For When Healing Won't Come and God Seems Silent

Friday, May 3, 2019
tattooed man standing in city

God wasn’t healing, and I was angry.

On Easter Sunday a few years ago, in what I imagine was an attempt to give life to our worship, my pastor asked us to shout out to the Lord. He asked us to think of a word that encompassed our praise for what God had done and then in unison, at the count of three, shout.

Nothing I could think to shout at God was appropriate for a Baptist church.

I am in that place again. Or maybe still.
I have cried out to God again and again to intervene in my situation. To make himself known in my suffering. To bring the full force of his redemptive power down on the thing that blocks me from him, and others, and wholeness. And for some reason he chooses not to. Instead of healing I have found more confusion, more pain. My spirit oscillates between angry and hopeful, and at times I am too weary to feel either anger or hope. I feel forsaken.

That Easter Sunday two years ago, while the congregation around me shouted varied praises, the closest I could come up with was a quiet hosanna in my heart. “God, help.”

God help us. For we are fragile and frail.

We all need healing.

Maybe it’s a sickness spreading through your body, maybe it is a broken relationship that seems unmendable, maybe it is chronic pain that won’t abate or a brokenness in your heart or mind that you don’t feel you can endure for another day. But can you relate? To this calling to the sky and beating at the breast and begging for relief, and not seeing God move? To this feeling forsaken?

I have good friends who love the Lord, and who love me, and who speak truth into me when my heart is heavy, and hope cannot permeate on its own. They remind me that the promise of God is not that we won’t suffer but that He will be present through it. That our Lord is Emmanuel, God with us. That we do not have a God who does not know our pain, but one who stepped down from heaven to endure suffering unto death.

Friend, sometimes in my waiting for the big miracle, the cure, the ending to my suffering, I miss the glimpse of God himself present in my pain. I don’t see the millions of tiny miracles that sustain me.
Every breath we breathe is because He has permitted it, every turn of the earth on its axis is because He sustains it, every spark of beauty and joy is because He formed it in His hands.

His grace is sufficient for me.

It’s cliche, but it is true. His grace is sufficient.

 Perhaps God will never redeem this situation on this side of eternity. Healing here on earth for you and I may mean that we come to a place of radical acceptance, unlikely thanksgiving, and a feeble hope in Emmanuel, God with us. But my story, my whole faith journey, has been the story of God making a way where there was no way, of God meeting me in my poverty and pouring grace upon grace.  So even if God is not going to bring healing in this area that I seek, I know that He will make a way for me to walk through it.

I wonder sometimes if our wounds that God won’t heal are perhaps the birthing pains of a deeper faith, a more authentic walk with him. Maybe I have to believe that in order to keep moving.
Friend, I know that an ongoing process of finding strength in the brokenness doesn’t feel like a win. Earthly healing is too often temporary, finicky and uncertain and often comes with its own pains and trials. Meds that make us sicker in order to make us better. Relationships that are mended only by distance. Pains that grow worse before they grow better.

None of us know what the Apostle Paul’s burden in the flesh was. But we know what our own is. Today, can we choose to hope and to hear God say that His grace is sufficient for us? That His power is made perfect in our weakness?

His grace is sufficient for me. I cling to that truth today.

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