Now this is going to rub some church-goers in the wrong way. I say this because there are many “leaders” who base their whole “ministry” out of (or off of…) the “gifts” of healing, and prayer/healing groups, etc. There are many churches who “boast” of their miraculous healings and the “proof” that God is active in their church by these healings. I’ve gone back and forth for awhile on whether or not I should post this. However, it holds true to the purpose of this blog. Dealing with and exploring the questions, especially in the journey of faith.
If you are offended, I would ask you to stop and ask yourself, why exactly, are you offended?
So…here we go.
I was reading through and deleting some old Facebook “Notes” and I came across one that I had posted roughly six years ago, labeled, “Tom is getting Healed!”. With the exception of brackets where I removed names, here is the original post:
For those of you who know and those of you who don’t. I was diagnosed with Meniere’s Disease around March of this year. This was the “mysterious” ailment that plagued me on and off for the last five and 1/2 years with bad vertigo spells.
Basically, Meniere’s is an inner ear disorder in which the ear tells the brain that the room is spinning when it’s not.
Since then, with the doctor’s suggestions, I’ve changed my diet, kept working out and have been taking natural supplements that help decrease vertigo symptoms and promote inner ear health.
Truth be told, I haven’t been ultimately GUNG HO on being healed as far as what has been provided to me through the sacrifice Jesus made for me. I’ve trusted that I will be healed in due time as I follow the instructions of my doctor and as I stay in the Word.
Sunday during worship I felt led and instructed that I needed to take it to the next level and increase my focus and trust in this area, which is where I ask you my friends to agree with me. I went forward during worship when [the church pastors at the time] asked for people who need prayer to come forward. [My wife] came up with me and in agreement with [one of the pastors] we prayed that I would accept nothing less than healing in my ear.
I went to my Ear, Nose and Throat specialist for my checkup today and he said that after the holidays I can start weaning off the supplements I have been taking!
I will be off my supplements by March 2009 – OR EARLIER!
I know that I am healed!
Now – two things struck me.
- I’ve been dealing with Meniere’s disease “officially” for six years now, “officially” meaning since I was diagnosed and 11+ years if I count all the symptoms and attacks pre-diagnosis. Thankfully, it has been quite awhile since my last episode, over two years and that last one was so violent that blood vessels broke all over my face.
- I’m STILL dealing with this damned thing…I haven’t had a violent episode of vertigo, nausea and vomiting, but I do get disoriented every now and then, only briefly, and I still have tinnitus (ringing and hearing loss) in my right ear.
- O.K., three things struck me. The last being my naive level of “declaration” and so-called “faith” displayed in the note that was written. Oh how the times have changed!
Just over two years ago, before I walked away from participating in “regular” church services, I stopped the declarations and expectations of miraculous healing. I stopped standing, wishing, hoping, praying. I got a huge case of the “fuck-its”. Some well-meaning people would want me to “come to the front” when the call for prayer and healing came and I would gently oblige them, hoping deep down that maybe…just maybe I would experience the miracles like in the days of old. Just maybe, this time I would be totally and suddenly healed. At the same time I was conflicted and guarded, not wanting my hopes to raise up too high.
Follow along in my thought process leading up to my case of the “fuck-its”:
I have “stood in faith”.
I have done the “having done all to stand, stand” thing.
I have had numerous pastors, “special speakers”, evangelists, etc., etc., pray.
I have had numerous “words” from the same people regarding my healing.
I have walked to the front of church service after church service, stood up during many “special services”, “conventions” and “conferences” when people were challenged to take a “stand in faith” for their “miracle”… so … many … damn … times.
I have “declared”, “decreed” and done all the formulaic bullshit that I have been encouraged to do.
Am I healed of this ailment? No.
Here is the kicker in the whole thing: I still believe in God healing people. We have accounts of it in scripture. We see Jesus – who is supposed to be the exact representation of who the Father is – say, “I am willing, be healed.”, and hope rises inside us. I’ve had a few experiences in this area, but not many. Yet I can’t even get a fucking headache to go away in prayer much less Meniere’s disease. I remember one time I faked it regarding a headache, mainly because we prayed and prayed and prayed, time passed and nothing happened. It wasn’t an over the top, “OH MY GOD! I’M HEALED” faking, it was more of a, “Yeah, I feel better now, thanks.” faking. I was done.
You might be wondering if I am mad at God? No, not really. It is a bit frustrating to not understand what is going on, but then again, there is this great big universe out there that none of us have the full capacity to understand anyways, so there are things that I won’t understand.
What I am mad at is the whole circus in christian circles regarding healing, from evangelists promising miracles up to and including people choosing to put their children’s lives at risk because of their “faith”.
I am mad at any person who “guarantees” healing if someone “just stands in faith” or “gives to the man/woman of God” or has some simple X,Y,Z formula for healing.
I’m mad at all the “believers” who will just point a finger of blame back at people like me who haven’t received healing. They will say it’s our fault or that God “knew” that we would eventually falter so he didn’t heal us, or because we don’t tithe, or because we didn’t worship properly or enough, or we didn’t fast and pray long enough, etc. All of these things normally bring condemnation on the person who doesn’t get healed because they didn’t “truly” have faith or they didn’t “give enough” or they didn’t “commit” to the formula for healing. They just didn’t do enough, apparently, to get or merit God’s attention and miraculous power to heal. It’s as bad as child abuse, really.
I am mad at all the “healers” out there who say that they could go to any hospital in the world and start healing people, but “they have discerned” that the approach they wish to take isn’t “wise” and isn’t in “God’s will”.
I am mad at all the believers who will point to scriptures for “proof” that God doesn’t heal everyone because even Jesus didn’t heal all. No, Jesus didn’t perform miracles in certain areas because the people there wouldn’t receive him. They didn’t believe in him. We have believed and stood and we have gotten very little…
I am mad at all the believers who say that God will purposefully send sickness, disease, injury, etc., to teach us a lesson. Again, that sounds like child abuse. You would lock me up in prison and demand the harshest sentence if I broke my child’s leg on purpose or exposed them to dangerous bacteria in order to teach him or her a lesson! Yet, God can get a free pass on this?
People get sick, people get hurt and maimed, people die. And for those of us who pray and stand and trust God for a miracle, it shakes us to our very core that things didn’t turn out better. Right now, worldwide and in the very town you reside in, there are people suffering and dying. There are people standing in faith and trusting God for miracles, and they won’t get what they are after.
There are enough question that pop up on the subject of healing that it is enough to make one believe that God is no longer in the healing business, or doesn’t want to. Yet some of us, hold on to a fool’s hope that maybe this time…it will be different. I would venture to say that possibly, we see the miracles of Jesus performed as “illustrations of the sermon” so to speak. What I mean is, when someone “comes into the Kingdom” there is restoration. The blind see, the dead are raised, etc. I’ll spare the questions that start to raise even here.
Now, to close this up with maybe a bit of positive thought. I have definitely done what I can with what I have regarding this health issue in my life. By fighting it, by not giving up, it has made me a better person. Though I don’t know how to gauge my “spiritual” growth, I am definitely stronger mentally. You gain a lot of mental strength when you have to go through a violent spell of vertigo, throwing up until you can’t give anymore and then dry heaving for what seems like an eternity while fighting to breathe. I am definitely a healthier person because of this. I am definitely stronger physically too.
Well, I’ve said my piece. Take it for what it is.
Hopefully it has provoked some thought and questions in your own journey.