My friend’s note to me (previously posted here) stayed on my mind. After being part of a healing prayer team for many years, my friend’s report of how she came to want to run away from those teaching on healing struck me hard. What are we to do when sincere prayers for healing seem to be ignored by God?
I awoke thinking of the lame man by the pool of Bethesda (John 5).I have heard teachers criticize the man for the way he replied to Jesus’ question (verse 6: “Do you want to get well?”). The man vented his grief and frustration that he had no one to help him. Presumably YES he wanted to be healed but his efforts were not going anywhere.
For the first time I can remember, I felt sympathy for him. I identified with his frustration.
I also thought about the woman with the flow of blood who approached Jesus secretly. (I wrote about her in my book The Mystery of Faith.) Even though she had spent all she had on doctors who failed to heal her, she kept looking for an answer.
My friend wrote that she had come to a similar place in her life. Hearing what God had to say was all that mattered. What does not matter is if what He has to say is not the answer you want to hear.
It gets especially interesting when you have evidence that a) God is listening to your prayers, and b), only some of His answers are yes.
For three months Melanie has been chasing down the paper trail for me to get approved for disability and (early) Medicare. (Early because I am not yet 65.) There have been the usual frustrations. One conversation went like this.
Bureaucrat on phone: “You need to send us such-and-such a report from the doctors.”
Melanie: “I have already sent you a copy, four times!”
Bureaucrat, after sounds of paper shuffling: “Oh. Yes. Here it is…”
Friday’s mail brought us a letter saying we needed to report in person to the Social Security office, apparently to prove I really existed. This after all the other doctor and hospital paperwork we had sent.
We hustled my wheelchair into the van after my tube feeding early Monday morning, skipping our usual morning devotions. We arrived outside the Social Security office 15 minutes before they opened and our hearts sank. There was a line of people halfway across the front of the building already.
Lord, please just heal me!! I cried silently. Out loud I said, “Lord, please grant us favor and open the doors for us.”
That’s the prayer the Lord answered. In no time Melanie was directed to a window where she could roll my wheelchair and we could talk to an official. Mostly, they wanted to tell Melanie they would send her to jail if she misused my disability check. Understand? Sign here.
We were out the door in 45 minutes. I consider that an answer to prayer even if I was still in the wheelchair as Melanie pushed me back to the parking lot.