James was Jesus’s brother who became a believer after Jesus died. In his new testament book, he encourages us to pray when we or others are sick. Check out the beginning verses of his fourth chapter. “Is any among you suffering? …sick? Let him… call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick and the Lord will raise him up. Pray for each another, that you may be healed.”
Our bodies are unarguably mortal. The older you get, the more you know it. But it isn’t age alone that can attack. We are victim to all manner of earthly diseases, sicknesses and upsets of the universe’s order.
Lately, I’ve witnessed a flurry of physical and emotional afflictions, not only in my family, but in myriads of others for whom I care. Pneumonia, painful migraines, fibromyalgia, stomach or elimination discomforts, nerve damage, back pain, depression, marital disharmony, heart irregularities, vertigo, surgery and its after effects, vehicular accident injuries, precarious pregnancy, cancer, addiction situations, job injustices, and death of a beloved.
It is all too much.
I take James’s words seriously. “Pray for the sick, that you may be healed.”
I believe the Lord wants to heal those who follow Him or desire to know more about Him though He may call us to heaven (a complete healing), when our time has come. He waits for us to turn to Him, and calls to us so we’ll turn to Him. Apart from Him, we may as push out to sea in a rowboat, alone, with no life jacket or engine and think we can weather the sun, wind and waves. What ludicrousness!
But with Him, we are helped. He is the Great Physician and all who come to Him are helped.
He gives freely of His many gifts, and tailor suits us to what is best, individually. He doesn’t line us all up and go down the row, giving each of us a bag of survival things like water, magic pills or potions, nor promise to cure our ailments. He is a personal Lord. He meets your need in a finely tuned and specific manner designed for you. With your good in mind. Nice!
He may heal you slowly. He may make you wait. Don’t think He’s not healing you if your suffering is unbroken. Don’t think He hasn’t seen your affliction if at the diminuendo of your life (which to Him is the crescendo into Heaven) He takes you to Himself. He’s there. Exodus 48:35 says that He named Jerusalem “He is with you.”
If your illness or disorder continues, He’s there. You may feel no happy in your life, but He’s there. He may be silent for an interim, but He’s there. You may have temporary relief and then the pain returns. He’s still there. Or He may lift from you the source of your suffering, the most overt example that He’s there. He’s there is all of it. I wonder if He uses pain and suffering to give us something new, something we’ve not noticed or been exposed to. He doesn’t just want to heal us, He wants us to experience Himself. If per chance illness or suffering is a way to get our attention, it is actually quite a wonderful and unconventional gift.
Recently, I began to have great discomfort with inexplicable acid reflex that made me concerned. Since I’m the recipient of a repaired hernia, removed gall bladder and esophageal replacement, it made me fear that my digestive dysfunction had returned. I was able to find intermittent reprieve, but not a cure. I asked the Lord heal me, bring me relief. My worse times of the day were evenings.
While in Georgia visiting my daughter, I was watching a trio sing in a Sunday worship service. I was having reflex discomfort at that precise moment. The singing was so moving, I cried softly. I asked the Lord to please help me and lift the pressure in my esophagus; I told Him I was at His mercy and without His help, I knew I couldn’t recover. As the trio kept singing, I kept crying. When the last song came, Redeemed, its words melted me, and I begged God to redeem me from my pit. I whispered, “Jesus, please lift this condition from me.” Slowly, I felt a small moving inside, a little relief from the esophagus pressure, then a little more and a little more and I knew it was God’s touch. It felt like how you feel when you’re really sick and wonder how you’re ever going to feel better, when all of a sudden you feel GOOD, ready for a meal or ready to exert some energy. Like that! I thanked God, and asked Him to forgive me for worrying that this might only be temporary yet praying it wouldn’t be. It was a slow heal, but a sound one. I still feel relief from the pressure and like myself again. Wow! Though I still have minor issues, I know God touched me. He is there.
I love the song, “I Am the God that healeth Thee,” by Don Moen, and sing it over myself and for others wanting to be healed. It’s on U Tube.
“I am the Lord, who healeth thee.
I am the Lord, your healer.
I sent my Word, and healed your disease,
I am the Lord your healer.
Exodus 15:26, “I am the Lord that healeth thee.”
Psalm 107:20, “He sent His word and healed us.”