I had just met the elderly, heavy-set woman at the dinner party. Without any prompting from me, she told me I needed physical healing (I did; I had a long-running, chronic illness). She said the reason I hadn’t been healed was because I had allowed Satan to keep me in bondage, but if I started praying in faith, God would take my sickness away.
I was a little jilted. I certainly thought I was praying in faith; and if I wasn’t, I knew a number of people who were. Although I knew she meant well, I ultimately shrugged off her comments. Maybe I did have unbelief in my heart; maybe Satan was vexing me – but either way, I figured God was big enough to help my unbelief or drop kick the devil.
I had seen God miraculously heal people before, and if He was going to take His time with me, I could live with it.
It Hit Home
Although I could dismiss the input of the well-meaning lady when it came to myself, this past week brought a new challenge: the simultaneous sickness of my wife and two daughters.
It wasn’t like they got cancer, but they were all extremely miserable due to viruses, ear infections, endless sinus drainage, and/or intense bouts of coughing. It doesn’t sound so bad until you listen to a child wheeze with congestion because she can’t even blow her own nose. And it only gets worse when you try to comfort her, but her throat is so raw from coughing that all she can do is hoarsely scream out in pain, her reddening face wet with tears.
Beyond medicating her, there was nothing I could do but beg God to heal her. And when she kept shrieking in pain, I began to get frustrated with Him, frustrated that He didn’t instantly take away her sickness. Scripture teaches that there’s healing power in Christ’s name. Did I not say the right words when I prayed? Was I not holding my mouth right?
As I said to a friend in an email, “My wife and both girls are really sick, and it stinks. I’m like, ‘God, can I please have one of those instant healings for my family? What’s the criteria for that?'”
I don’t know the criteria. And I don’t believe the people who claim to know the criteria, no matter how well-intentioned they may be. Those people still get headaches and broken ribs; they still deal with colds and skin cancer – and well, they all die. At the same time, I don’t want to be like those people who are too afraid to ask for the impossible, so they just pray, “Whatever is Thy will, Lord.”
With all this in mind last week, I went to God and basically asked, “What gives? Why are they still sick? I don’t get it. What’s the point in even asking You to heal them if they’re all going to stay sick?”
He didn’t speak audibly; there was no writing on the wall; but like an arrow into my brain, the Spirit brought a scripture to my mind:
And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened (Luke 11:9-10).
But what if there’s no instant healing? “Keep on asking.”
And what if things get worse? “Keep on seeking.”
What if it seems like I’m talking to a wall? “Keep on knocking.”
Because when I seek healing from Christ – no matter how He responds to my prayer – I find that it eventually leads me to Jesus. And the promise of Scripture is fulfilled when I find what I was actually seeking all along: Him.