by Dr. Linda Seger – author of Reflections with God: While Waiting to Be Healed
It is easy, with all the thousands of Bible verses that promise God’s help, to presume that healing will come, that that job offer we’ve been waiting for will come quickly, that the relationship we want – or want to be improved – will all work out. God is on our side and hears our cry. Of course, that cry will be answered and all will be well.
When the answer we are waiting for doesn’t come, Christians might have several different responses. One is to simply turn our backs on God and decide God is definitely not on our side. I have a dear friend with a brain injury. Every time improvement comes with her injury, another problem develops which is, like the brain injury, rare, not easily diagnosed, and not getting healed. She waits. She asks “why?” She hears verses about healing and wonders where God is. Christians often come into this situation and play the Blame Game – ” this is happening because you didn’t.” ___ (fill in the blanks). The problem must be our fault. If only we had done something differently, all would be well.
Others give lots of advice: “You need to – take this supplement, go to this doctor, read this book, say more prayers, go to the faith healer in ______, go to my church, read these verses, Have Faith, Believe More.” Some people have already done all of the above – and they aren’t all better. So, friends try to come up with other ideas. “Watch this video. Have your tried dance therapy? singing? reading the same Bible verse a hundred times? taking communion every day? How about ____?” The advice is endless.
As Christians, our faith often is dependent on seeing evidence of healing – either for ourselves or for others. Our illness is a real burden and frustration to Loved Ones. There must be a reason.
Through my own eight-years of medical problems, I have found strength in several ways:
• Encouragement in the Scriptures
Waiting can go on for a long, long time. There are many Psalmists who kept waiting, and felt forsaken, and finally (who knows how long after their prayer for help?) found help. It is not terribly helpful when we are waiting, but many verses in the Bible imply even the “More Holy Than We Are” people waited some time for the answers to our prayers.
I draw great comfort from the Book of Job, not just because he suffered so much, but because he experienced what many of us experience – well-meaning friends trying to quickly solve our problem with reasoning, and logic, and trying to figure it out for us. Job kept feeling that his friends’ answers were wrong. Finally, in Job 38, God enters and instead of answering Job’s question of “Why?” responds with a non-sequitur – an answer that makes no sense. “Where were you when I created the world?” God asks us to enter in the Mystery of His Authority. And then, he turns to Job’s friends and tells them they were wrong. The answer does not lie with all their reasoning.
• Unexpected Ways
The answers often come in ways that we didn’t ask for. I have found strength when my strength and patience seemed to be all worn out. I have been led to brilliant doctors, oncologist, Dr. Uchenna Njiaju, and Radiation oncologist. Dr. Jane Ridings. ( See the image below with me in between) I have found the gumption to continue my therapies. I am learning to identify the Hand of God being there for me – and not demand it look a specific way.
• Just Being with Others
I have found it far more comforting to have others simply wait with me – expectantly, praying with me, and recognizing there still is a Presence, in spite of everything. And remembering, Jesus also suffered, and it didn’t all neatly go away, even though he prayed all night. We wait – for redemption, for healing, for a response.
And, always, Something, Someone Is there – in the midst of our waiting.
Dr. Linda Seger is an internationally known author, keynote speaker and seminar leader on spirituality. She has a Th.D. in Theology, two M.A.s in Religion and one in Drama. Linda’s award-winning books, nine on screenwriting and 6 on spiritual topics, are known the world over for her practical wisdom and insights. Her most recent books on spirituality include The Alphabet Prayer which she co- authored with her husband Peter Le Var and Reflections with God: While Waiting to Be Healed.