When God Says No
When I was 13 I prayed for healing. I read in my bible if you have the faith of a mustard seed mountains will move at your prayerful command. Ask and you shall receive. Seek and you shall find. Knock and the door shall be opened. The Lord heals.
I was home from a month long hospital stay after a fight against systemic infection and a series of surgeries ending in 10 hour microsurgery to save my foot from amputation. My entire body fell prey to the scalpel: an angry red scar stretching from hip bone to hip bone where they took my abdominal muscle out and connected it under a microscope to the dying vascularity on the gaping hole on my foot. My upper thigh raw from the skin graft taken from it. At home, but still unable to have life. Confined to a wheelchair and attached to an IV bag at all times, my foot had to be raised above my heart 24 hours a day except for the three 5-minute stints it was allowed to touch the ground for physical therapy.
I looked down at the foot wrapped with bandages propped on three pillows and took a breath. I closed my eyes and prayed with more sincerity than a 13 year old should be able to muster. I prayed for God to completely heal it: to make it a normal foot again. For a miracle. And I KNEW when I opened my eyes, my foot would be healed. I knew it. I was sure of it. I KNEW it.
When I opened my eyes, it was the same. I wept.
The foot and abdominal surgeries I underwent (7 of them) acted as a catalyst for the rest of my body to be out of wack. Daily pain for 15+ years and the consequences of my foot altering my chain of movement have resulted in chronic migraine and pain. I still prayed for healing. I have had so many earnest and loving hands laid on me in prayer for healing, with true hope and assurance in God’s healing. It has not come.
The truth is, God says no. The pain I face is not the same as the pain you face. But it’s all pain, and none of it is right. None of it is what we are made for. Yet the good God we worship allows it. Out of love, He says “No.”
How can this be love? Because the opposite isn’t. God interfering and disallowing the suffering started by that first sin in the garden would be the removal of the possibility of love. It would be a world of robots and no choices: NO FREEDOM MEANS NO LOVE. We are stuck on this earth as sufferers facing the reverberate effect of sin: disease and destruction and disaster.
Yes, God miraculously heals. He also chooses not to. Both out of complete love and good will for his people.
We have to look no further than the cross to know that God’s love is complete and his goodness untainted for his people. God bled and hurt and died to show us that, and to offer us the CHOICE for freedom from hurt. To have untouchable souls despite the wreckage. To know we were made for the garden, and will be restored there after a little while.