When I was in my early twenties I had an unknown illness – not unknown to God, but the doctors could not identify it. I learnt 40 years later that a number of people suffer and may end their life from an unknown disease. The problem is that people expect to “see” an illness. We now know that there are illnesses that are less obvious, from an external point of view, but are as real as any illness known to man.
We need a different approach to helping people with such illnesses compared to the traditional methods such as repairing broken bones, or providing a medicine for the cure. Adapting to these different kinds of illnesses is humane. Some people will not do so, unfortunately, and I believe this brings tears to God.
We are used to regarding an illness as being short-term.
As we grow up from childhood to adulthood, we experience events of affliction, infirmity, illness, where usually we mend or repair. However, some illnesses do not present themselves in this way. As a result, it is distressing. The tragedy is when others move away from us, thinking we are under a delusion. We are abandoned. It is important for us to have recognition of our situation. Sure, it may be compounded by various impacts, but the total illness needs support, regardless of the levels of pain or suffering. We are called to be compassionate towards each other.
Some people do not have the patience to deal with longer term illnesses, and can be basically, selfish. They expected to have an idea of life, like a fantasy, without such trials around them. The reality is that no one is immune from the fallen state of this world, illnesses or infirmities. It is more so evident over time as we consider these things that healing is a hallmark of the Lord’s work. I feel we need to want that work more.
Many times we generally are unable to identify with suffering of what form or type it takes, unless we too have been in a similar situation. One does not need to be dealing with cancer, in order to know uncertainty, tears before God, fear, financial loss from medications, ongoing treatments, humiliation from being sick, restricted functionality, the dismay of seeing our own bodies deteriorate, and so forth. But there are different kinds of things in life where it is then even more important to believe and trust those who have the familiarity with that area of illness. We must look to one another and not be isolated. Our Lord helps us to foster this trust. It is an injustice when someone ignores our sickness or worse, takes advantage of it.
There are those times we may cry out that we cannot bear a situation. We reach a limit to our endurance and capacity for dealing with an extreme illness with someone in such a condition. It is my experience to be honest in these feelings and thoughts before God. It is helpful to pray even as one is walking from a car park in a hospital to see someone you love. I recall distinctly letting God know I really did not like walking into the RPA hospital when visiting a friend.
I have mentioned the judgemental aspect of illness. But there is also the responsible aspect. How do I give of my life to someone else. What can I do? What can I not do? Who do I need to talk about this with? These are tough scenarios. There are infirmities or afflictions that people are afraid of. Some of this reveals the true metal of a man, or sadly the deeper problems. Jesus was able to deal with all these situations. There was none he did not handle in great compassion, and with the Holy Spirit’s healing power. The least we can do is pray for someone in need. The world works by physical things it sees, but the Bible teaches us that the spiritual life is real and prayer is a fundamental basis of it.
If we have a broken leg, we need crutches to help us walk. If we have certain medical conditions, we need others to lift us up in prayer, saying the words out aloud for us, with us, as we are too ill to even know what to say, apart from our private daily conversations and groaning with the Lord. The Body of Christ ministers one to another. For those who are willing, the Lord teaches us to minister to one another, as He would. Even though the Lord would minister exceedingly better, we learn to behave as our master – who was the one washing the disciples’ feet.
Now I come to my miracle of healing.
I was in Australia, but had friends in New Zealand. My illness was growing worse. I had an inner “drive” to go to New Zealand and see them again. I did not know my condition was worsening.
One morning I felt it was time to leave this earth. I was ready to die, and I told God I was ready to die. I was young. I felt I was about to go.
Minutes after that confession, the minister’s wife (my friends) said they and the elders would like to pray for me. At the altar, the young elders, the minister and his wife, laid hands on me, anointed me in oil, and prayed for my healing.
I stood up, and as I turned from the altar, I was immediately healed. It left me, whatever it was. We know when a thing is absent, and it was gone.
That illness never came back. The Lord since reminded me it was indeed permanent.
How do we comment on such healings? I tend to think that healing brings us closer to God. We cannot work it all out. We make dreadful mistakes. We have other afflictions and need the doctor, or even the hospital. Healing, to me, represents a promise from God, that one day we will be with Him, in our new bodies, real and actual, without any form of disease. It talks to me about God’s perfection. We see the world around us dimly now. One day we will see colour and light as they are. We will feel vibrations as they are. We will hear sound as it truly is.
There was no big deal after my healing, but of course, I was alive. Maybe I did change my disposition. I had to pray and think very carefully about whether to stay in New Zealand, or go back to Brisbane and study. I sometimes think I could have stayed – there would be grace either way.
There have been other healings in my life. I won’t go into those details here. Usually people, including myself, do not know how to respond to a miracle. Some dismiss it, and put it down to the mind, or human energy. Some are just amazed. I have my own experience of this and I do not see it as mystical human energy, but that is another discussion. We see through the healing ministry there is much more going on than our regular work life. When we begin to change direction, we say, let God do His thing. Why do I want to try to do my own? What does God want to teach me this week at Church? We spend more personal time with God. This is a good direction.
It is when we make a deeper contact with people who are seeking God, we change, and encounter spiritual meaning and distinct change. When we both take time to talk to God, to read the Bible (His Word), to pray, and to spend time with others on the Christ given journey, we are blessed in ways we did not know before. We can be faced with great challenges and experiences that grow our faith in real ways.
On the lighter side of healing, we may discover some simple changes. For example, I once I had more sick days than any other employee. Today, this is not the case. I have fewer colds, some years go without a cold, and any cold is less severe. Since the age of nine, I had pain in my ears from the pressure in airplane cabins. Now I have none. At the healing ministry, we prayed on this. During my life I had continual nightmares, from time to time, of falling off cliffs or walls. I got sick of it and asked God, what was causing it. A childhood memory came to me, and I prayed for it to be bound up and removed from me, to have healing, and repair. It was the memory of being trapped on top of a shipwreck. I’ve never had those nightmares since.
But other illnesses that have been a great trial, and I aim to go through those with God. I have no illusions about human nature, and why we must have, need, and want to have God with us for our lives now and into eternity. I make no mistake about this.
God’s love be with you.