“My sister has multiple scoliosis,” she confided in me. “This year she transitioned to using a scooter. My family has had different reactions. My mom is taking a class on miraculous healing; my dad is trying to get everyone to accept it. I don’t know what to think. I finally just asked my sister, “How do you want me to pray for you?”
The healing question. It’s a BIG one. I’ve found myself on the listening end of conversations like these lately, and it’s usually at this point that I ask people if I can give them a copy of Walking with Tension. I’ve wrestled with the same questions myself, and while I haven’t come up with an answer, my hope is that my story is a companion to them on their own journey of faith.
I cannot offer an explanation of why some people are healed and not others. Although, I did ask my friend and pastor Steve Wiens about it and I highly respect the answer he provided on his blog.
Looking back on my own journey, I do, however, want to offer this.
Like it or not, your situation is forming you. Most days, I don’t really think too hard about the fact that I have CP, but some days it is not ignorable. It makes me tired, dictates the clothes I wear, and on occasion causes people to stare. At times, I have felt defeated by fatigue, unpleasant in the face of my wardrobe options, and evaluated by piercing glances. I do, however, agree with Charles Swindoll, “Life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% how you react to it.” When I take the time to slow down, reflect, pray, write, drinking deeply of my life experiences, I’m learning that more is being formed in me than frustration, ugliness, and pain. My fatigue is teaching me how to value rest, my wardrobe limitations have ignited more creativity in my sense of style, and being stared at has light a fire in me to ensure I see others well.
It’s really okay to wrestle with God. I didn’t think so at first. He is God after all, right? Shouldn’t I be at least as polite and controlled with Him as I am with a stranger? And then, I read this fabulous quote by Phillip Yancey, someone who watched his father die from polio because he thought it was a greater act of faith to pray for healing than use an iron lung.
"One bold message in the book of Job is that you can say anything to God. Throw at him your grief, your anger, your doubt, your bitterness, your betrayal, your disappointment--he can absorb them all. As often as not, spiritual giants of the Bible are shown contending with God. They prefer to go away limping, like Jacob, rather than to shut God out."
What has helped me is to Google a picture of Jacob wrestling the angel. There are many different artistic renditions, but after a while, you have to ask, “Are they wrestling or hugging?” At least when you wrestle with God you are being held in his embrace. You are face to face. The lines of communication are wide open. He is our high priest who understands, come boldly before Him.
There is going to be a day when this is all over. Your pain right now is very, very real. I love what Paul writes in 2 Corinthians. Outwardly we are wasting away….the wrinkles are real. The extra 10 pounds surrounding your midline is real. The stamina that you enjoyed a decade ago that seems to have gone mysteriously missing—that actually happened.
Yet, while aging and pain is at work, so is the eternal nature of God in us! Don’t lose heart my friend! There is more to the story: