The Gifts Part 19
The third kind of healing that comes from the hand of God through the Holy Spirit is of course physical healing. Yes, this is the healing that we pray for most often, it is the healing that we pray for with the greatest of ardor, and it is a healing that God can and does perform in us.
There are many facets to physical healing that are worth commenting on and discussing, because there are instances wherein although we’ve repented, although we’ve asked God for healing, although we’ve cried out, healing does not come, and we are left to wonder why.
The simple truth is that sometimes physical ailments and afflictions are allowed not because of sin in our lives, not because of disobedience, but simply that we might grow in the grace and mercy of God through them and in them.
Our spiritual walk must be consistent, our spiritual growth must be constant, and whenever there is resistance, whenever there is opposition, whenever there is some form of hardship that causes us to reach further than we would have otherwise, it simply helps us to grow all the faster. I realize no one likes to hear that God has allowed a certain affliction in their body that they might grow stronger in Him, I realize no one likes to hear that the reason they are suffering in their flesh is that their spiritual man might become stronger and more vibrant, but there are times when this is the case.
We’ve discussed Paul’s thorn in the flesh, we’ve discussed his affliction often enough, and although he prayed and beseeched God to take it away, God’s answer to Paul was that His grace was sufficient, for His strength is made perfect in weakness. I realize this is not something any of us want to hear when we come before God for healing, but this does not diminish the fact that sometimes this is His answer.
I know how horrible physical affliction can be. I do not speak of it as an abstract notion, as something I’ve heard spoken of often enough but never experienced, I too have a thorn in my flesh and it is a painful one. There are days when I can’t get out of bed because the pain is so great, and if I attempt to touch the ground with my feet the tears start to roll and it’s all I can do to keep from screaming. Yes, I have prayed often enough for God to take it away, to make me whole, to heal me of this debilitating affliction, but as yet He has not done it.
Do I believe that God can heal me? Of course I do, His word says so, and I am one who believes in the authority of Scripture above all else. Am I bitter because He has chosen not to heal me? Not in the least, because I know that some way, somehow, good will come of it, because all things work together for the good of those who love God.
I have already seen the good that has come from my affliction, and I know that I will continue to see it throughout my life. The first good that has come from my physical ailment is that it has taught me to be all the more dependent on God. There is nothing in this world that will better reveal one’s own impotence to them, and the need to be dependent on God, than realizing that you can’t get a glass of water for yourself, that although you are still young and ought to be able bodied you are bedridden and wholly dependent on loved ones to care for you.
The second good that has come from my physical ailment is that it has taught me to be thankful. I realize that it might sound strange, but whenever I have a day without pain, whenever I can go outside, go for a walk, or play with my nephew and my niece without pain, I am thankful. There is so much that we take for granted in this present life, there are so many blessings that we overlook or ignore because we think ourselves entitled to them, and it takes something as seemingly benign as chronic pain to wake us up to the realization that we must be thankful to God for the small blessings as well as the big ones.
The third good that has come from my physical ailment is that it has taught me empathy for others, for my fellow brothers and sisters as well as my fellow man. I grew up in a giving family, so I’ve always strived to be generous, some would say to a fault, but when I started experiencing the episodes of pain in my feet and my legs, I was more readily able to put myself in someone else’s shoes, especially if they were suffering, and understand their desperation. To this day I could never pass by someone who is hurting, someone who is in need, someone who is hungry or who is naked and not do something. Empathy is a gift that few possess nowadays, and the more materialistic we become, the more self-centered we become, the less empathetic we will be, it is the way of things.
Good does come from adversity, good does come from trials, good does come from afflictions, good does come from hardships, good does come from heartbreaks, good does come from disappointments, and all these things help us to grow and mature, and see the world differently than we once did.
Since I know the following question will come up eventually, I will answer it before it is asked, and as always I will be honest and forthright with you.
Would I have preferred healing rather than having learned the lessons that God has taught me through my adversity?
At this point I could feign spiritual superiority and say, ‘no, it never crossed my mind’ but the truth is that it has crossed my mind, and I’ve contemplated this question often enough. In the end however, taking everything into account, seeing where God has brought me through my adversity, the answer would be no, I would not have preferred healing over having learned the lessons that God has taught me through my affliction.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.