When The Healing Doesn’t Come

randomlychad  —  April 25, 2013 — 6 Comments

What do we do when the much longed-for healing doesn’t come? When hope is dashed again and again?

When God, whom we know has both the power and ability, to do something, doesn’t?

What do we do with this disappointment? Why does he seem so silent, hidden, unfair, unloving, uncaring?

Are things really as they seem?

“Who is this who darkens counsel with words without knowledge,” Job was asked? Who, indeed? God, apparently fed up with Job’s questioning, answered him in a very Socratic way:

With questions of his own.

It seems there were things Job, and by extension, us, simply couldn’t understand. Meaning that if God, and his purposes, could be understood, he wouldn’t be God.

From his perspective, things were well in hand; from Job’s, unremitting loss and suffering. And instead of cluing Job in, the book seems more of an object lesson for Satan:

Do your worst, I know Job’s heart. He loves me…

Blows me away everytime I think about it. Admittedly, we don’t have the (if one can term it that) the luxury of God appearing in a whirlwind; rather Jesus tells us “Blessed is he who has not seen, and yet has believed.” Put another way, we walk by faith, and not by sight.

We are put into the position of having to trust that Father does indeed, despite all appearances to the contrary, know best.

So what do we do when the healing doesn’t come? We join that great cloud of witnesses which surrounds us. It’s some rather august company:

Paul asked thrice for his thorn to be taken; it was not. Instead, he was told that “My grace is sufficient for you…” The entire roster of the “Hall of Faith” in Hebrews eleven consists entirely of people who didn’t get what they were promised, only glimpsing it from a long ways off.

A certain petitioner asked that a cup be taken from him; it was not.

We know how that turned out.

So what do we do when the looked-for healing doesn’t come?

As trite as it is to say: we trust, and obey. Otherwise anger, bitterness, frustration, and hopelessness stand outside the door threatening to destroy us.

We walk by faith and not by sight, right? I know: easy to say. But how do we do this–walk by faith–when our bodies, and our minds, betray us? I wish I knew. The world, the flesh, the devil, illness make a fairly comprehensive case against God’s fundamental goodness. Why does he seem so absent when things fall apart?

Why does everything have to be a test of faith?

“Lord, I believe. Help thou my unbelief.” It’s hard, but I have nowhere else to go, no one else to turn to.

And I’m sorry, folks: I don’t have any answers. I’ve only got an Answer. I wish it were more satisfying. Like God, who doesn’t want to be analyzed, but rather just loved for who he is, I don’t want to be constantly tested, tried, found wanting.

Like him, I just want to be loved. Right where I’m at.

How about you?

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randomlychad

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Christ-follower, husband, dad, blogger, reader, writer, movie buff, introvert, desert-dweller, omnivore, gym rat. May, or may not, have a burgeoning collection of Darth Vader t-shirts. Can usually be found drinking protein shakes, playing with daughter, working out with his son, or hanging out with his wife. Makes a living playing with computers. Subscribe to RandomlyChad by Email

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  • Dave Wonders

    This is such a good post…

    I recently read a book (Embracing Obscurity) that talked about “Joseph Theology”-- the false idea that the seeds of our trial produce some happy event in the end. Sorry, but sometimes, we experience pain and we don’t become second in command of Egypt… our pain sometimes follows us our whole life.

    There is a really good song that speaks to this… JJ Heller’s “Who You Are” which features the refrain, “I don’t know what you’re doing, but I know who you are.”

    In explaining the song, she wrote: “I’ve noticed that when something hurtful happens, my first response
    is to ask God why is He allowing bad things to happen. Why isn’t He
    stopping it? I’ve noticed that His answer to my question isn’t a lengthy
    explanation of all of His reasons, but He asks me if I trust Him… Even when we can’t see what God is doing, we
    can trust His character and know that He is good. We can look back on
    our own lives and see His faithfulness. We can see that in the
    Scriptures. We see over and over how God takes the most dire
    circumstances and finds a way to redeem them.”

    I tangentially covered the topic of how we should handle pain in a post after the Boston Marathon bombings: http://morethanabeard.com/2013/04/16/how-do-we-respond/#more-345

    • Dave,

      Thanks for your kind comment. God is indeed still in the redemption business, and brings us through--not without pain, but without stain.

  • I know what you mean. Jan hurts all of the time. We’ve prayed and been to doctors. And nothing so far. But He is in control.

    • That’s all there is, right Larry? In the end what’s true is that he is in control.

  • I really appreciate the transparency of this post. I’ve been there --
    maybe not in your exact circumstance, but I’ve been to a place where I
    don’t get it…where healing and God seems absent. And this is why my
    faith cannot just be based on a feeling. It has to be grounded in
    truth.

    • Exactly, Jon. If our faith isn’t based upon truth, all we have are feelings--and those come, go, and shift like the wind.