Today felt like the mighty rushing water from a johnny pump on the Fourth of July in 1970’s Brooklyn–a forceful rush of overwhelm that in a different situation might be welcomed, but in this situation, certainly not.
On those hot dog and icee days in Flatbush, we always got exactly what we expected once the firemen twisted off the otherwise immovable cap from the fire hydrant, but no amount of readiness could keep us kids from crashing into each other and toppling over from the sheer force of the deluge. That’s what I felt like today.
It was the first anniversary of the disappearance of someone I knew. Although I understood the lingo, I couldn’t call it “homegoing” because I passed her stranger-occupied house every day. And likewise, I could not call it “death” because I knew she was more alive than ever before.
But she did disappear.
I heard of her sudden decline in health on the same day a group of us gathered on her lawn to pray, sing, and say goodbye.
The next day, she left her home to spend her last days with her family. We sent an audio message with some of her favorite encouraging verses about three days later.
Then, in a panic, late one night in those wee hours when God often connects to His children as He did with Samuel, Solomon, and Mary’s Joseph, I called her. I had to. My call went directly to her voicemail, but something inside me said she heard it. I spoke briefly, yet was able to do what friends say when they know the mighty rushing waters are upon them.
The next day, she disappeared even more.
She ate wood chips and celery, she never heard of white sugar, and she refused tea bags after 7 pm, opting to drink hot water alone. Why didn’t you heal her, Lord?
What exactly is it that makes Spirit-led prayer to The Great Physician that leads to physical healing so elusive?
Then one day, everything changed. It occurred to me that maybe the pivotal issue wasn’t healing, exactly.–maybe it was timing. That doesn’t sit well with some people because, they say, “Of course when we pray for healing, we are always praying for it to be on this side of glory.” My response, however, is that if the greatest place to be is with the Lord, if the safest place to be is where there is no more sickness, sorrow, or death, where there are no disappearances nor goodbyes, wouldn’t that greatest, safest place be the one for which healing, particularly permanent healing is most appropriate?
So, yes, certainly let’s pray for healing and for survival when we or our loved ones are physically sick, as we have no idea what great things God wants to do in unfolding His will and His story in our lives. And may it never be for a lack of asking that He does not do so. But make no mistake; you and/or they will be healed. The blood-washed believer in Christ, will one day be healed from whatever ails them–physically, mentally, emotionally, or otherwise.
What we ultimately pray for, therefore, is the factor of timing. And while we are indeed usually praying exclusively for that healing to come here and now, let’s not be so very tied to that outcome that we no longer consider ultimate healing in glory among those unspeakable gifts to us from the Hand of our mighty God.