Sometimes our prayers for healing or removing the burden which vexes us isn’t answered the way we would like because often the Lord uses what we endure and the burdens we carry to teach us more about ourselves and surely about Him than we would know without having that burden or enduring our woes. It’s not His will to make us miserable, but rather it is, in my opinion, His desire to have us draw closer to Him, to watch us overcome because of His help, and to rise higher than an affliction or a vexing situation.
I’ve witnessed this in my own mother’s life for years. She has had to endure crippling arthritis in her hands especially, but also in most of her joints and throughout her body. But when I say crippling, I mean that in our estimation. Even though her hands, wrists and other joints are visibly altered, she hasn’t let it cripple her, nor has she let the bumps, inflamed joints, or alignment imperfections change a thing about her life! She worked as a nurse until she was 79, which was last year. She has been active, even until the present time. She has never let the pain I’m sure she has endured, given the mangled state of her fingers especially, stop her, nor has she languished in it with self-pity. I’m not saying this to declare her a saint, but rather to share her example in confirming this message. She has learned to not only live with her impairments and her ailment, but she has learned to live with it all with a good attitude and a peaceful acceptance! God didn’t heal her perhaps because He was able to show others through her that often what we mere humans believe about our limits is just false! And by not healing her, He was able to convince my mom that her life was still valuable and worthy of her peace of mind, her joy of spirit, her faith in Him and her contentment through it all. There are many people with much worse arthritis, who are much more crippled physically by it and other diseases, and those who have other really bad disorders or ailments through which to contend. This is by no means meant to disregard or disparage their pain, their situations, or the very real difficulties and challenges presented by their afflictions. I relate this as a means of suggesting that a lot of what we deem insurmountable is truly a source of strength, courage and an overcomer’s tenacity if we turn our perspective.
Paul, formerly Saul, who wrote several books of the New Testament, was also given such a measure – for which he too accepted the absence of healing as a means of showing God’s great glory and strength! From 2 Corinthians 12: 7 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. Take it from Paul, perhaps what you’ve been all-too-accepting as a weakness is really a source of great strength if you just choose to make it such!