when faith isn’t the answer

“do you want to be healed?”

I can’t count the number of times Christians have pointed me to the scripture in John 5. ah yes, the man who had been ill for 38 years. the man to whom Jesus so gently, powerfully said “pick up your mat, and walk!

they’ve pointed me there and echoed it… “do you want to be healed?”
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I never really know how to respond. so often their well-intended words feel like a stinging slap across the aching surface of my soul.

do I want to be healed?

oh, gee, I don’t know, I’ve never thought about it before. hmm, let me see…

are you kidding me?! do I want to be healed?

for years, I’ve not just wanted… I’ve pleaded. begged. sobbed, rocking on my bedroom floor to be healed. I believe in the deepest parts of my soul that God can heal me!

and yet I’m told “you need faith!”

oh, Christian, I have faith. through my deepest sorrows and blackest nights of the soul, I have gained more faith than many people I know.

sometimes, faith isn’t the answer.

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*GASP*
faith isn’t the answer?!
how can you say this?!
do you even know what you’re talking about?!

don’t get me wrong.
faith is essential. but not to this mysterious “answer”. faith is essential to surviving a life with anxiety or depression or a long season of breath-stealing, throat-cleanching grief. faith is essential to making it through days full of so much spiritual warfare that you’ve already fought two major battles before breakfast.

but there is no such thing as this strange equation we’ve concocted that somehow manages faith + prayer = healing.

that simply isn’t true.
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what is true is that God heals. and that He doesn’t do it according to our formulas, our plans, or our timeline.

believe me. I’ve wasted months and years feeling guilty for “not having enough faith“. for not being a “good enough Christian” for God to heal. for believing that my doubts were what kept me from healing.

and not once was I told I was wrong.

not once was I told “sister, God loves and God heals by His grace and on His time.”
“sister, your God is fighting for you.”
“sister, your God is healing you… perhaps more slowly than you’d desire, but He. Is. Healing.”
“sister, God’s grace is touching your life through no wrong-doing or right-doing of your own, but purely because He loves you… and that extends to His healing.”
“sister, let me weep with you while you wait on the Lord.
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what if we stopped digging deeper into one another’s wounds, stopped using grief and pain as a time for pointing out perceived flaws, and instead simply waited on the Lord together…

what if we were still with one another, seeking His face, recognizing that healing is a deeply unique and rigorous thing to navigate… that only He knows its mysteries, that only He has created the depths of it.

what if we bore one another’s burdens, prayed day and night for one another, sought healing from our God, side by side in our collective, yet individual brokenness?

what if we surrendered healing to its Author, accepting that we are too small, too fragile, too ill, too foolish to sail its seas on our own or for another?

what if we recognized healing as a process too intricate to completely understand, and entrusted it to the One who weaves it through our pain with precise, pricking stitches to create a splendorous diorama of His glory?

what if we believed wholeheartedly that our God longs to be gracious to us? that He heals us out of holy compassion? that His grace and compassion are far too high and miraculous for us to understand?
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this is healing, church.

this collective bearing of burdens, seeking of His face…

this is how healing comes. however slowly or quickly. however painful or peaceful. however gentle or stormy.

yes… we want to be healed.
we need to be healed.
you need to be healed.
we are all a part of this broken humanity.

help heal us.
you are His hands.

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