I usually come to you from a place of resolve, from a place of answers. I typically don’t write unless I have reached a conclusion in my process. The struggle is over and I’ve arrived somewhere because of it.
This is not that kind of post.
A few months ago, a friend of mine discovered that there was a very real possibility that cancer had returned to her body, threatening her career and her life. Whenever we were together I had the strong urge to put my hands on her neck and pray over her, to tell her that when she went back for further testing, there would be nothing there, no sign of anything irregular. I prayed that prayer multiple times over the months, but I never put my hands on her in the way that I felt so pressed to do. I even told her that I didn’t want to give her a false hope just because I had a feeling. I believed it firmly in my gut, though: The cancer was not back. I encouraged her in other ways, but shied away from stepping out in faith. I was afraid that I would be wrong.
Many people have prayed faith-filled prayers of healing over my mom, and have spoken of the great hope of complete healing. Former stroke patients have visited her and showed her how they have returned to normal life with only a hint of residual symptoms from their experience. Health care professionals have marveled at how quickly my mom has regained some of her functions back, and they are confident that she will be able to walk again someday.
But I am afraid to hope.
There are still so many hurdles in her path.
As I sat across the room from my mom in the hospital last week, I got word that another friend had been diagnosed with cancer, and that yet another friend’s dad had a stroke and died as a result. My tears were at the ready, as they have been through this whole debacle, and I wept as my mom slept peacefully.
There are so many levels to my fears. I want complete healing for my mom, I want to hope for it, but why should she get it when my friend’s father did not? He died within twenty-four hours–there was barely time to build hope. I want my friend with cancer to be healed and to have an incredible testimony, but . . . what if that’s not God’s plan? What if I step out in faith and proclaim that our God is Jehovah Rapha, the Healing God, but nothing changes in any of the situations I’m believing for?
God heals some on earth, and He uses eternity to heal others. I don’t understand His ways, and that causes there to be a stunt in my faith. I don’t doubt His goodness and that He has a plan, but I have sincere doubts that His goodness and His plans are going to look like goodness on this earth.
The first friend I mentioned had her follow up testing done this week. There is no sign of any abnormalities in her body. She does not have cancer, and I knew it. As soon as I got the news, the Lord started poking at this lack of faith in my heart, and my failure to follow through on praying for her in person. Immediately the title of this post popped into my head.
I am so afraid to hope in His healing, because what if it doesn’t come? I don’t want to give someone a false hope, and speak prophetically over their healing because what if I’m wrong? I’m not a name-it-and-claim-it kind of believer. I see things through clear lenses. I believe God CAN heal, I just don’t know if He WILL. Is that even faith at all? Everything I’ve been taught about faith says, “GOD WILL HEAL.” And I’ve adopted the stance that sometimes healing means death in the physical world. This is not an acceptable, nor comforting thought when it comes to my friends and family though.
There is no question in my heart that even if things don’t turn out the way that I want them to, He is still good. But when I confess that, I have to admit sometimes that it comes out a little begrudgingly, especially when it comes to the realization that someday I will live in a world where my mom does not. This has always been one of my biggest fears, and we have come just a little too close to this reality too many times in the last six years.
The source of hope that I’m relying on today is that God is not disappointed in my current struggle, that He knew it was coming, and He’s holding me close in spite of it. He knows I’m avoiding Him, even if not always consciously. He knows it’s because I’m hurting and I want so badly to jump of the cliff of faith and believe that my mom will return to her normal self, 100% healed, but I’m a little too affected by reality to make the leap.