I have thought much of late about God’s healing power. I am convicted deeply of His power to heal, His desire to heal, and His willingness to heal. We certainly are right to ASK Him to heal.
We have experienced miraculous healing in our family. When our younger son was 3 months old, I noticed he did not startle when there were loud noises. I watched him quietly for 3 days over Thanksgiving weekend that year, desperately looking for response to sound. I saw none. I shared it with my husband that Monday evening when he came in from a meeting. He came through the front door, calling out to me. I looked for any response from the beautiful baby in my lap. Nothing.
So I shared with my husband what I suspected. To test what I was saying, he went to get a pot and lid and smashed them together right behind Nathan’s head. Nothing. Not a blink. Bill and I stared at each other in utter disbelief.
We followed up with our pediatrician, who scheduled a Baer test, a specific test used on infants suspected of hearing loss. His test showed no brain wave activity below 55 decibels – we were stunned. Regular speech is around 35 decibels. The doc unceremoniously came in and told us our son was deaf and we should prepare to raise a deaf child.
We were stunned. And weeping. This was just weeks before Christmas and the toys I had already purchased were typical infant toys – bright and colorful and noisy.
The doc scheduled another appointment for a month later to retest and fit our baby with hearing aids. We went home in stunned disbelief and deep grief.
We let our greater prayer circle know. We called our pastor to anoint him with oil and pray over him as instructed in James 5. We cried out to God from our core.
Over Christmas at my father’s church in Austin, Texas, we had Nathan’s baby dedication ceremony and we prayed again for his healing.
We saw no change in him at all.
And we went back on January 10th for the follow up appointment.
We had the same room, same audiologist, same machine.
And different results.
This time he had brain wave response all the way down to 25 decibels – the lowest they test infants. The audiologist kept playing with the machine and retesting to see if she could repeat the result.
She said to us, “This just doesn’t happen but I think your baby may have perfectly normal hearing.”
I sat weeping.
The doc, an unbeliever came in and said words I will never forget, “Clearly Mother Nature or your higher power is at work in this baby. I am not touching him. Bring him back in a month.” Years later when he removed that 6 year old’s tonsils he testified that it was the only true miracle he had ever experienced before or since.
God was so gracious to us. We were changed forever.
He is now a strapping 17 year old who only acts like he doesn’t hear us at times.
Then our older son began to evidence his hidden disabilities several years after this experience. We prayed. We did “all the right things.” In time he received a diagnosis. We were devastated. It felt like a death sentence.
In the months to follow we came to James 5 in our reading one night and he asked what it meant. He was a precocious 8-year old at the time. We explained it to him and he said he wanted our pastor to pray over him like he had over Nathan.
I wondered. I worried. Would God heal miraculously again?
We, of course, were asking God to heal him and sharing it with friends.
I worried how it might affect this child’s faith if God did NOT heal him like he had his brother.
But we took him to talk with our pastor who agreed to call several of the Deacons together to pray over him. We were present to experience this beautiful entreaty for a second time.
The result however was not the same miraculous healing.
And I wondered.
I know enough to know that God is ABLE. This is not about His ability. Certainly He is able to heal. We had experienced that miraculous healing personally.
But we also know that sometimes He doesn’t heal.
We know of the story in John 9 where the disciples asked Jesus if it was the parent’s sin or his sin that caused the man to be born blind. Jesus response in John 9:3 was profound: Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
We know that Paul, that godly saint who wrote much of the New Testament, was troubled by some burden that he repeatedly asked God to remove (or heal). And in II Corinthians 12:9 we are told of God’s response to his entreaties: And He has said to me, “’My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.”
For some reason God in His wisdom and goodness chose to glorify Himself through healing in the life of one of our sons and chose to glorify Himself through NOT healing in the life of our other son.
Does that mean He loves one child more than the other? Does that mean we “got it right” with one child and blew it with the other… didn’t get all the boxes checked just right to get God’s healing attention?
Of course not. At times God heals in this life. And at times we live with hardship and see God’s healing in the life to come.
But does that mean we have not experienced a miracle? No. No, there have been many miracles.
My husband and I have walked together through stress and heartache as a couple for over a dozen years with our son. We have not become one of the broken marriage statistics. That is a miracle for which I am grateful.
We have watched our son grow in His knowledge and understanding of the Lord and live resiliently through significant hardship that would put many under the table and could have destroyed His faith. That is a miracle for which I am grateful.
We have come to accept that God wants to bring glory to Himself by prisming through this young man’s life – by his living with grace through hardship. Caleb has often described his life as like a stained glass window – many broken pieces that make a unique picture. Only God could do that.
I am reminded of one other passage that has always intrigued and encouraged me. In Hebrews 11 we have the beautiful recounting of many heroes of our faith. If you are like me, you have heard many sermons over the years from this passage. But there is part of this passage about which I have never heard a sermon. And it is my favorite part. Verses 36-39 say this: 36 … and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated 38 (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground. 39 And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised….”
It is verse 38 that has always intrigued me. This is a series of people who prayed and believed God THROUGH their hardship. Their hardship was not healed or removed. And yet they believed.
And what does God’s beautiful Word tell us of them (of us, who live with hardship and still believe)? We are “men of whom the world [is] not worthy.”
That is beautiful to me. We are saved by our faith in this good God. I will never understand it. But I have come to accept and be at peace with it. God is good. All the time.