We Prayed for Healing, So What Is This?
Rachel came to see her friend to share her distressing news, her favorite Uncle John had just been diagnosed with late stage cancer. Naturally, she wanted to pray for his healing – Jesus could heal him, right? That has to be the only answer to such a problem, right?
Her friend knew Uncle John well so there was a lot of emotional energy driving them to pray for healing. So they got to praying without further delay.
After praying for quite a long time but they sensed that they didn’t have the full picture – something wasn’t connecting. Unsure what was wrong or what to do about it, they decided to stop praying and instead just wait quietly for a while. Their intention was to hear from God and they both realized that their urgent prayer was blocking their ability to listen.
As they waited they both sensed God nudging them to look at a particular scripture. It wasn’t one that was familiar to them but there it was. What to make of it?
A precious thing in the Lord’s sight is the death of those who die faithful to him Ps 116
Their minds were set on pleading with God to heal Uncle John but this scripture was saying something challenging. Could it be that healing John was not part of God’s plan? Maybe if they prayed harder, got more people together, spread the word about John’s need, just maybe God would heal him after all. But could it be that God was telling them that John was going to die and that God viewed that as something special and significant?
Now they were in a dilemma: they wanted to pray for healing but it seemed that healing wasn’t what God had in mind for Uncle John. It’s human nature to cling to life and to want to keep everyone close to us alive and well, but here was something different – they were being told to let John go.
Realizing it would not be defeat for John to die but rather it would be a victory desired by God, they made the connection that their prayer for healing would be answered, “No.“ So how much better to be praying about what God was doing than to pit their wills against him by stubbornly denying the reality of what was happening. Their prayer became focussed on the needs of each person in the family and on preparing them for what was about to happen.
It didn’t take long. John was hospitalized in a matter of days and when they went to see him they were amazed at his serenity. He had sensed that his time on earth was up without being told. He was far from depressed and he hadn’t given up on life. He never did give up on life but it steadily drained away from him until his time to depart came.
They had never realized how positive a death could be – it seemed really strange and yet very powerful. Their grief was different because it was free from the usual desire to blame someone (especially God). By tuning in to what God was doing they had discovered the power of releasing a loved one into God’s hands. The inevitable, “Why, God?” was replaced by, “Thank you God”; anger and frustration about an uncontrollable event were replaced with gratitude and the strong sense that God was in full control. The negative of loss was converted into the positive of release. They were empowered by their sense of partnership with the God who regarded death as a positive thing.
It’s interesting what happens when we stop to listen instead of surging ahead with our own plans and ideas. We are challenged to “be still and know that I am God.” The sooner we do that, the better the outcome.
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Posted on February 25, 2012, in Active faith, Prayer and tagged being still, Christianity, faith and reality, healing, hearing from God, Prayer, Religion & Spirituality, waiting on God. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off.