Now What? Believing for Healing in the Face of Persistent Health Problems: Part 1

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GET REAL WITH GOD

So, you’ve prayed.

You’ve believed.

You’ve asked people who believe in “gifts of healings” (1 Cor 12:9) to pray with you and for you!

You’ve been anointed with oil by elders in your church (James 5:14-15).

You’ve even seen improvements to your health! Sometimes believing, “This is it! I’m healed! Things are about to change…” Only to have your dreams shattered, your heart broken, and your faith start to show stress fractures when the improvements were short lived, and your health crashed yet again.  

The symptoms returned. The pain continued. The battle seems so relentless and you wonder if it will ever end.

You’re starting to feel so tired, so weary, thread-bare and completely worn out from this long, painful, never ending struggle.

What now?

Over the next few days, I’d like to tackle that question. This won’t be a blog series from a casual by-stander. This is from a guy who has experienced pain and loss personally, and had more than one front-row-seat to the battles beautiful people have fought and are still fighting for their physical health.

So, what can you do now?

1.  Get real with God.

This is where the healing begins. Especially when you’re in an ongoing, relentless battle. Be real with God about your pain and the process.

I cry out to the Lord; I plead for the Lord’s mercy. I pour out my complaints before him and tell him all my troubles. —Psalm 142:1-2 NLT

I call this venting vertically. Some of us are experts at venting horizontally. We’ll moan, groan, complain, whine and gripe to anyone willing to listen, at least for a few moments. I’m not necessarily knocking that… In fact, I’ll address it in tomorrow’s post. I think it’s important. But before you vent horizontally, try VENTING VERTICALLY!

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Have you ever vented to God?

Have you ever gotten so real with God that it even made you a little uncomfortable?

Have you told God: “I don’t get it. I don’t understand what’s going on. I don’t understand why this pain is so relentless. Why haven’t you stepped in and done something about what I’m going through?”

Maybe you’ve been taught that you can’t talk to God like that. That God will judge you or condemn you if you approach Him like that.

That’s not the God I read about in the Bible! He wants to hear from us. God values transparency and authenticity over and above keeping up appearances, trying to be strong and always acting as if we have it all together. Venting vertically is actually "grieving our pain and loss to God." it's looking at the life we had hoped for and imagined, and looking at our current reality, and grieving the gap or chasm between the two to God. 

Tim Keller nailed this when he wrote:

“Every single emotion you have should be processed in prayer.”

Want some examples? Check out the entire book of Job and several of the psalms (See Psalm 22:1-3; 35:17-18; 42:1-3; 69; 77:1-12 and more). These people got real and raw with God. Their prayers are unedited, unfiltered and powerful. Here are just two of those prayers:

"My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help?"                   —Psalm 22:1 NLT

"When I was in deep distress, in my day of trouble, I reached out for you with hands stretched out to heaven. Over and over I kept looking for you, God, but your comforting grace was nowhere to be found."        —Psalm 77:2 TPT

That's real! The prayers in the psalms are so raw! Sometimes David almost appears bi-polar. He gets angry with God and then He worships. He worships and then he rails!  Amazingly, God doesn’t seem to mind. In fact, He included these prayers in His book because He wanted us to know what a healthy relationship with Him looks like.

When we get real with God, we aren’t telling Him anything He doesn’t already know. We’re simply saying, “I trust You, God. I believe I can trust You with my heart, my hurts, my doubts, my fears, my frustration, my anger and my pain… I trust that You will love me, regardless. So, here’s how I really feel. Here’s who I really am…”

That kind of vulnerability and transparency moves the heart of God! In fact, He invites it!

Steve Brown shares an incredible story in his book, If God Is In Charge. I read it thirty years ago and still remember it today.

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Steve was in his hotel room one evening just before a speaking engagement when his attention was riveted by a woman who was weeping on the screen. He was so gripped by the sight of real tears that he wanted to watch. She shared a piece of her story.

She hadn’t been raised in a religious home. She had never even seen a Bible, and couldn’t remember a time in her when she prayed. She had lived life, gotten married and raised kids all without giving God a second thought.

Then, her daughter was involved in an automobile accident. The attending physician shared with the mother that it was probable that her daughter would never come out of the coma and quite possibly might live the rest of her life in a “vegetative state.”

This mother was devastated. Here’s the rest of her story as Steve relates it:

“I walked out of the hospital and across the street to a bar and got totally [wasted.] Then I got into my car and drove home, weeping the whole way. When I got into my driveway, I turned off the engine and began to curse God. I used every [profane curse word] I knew, and I knew a lot. After about a half hour I was totally drained. And in the silence I heard a voice…and the voice said, “That’s the first time you have spoken to Me, and I love you.” [1]

Wow! Wow! Wow!

That’s what venting vertically looks like. David describes it like this in Psalm 62.

“Trust only in God every moment! Tell him all your troubles and pour out your heart-longings to him. Believe me when I tell you—he will help you!”Psalm 62:8 TPT

You don’t have to use a filter when you talk to God about your pain. You’re His kid! He cares. He wants you to be you, to be real, to be vulnerable, to trust Him with your heart, hurts, fears and unanswered questions.

So, if you’re living with unrelenting pain, get real with God… If you’ve already gotten real, stay real

Tomorrow we’ll be back with the second post in this series. But until then, why not take this first step and get real with God?

What do you need to share with God today?

 He can handle it.

You can trust Him!

He actually cares.

 

[1] Steve Brown, If God Is In Charge, 1983, page 15.