In 2009, I began experiencing mysterious, migraine-like symptoms that came out of nowhere. When the symptoms worsened over the course of several weeks, I went to a doctor.
The doctor ordered a number of tests, including a 48-hour EEG, which required me to walk around for two days with a bunch of wires stuck to my head. After they applied the wires, I looked in the mirror, and it only seemed to confirm that I probably had some weird disorder that couldn’t be fixed.
I had seen a handful of bizarre miracles in my lifetime, but for some reason, that day I gave up hope that God would heal me.
The French Lady Jumps In
That afternoon, I went to a pharmacy to buy a cheap hat to cover the wires. That’s when I was approached in the greeting card aisle by a beautiful, deeply-wrinkled, elderly woman with silver hair bunched on her head.
In a heavy, French accent she asked, “What happened to you?”
I paused for a second, taken aback by the abrupt question and her fierce, blue eyes.
“Um – well, I actually don’t know,” I said. “The doctors are trying to figure it out.”
“Do you believe that God is going to heal you?” she asked.
“Yes,” I said sheepishly, figuring that was the right answer.
That’s when she broke out into French.
“Ne t’ai-je pas dit que, si tu crois, tu verras la gloire de Dieu?” she said, and then translated: “Did I not say to you if you believe you will see the glory of God?” (John 11:40).
“I do believe,” I said, making a poor attempt to sound confident. “Thank you.”
“No – thank the Lord,” she said. “He is the one who will do it. You know, we owned ten houses and three apartments in France when the Germans came to get us. They told us there was no way we would escape to Genoa to get on the boat to America, but I believed God, and here I am today. Remember: ‘Si tu crois, tu verras la gloire de Dieu’ – ‘If you believe you will see the glory of God.’ You must believe.”
As I looked into her eyes, I couldn’t help but believe her. She spoke to me with such conviction, as if she had been to the future and seen it herself. I smiled at her and said, “I believe,” but this time I meant it.
“God will do it,” she said, and then she said goodbye “with a kiss – two kisses” on my cheeks.
I walked out of the pharmacy wearing my black stocking cap and feeling like I had just had an encounter with God Himself, and I was fairly convinced I wouldn’t experience any more symptoms after that – but unfortunately, the symptoms came back within an hour. And after the doctor reviewed the test results, she concluded that something was wrong, and I would have to live with it for the rest of my life.
Hard to Believe
I’ve never forgotten the French lady, and I’ve wanted to believe her, but almost every time I’ve asked God to heal me, I’ve wrestled with a low-grade level of insecurity. It wasn’t until last week that I figured out why: I’m simply afraid He’s not going to do it. And why wouldn’t I be? I’ve probably asked Him hundreds of times and He hasn’t done it yet. Maybe I’m not getting the message.
I mean, what if God is like, “Stop asking to be healed of this, and start praying for starving kids in India, for crying out loud. I have sovereignly allowed this to happen to you, and anyway, I have better things to do – obviously.”
Or maybe He’s like, “Joshua, I would be perfectly happy to heal you – if you would pray in faith – and I ain’t talking about this half-baked faith you’ve been serving up. I’m talking about walk-on-water stuff. Go back to your prayer closet and get it right if you want a miracle.”
These trains of thought have been effective at one thing: convincing me to stop praying about it at all, which I often do for long periods of time.
Keeping it up
The other day, I remembered something very basic about God: He’s a good Dad. And here’s the thing about good dads: they aren’t indifferent to the legitimate needs of their children; they don’t reprimand their kids for asking for help; and they don’t play weird, psychological games with their kids’ requests.
If that is true of earthly fathers, then surely it is true of God. But if He’s such a good dad, then why hasn’t He healed me? I mean, if my daughter had some condition and I had the cure for it, I wouldn’t just look at her and say, “Trust me” – unless I had something better for her.
It occurred to me that God’s own Son told us to “keep on asking,” so there must be something inherently good about me repeatedly coming to Him for help. It also means there are going to be times when we don’t immediately get the answer we want – otherwise we wouldn’t need to “keep on.” With that in mind, I’m just going to pray for healing until God does it.
Yes, French lady, I believe – and it’s opening my eyes to see the glory of God.
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Thank you Joshua for this wonderful message. While I don't have a medical issue, this blog entry can be applied to many other situations. Also, thank you for being honest about what you sometimes think God is saying when he doesn't heal right away; many of us have the same private conversations in our minds, if we are honest with ourselves.
I was always under the impression that if I asked God for something more than once then I had little faith. Thank you for reminding me that there is nothing wrong with asking more than once. I feel now that such actions show our willingness to believe in what God can do for us. Thank you
Awesome. Mission accomplished.
Man I needed this. I really feel like you are sometimes (often) writing these just for me. Thank you so much for the reminder & the encouragement to keep on praying. I feel like Dori in Nemo…"just keep praying, just keep praying" (insert cute singing voice).
Joshua,It's interesting to note the contrast in the attitude of the modern church with respect to healing and the accolades to the heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11. Certainly, some were healed or delivered from dire circumstances. However, OTHERS were sawed in half, persecuted, hated…these ALSO are heroes of the faith.Much of the modern church has totally ignored those heroes of the faith who never saw deliverance from their trials. They have egregiously linked faith only with those who experienced miracles.Perseverance under trial and tribulation is every bit as much a sign of faithfulness to the king we serve. Simple trust in a God who is good – IN SPITE of what we experience – that's the kind of faith that grabs our Father's attention.
I hear you Russell, but you'd better believe that if I'm ever about to be sawed in half, I'm going to "keep on asking" for divine intervention until they start ripping me apart (and I hope that as I do that, the Lord will see that as simple trust).
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Joshua, remember that when you were being ripped apart emotionally, and were praying constantly, the LORD indeed answered your prayers and removed you supernaturally from that situation!
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