Syndrome. They recounted stories of incorrect tests and assurances that doctors don’t know anything, even after I told them it was 100% sure, and that the third chromosome was seen in the blood. They were sure he would be born perfect. William was born complete and healthy… and with Down Syndrome.
God used this blessing despite the prayers. I prayed for leukemia to be absent from his body and for infections to heal. Instead, they were treated. I watched families treat and pray diligently for their children…and those precious ones still died while well-meaning people sent suggestions for chemical-free remedies, proper prayer guides, and even suggested chemotherapy was the wrong course of action. I know, because all of these were given to me.
I can think of another person of great faith who prayed for God to remove something but yielded to a greater plan… Jesus. In the garden the night he was betrayed he prayed for the cup to pass, but “even so Lord, not my will but yours be done.”
Faith brings you through the trial; faith isn’t intended to be an escape hatch. God’s healing is NOT always proportionate to prayer. Prayer is powerful and can bring healing. God has used answers to prayer to stop the sun, stop the rain, to raise the dead to life. Prayer is essential– so don’t misunderstand me. I just want to encourage those dealing with illness, cancer, disability, or even a child who isn’t sleeping that it isn’t caused by a lack of faith. God isn’t refusing to heal because of a lack of your belief that he can and will. Honestly, it does hurt when the answer is a no. It will feel like God isn’t faithful. It feels like God doesn’t love you, even when you know it isn’t true. Don’t cling to that lie. If you’re fighting that, you aren’t alone. I am struggling to cling to God during suffering too. I believe this process is called sanctification.
If you have a struggling friend, just love them. Be the hands and feet before you quote scripture and leave, thinking you’ve done a favor. Pharisees did that. The ones I adore are those who message me prayers, brought me meals, brought gifts for my boys and took care of Jonathan, the child who is always on the back burner while speaking God’s truth because they LIVED it. They helped me feel God’s love and fell in love with my William. We saw God do amazing things, even when he didn’t do what I asked him to do, with faith.
God’s ways are not our ways. That can be really hard to live with. It is also the greatest blessing.