A look of expectant hope, immediately followed by a flicker of confused frustration. After seventeen years of being in a wheelchair, I’ve seen those looks on peoples faces many, many times before. It has become almost like clockwork: a truly well-meaning Christian, usually a friend or acquaintance, sometimes a stranger, will approach me and ask if they can pray for my healing. It’s clear by the excitement in their eyes that they just know it will work. So they pray. They pray, and they pray. And then…nothing happens. I have come through every one of those prayers totally unchanged, physically.
When it is made evident that nothing has taken place on a physical level, no jumping or dancing on my part, this person’s demeanor changes completely, if only for a moment. They failed. They thought they knew that God would do something amazing, but, from all appearances, He didn’t. When I see the person’s face fall, I honestly feel bad for them. They had been expecting a life-changing event to occur. They knew, and I knew, that God was more than capable of that.
While I am confident, now, that God wasn’t just ignoring my cries to be physically whole, there was a time when I felt disappointed and neglected after every one of these prayers. There I was, literally crying out to Him day after day, and nothing was getting better. If anything, things were getting worse. I was getting sick more often. I just could not understand. I wanted so badly to be healed.
I wanted it so desperately, in fact, that I failed to notice that something else was happening.
It was on an evening in the spring of 2012 that I finally figured it out. I had been attending, by all other accounts, a normal community youth service. We sang songs, we heard a message, we had a prayer time at the end. That night, I went up to pray, but I didn’t expect much. I prayed the same thing I had prayed hundreds of times before. Just as I suspected, nothing happened. Except, that wasn’t true.
At the beginning of that prayer I was tired, I was frustrated, and, quite honestly, I was ready to give up. After the prayer, I felt alive. I felt refreshed. I had a new desire to want to fight this battle I called life. While nothing happened to me on the outside, my heart was changed by that prayer. As I was thinking over what I had just experienced, I was smacked upside the head with the realization that this was not the first time I had felt this. In fact, every time I cried to God for healing, He gave it to me. But the healing He gave wasn’t what I had expected, so I never recognized it. Rather than healing my legs, He healed my soul.
There are just a couple more things I’d like to say before I go:
To the ones continually asking and seeking my physical healing: Thank you, truly. You are a huge blessing in my life, even if I never knew you personally. Please understand, I am not asking you to give up, nor am I ungrateful for your pleas on my behalf. All I am saying is this: your prayer did not go unnoticed. God heard. He answered. You really did make a difference, in a far deeper way than you realize.
To the ones struggling with a disability, physical or otherwise: You can do this. You can live this life, regardless of wether you are healed or not, because God is always with you. You are not alone. And if you have prayed for healing, but haven’t seemed to receive it, don’t give up. Keep asking. And know that, even if you are not answered in the way you expect, you will be answered.