In my doctor’s office, there is a small plaque with the simple inscription: “It is easier to stay well than to get well.” I didn’t know how true that was until I was truly unwell.
I returned to my home and found diagnoses and healing at that office after months of illness that no medical professional had been able to explain or cure.
We finally discovered a rare, deadly flatworm parasite that was a steady, lethal threat to my internal organs. It was aided in its bloodthirsty quest by other recent strikes: a bicycle accident that had rattled me to the core and a burnt-out weariness that was weighing down on me with crushing force. I was being eaten alive from within and suffocated by the pressures of life and ministry from without.
What a way to live…if you could call it living.
Healing, in my case—and, I’d wager, in many cases—is not a clean, clear-cut moment in time. It is a process, often one that is antagonizingly slow by our standards. And we wonder to ourselves: is this it?!? Is this as normal, healthy, good, better as it’s going to get? Or is there some progress yet to be made?
One night, I lay awake in bed, staring into the darkness and whimpering in pain. It was as if a great hand was squeezing my insides tightly, refusing to show mercy. I gazed up toward the black corner of the room and I heard Jesus whisper soothingly to me, “What’s the matter, my love? Please tell me about it.” The physical malady was only one part of the equation. There were spiritual, mental, and emotional elements all wrapped up in the problems—and in the solutions. Solutions often come through or with realizations: reminders or new conclusions to be reached. From that moment, I started to recognize several of these. He has not left me. He is receiving glory. He’s not finished yet. He’s still using me!
Seen in this light, the pain can be born in a different way and there is a hidden joy that somehow allows me to press on. More than that, my prayers and my expectations have changed.
I’ve never been an ambitious, out-front kind of leader, but many would describe me as a quietly driven person. Drive is great when it’s focused on the right things and reigned in at appropriate times. My aunt calls my current physical state my “new normal.” The new normal does have its positive elements. In this long process of getting well, I have learned more acutely about the importance of balance and rest, of release and refining. As I concluded in a poem while reflecting on His rod and staff from Psalm 23:
I am a stubborn, lost little lamb.//
Please carry me.//
Then I will find Your truth, my rest.
I’m learning to see my new normal as a renewed, more accurate reflection of Him. For my drive is being driven away; in its place, dependence remains. May He also use what you have gone through, are going through, or will go through to draw you closer to His side, that others may see His reflection when they gaze into your eyes.
Can you think of a time when “healing” came in a different way than you expected it to or at a different time than you hoped that it would?
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