Have you ever prayed for healing that didn’t come? Have you ever questioned if your faith was enough?
I sure have.
In 2011 one of my children was diagnosed with a painful, chronic, lifelong disease that has no cure. As we watched his health spiral downward, we felt fear like never before.
I responded by learning everything I could about the disease. This coping mechanism usually restores my sense of control. Not this time though. The more I learned, the more I understood that my child would struggle with many painful things related to his disease the rest of his life.
I couldn’t bear the thought of his going through this time and time again. I prayed constantly. I prayed for wisdom, for the best doctors, and so many other things. But I felt desperate and pounded heaven for healing.
I searched the scriptures for answers.
I relied on verses like Matthew 17:20 (ESV): “For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” But this mountain didn’t move.
As the first few years went by, the desperate prayers to heal my child remained unfulfilled. Discouragement, resentment, confusion and lies crept into my faith.
Some of the lies I believed included:
- My faith must not be strong enough to move this “mountain.”
- God is not pleased enough with me to answer my prayer for healing.
- I have been good, He owes me.
- Is God really even listening?
For a season I believed the same lies that many Christians do. I think the enemy uses unanswered prayer to rock the faith of Christians and render us ineffective.
Soon after my son's diagnosis, the Lord provided the way to correct the lies I was believing. I registered for my first Womenary class. One by one, studying theology corrected, realigned, and comforted me with Truth.
Studying God and His ways though Womenary has taught me these truths:
1. God’s idea of healing isn’t the same as ours. We focus on physical healing, while the reality is that pain is a mechanism God uses, for His reasons. When He allows pain in this life, we must trust His character. (2 Cor 12:9)
2. Not every believer is healed. We all know faithful believers who have begged God to change a bad situation, and He didn’t. We can simply look to the Apostle Paul, who asked God three times to heal his ailment, for proof of that. (2 Cor 12:8)
3.The mountains in our lives serve a higher purpose. What if this “mountain” brings a non-believer to Christ, deepens my faith, or brings my child to the point of fully relying on God?
4. Salvation IS perfect healing. If we have submitted our lives to Jesus as our Savior, we are already healed. We have eternal life. That’s better than any temporary healing in this life. Because of that I owe Him everything. If He doesn’t do anything else for me or my child, that is enough. “… By His wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2:24
5. The most important has been the eternal Truth of God’s character. When you know someone’s character you know that person well. How they operated in the past gives you faith in how they will operate in the future—in tune with their character.
No, God has not healed my child. But He has not forgotten us. He has answered many of our prayers for provision and help through the struggles of my son’s disease. I know I’ve seen God’s loving hand all over our situation. Our whole family has learned eternal lessons about faith and grown spiritually in ways we never would have.
Of course, as a parent I will still pray for the health and safety of my children. However, I’ve learned that when those prayers don’t get answered as I want them to, even in ways that are physically or emotionally painful, I can still trust the outcome... because I can trust God’s character.
God can and will use even the worst things in our lives to perfect and strengthen us while bringing Him glory. We can trust Him and His character, and draw on the knowledge of His character to trust His answers to our prayers.
If you are struggling with a similar situation today, may this truth set you free.