"But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed." Isaiah 53:5
I have numerous health issues. Some are minor annoyances, some are potentially serious, and some are just plain tedious to deal with. I do what I can to maintain my health with medications and a proper diet (well, sometimes), and for the most part, I feel okay. Or, at least I have learned to ignore the symptoms that are hard to deal with and I pretend to feel okay. Either way, I'm making it. Sure I could be better, but I could be a whole, whole lot worse.
Right now, I am very aware of several people around me that are dealing with some very serious physical problems. My heart aches for them. I don't want them to have to worry or suffer with an illness. I'm praying for them. I"m praying very intently and specifically for healing.
I grew up with a very amalgamated faith. I was raised in a Baptist church with strong Pentecostal overtones from my grandmother, and I was active in the youth group in the local Christian Church. When John and I got married, we joined a United Methodist Church. My beliefs carry little bits of all of those denominations, I guess, with some being more influential than others. I don't know what your experiences have been with divine healing, but I am a firm believer. I have seen it happen. I have experienced it.
Growing up, I always thought of healing as a sort of holy-roller kind of thing. As an adult, however, I began to see it differently. In the United Methodist church John and I belonged to as young marrieds,the pastor was very deliberate about offering a healing prayer at every service every week. At first, I thought it was odd. But soon, I began seeing the fruits of this. People would come forward to be anointed, but it never had that tent revival vibe about it. It was discreet- between you, the pastor, and God. When the prayer was over, people emerged looking peaceful, as if they'd experienced something special. I still wasn't sure.
I never felt the need to go forward and ask for healing until several months into the process of trying to conceive a child. After agonizing and praying on my own, I decided to share it with our pastor during the healing prayer. He anointed me with oil and prayed. And you know the rest of that story. Soon, after, I was pregnant with Audrey.
I've also experienced healing when I was sick with Crohn's disease. It wasn't spontaneous. I didn't leap up out of the hospital bed after being prayed over, although I can point to one particular low point in my illness when my parents' church held a special prayer for me. As I was in the hospital, my body did respond quickly to the medications I was being given, but, overall, my complete healing took quite a while. Many people prayed for me, in person and from a distance, for many months. It was a process of finding the right doctors, the right medicines, the right diet. I know that God led me to the right people to make me well.
But, I have also seen times when the healing didn't work the way I wanted it to. My aunt was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer when she was 34...just a few months older than I am now. Two years of a valiant fight, countless rounds of chemo and radiation, and a bone marrow transplant didn't erase the cancer from her body. Was her faith not great enough? Did we not pray hard enough? Hardly. She died, and we were devastated. However, when I look back on that situation, I think about Romans 8:28- "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." I see so many ways that God did heal my aunt as well as others. She came to accept Christ during that time, as did my uncle and I. Could anything have been more miraculous than that?
So, for my friends that are hurting and scared, know that I am praying with my whole heart that Jesus will heal you. I believe He can. Put all of your hope in Him. Overcome your doubts and ask someone to anoint you. There is something about that act of faith that makes a difference. In James 5:14, we are told "Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord." It really does make a difference. It may seem strange to you, but it is a very powerful thing.