A sweet friend passed away last week after a three-year battle with cancer. In my mind, his death feels so premature. At 66 years old, it seems he had so much time left to do the Lord’s work. He was such a faithful servant of God, and I can’t imagine why it was his time to go when he impacted so many people for Christ.
I also do not understand why he had to suffer from cancer for three years. In his mercy, I wish God would have made his journey easier. In my flesh, I feel like he deserved an easy passing instead of a long, difficult journey.
But, I know that God is sovereign. I know that the testimony my friend had until the day he died impacted many, many people. I know that God’s plan is much bigger than this one man, and, if his suffering brought others to Christ and ultimately demonstrated God’s glory, this is what God allowed.
It has been truly amazing to watch how his family has clung to God and trusted him through the past few years. What a beautiful picture of faithful submission to his will. I absolutely treasure their testimony.
This said, I’m working through my feelings about the power of prayer in situations such as my friend’s. So many times, people prayed for my friend. Not only did they pray for comfort and strength for him, but they also prayed for his healing.
To my dismay, the Lord did not choose to heal him this side of heaven; rather, God chose to bring him home and give him a healed heavenly body.
So, then, why does God choose to heal some people and not others?
Another of my friends called last week and told me that God had miraculously healed her 14-year-old daughter of a lifelong disease that was causing blindness.
She was diagnosed with the illness as a child and continued to lose her vision at an alarming rate. Two months ago, an opthamologist told her she was legally blind and would never drive. A couple of weeks later, a neurologist told this precious girl that she suffered serious damage to her nerves and was losing her reflexes.
As you can imagine, the teenage girl was bewildered. But, she looked both non-Christian doctors in the eyes and told them that God would heal her.
Though the doctors dismissed her statement, God met her at her faith.
When she returned to the opthamologist week before last, he was completely perplexed. When he conducted the vision test, he found that my friend’s daughter was not only no longer legally blind, but her vision had improved from 20/200 to 20/100 in a matter of a few weeks. Unbelievable.
Then, when she returned to the neurologist, he discovered her reflexes were absolutely perfect. He had no explanation.
With both doctors’ declarations, she smiled and said, “I told you that God would heal me.”
They were speechless. Neither could come up with a medical reason why she would have improved when the nature of her disease typically meant further decline.
Talk about God getting glory for his miraculous healing.
After hearing this inspirational story, I felt led to walk out my own healing.
You see, I came down with a pretty bad case of vertigo 13 days ago and I was so concerned that it would not go away in time for my weekend plans. My parents were coming into town for my baby showers and I wanted to feel well so that I could attend and enjoy this time with family and friends.
So, I prayed for the Lord to take the vertigo. I got up, tried to shake off the dizziness, and begged God to make me well.
I admit that I was pretty disappointed when he chose not to heal me on the spot.
However, that night, when my parents arrived, a sweet thing happened. For the first time in my life, my parents prayed over me. All holding hands, my mom was at my head, my husband at my feet, and my dad in between. Each took a turn praying, and I immediately felt somewhat better. By the next morning, the vertigo was not completely gone, but it was tolerable. Though I could not drive, I was able to attend each of my showers and enjoy my time with those I loved.
What a sweet testimony for my parents to see God’s answer to prayer firsthand.
Over the course of the next few days, I continued to contend with vertigo. Though I couldn’t drive, I could still attend work and function fairly normally ... until last Thursday, when the vertigo got much worse and I could not stand without getting queasy.
I made an appointment with my ENT specialist who did not offer the news I had hoped.
He told me that I likely have a viral ear infection and would just have to wait for it to pass ... which could take anywhere from one to eight weeks. He recommended I clear my schedule and do nothing but rest.
I have adhered to his advice and have not yet improved.
I cannot work. I cannot drive. I cannot even ride in a car. I cannot walk around. I cannot watch TV. And I cannot read or write unless I close one eye. I am completely dependent on God and others.
And my baby is due in five weeks.
As you might imagine, there are so many loose ends to tie up at work and home before our little girl arrives, yet I have no choice but to be still.
Though this is so difficult, I am choosing to maintain joy. I do not fully understand why God is not healing me quickly or immediately answering the prayers of all who are interceding for me, but I know that he is allowing this trial for a reason.
I know that he wants me to know that when I am weak, he is strong. He wants me to rely on him to be my provision. He wants me to be humble enough to allow others to minister to me. And, he wants me to exemplify trust and faith instead of fear, doubt and anxiety.
I also believe that he wants me to learn that there will always be trials, but he will be my refuge and my strength no matter what I encounter.
Therefore, I am trying very hard to keep my chin up and not question his sovereignty.
I praise God for being the kind of father who allows us to go through trials to grow. And, I praise him for giving us the gentle reminder that our experiences are never just about us. People are always watching, and there are always opportunities to direct them to God with our actions and reactions to every circumstance.
I pray that no matter what I go through, I will continue to remember what he promises in Romans 8:28: He works all things together for the good of those who love him ... even if it means my vertigo lasts a bit longer than I would prefer. Even if it means he takes my friend to heaven sooner than I wish. Even if it means I have to face some of my greatest fears.
In the midst of my trials I will choose to walk out my faith ... thanking him even when there is not immediate healing, praising him even when I don’t understand his reasoning.
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4, NKJV)
Misty Shultz holds master’s degrees in marriage and family counseling and Christian education. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.