“We, in the deep recesses of our hearts, believe God will withhold rather than direct our care. It is our long-held lie.”
John Enslow, Commonsense Care for Myself
John’s posts about health and healing have been a much-needed shredding of my heart. And when I read what John wrote, it felt like someone punched me in the left kidney. I was utterly exposed by that post! But I’m so glad, because it led to repentance. And as I repented, I recalled the revelation I had about how my values differ from what God values. And then I thought about how I pray for people when they’re sick…and how I pray for myself when I’m sick. Yikes! Do I wait for the Spirit to give me His prayer for the sick, or do I just ask for immediate healing because I value comfort and safety and can’t bear to be physically ill myself?
My Prayer or His?
It should not surprise you to hear that my first prayer for sick people is almost always one for immediate healing. Period. Why? Because I value comfort and safety above whatever move the Spirit is making in that person’s life. Now, I AM learning to wait on Jesus, to listen for His thoughts and His prayer for a person (or myself). More and more, that is happening, and it’s not just because the Spirit is ever at work within my heart to sanctify me wholly. It’s also because I’m tired of unanswered prayer. My flesh-inspired prayers don’t bear fruit for the Lord. And frankly, that gets old. I want to be in the living stream of Christ’s victory, praying His prayers and wielding His love like a battering ram in the strongholds of hate and death and hopelessness.
There’s a season for everything in this life, and I have witnessed that truth firsthand in watching John and Martha. The hidden riches of intimacy with Christ that they have can be directly traced back to the volumes of surrender to God’s will for them – whether it’s sickness or health, poverty or wealth, famine or feast. But the first of these – sickness or health – is THE ground of surrender, I think. Who among us is delighted when our bodies are knocked out of health and into the pain and panic zone? Likewise, when we hear that someone we love is unwell, how many of you (like me!) tend to immediately pray for healing and assume that God blesses that prayer?
Answered Prayer for the Sick
When I’m sick or really hurting, I have a hard time holding on to the love of God. I have a hard time trusting His love for me. And it’s an uphill battle to wait and follow my Shepherd’s lead on my health. It’s not any easier to wait for Jesus to speak when someone I love is in trouble and asks for prayer. But there IS a purpose to every cough and cramp and fever. God says so, and He’s no liar! I don’t want to miss the eternal by resisting His hand in the temporal, neither in His will for my own health or His prayer for someone I love.
‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’
Jeremiah 33:3 NKJV