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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Does God Want Me Healthy? Spiritual Calisthenics

So... I've still been visiting the chiropractor frequently. We're operating on the principle that structure improves function - he may not know what's going on with my body, but he can straighten out stuff so that my body can hopefully function optimally and work on healing itself.

He keeps telling me to say stuff to myself: "I am getting healthy. God wants me healthy. I'm getting better each day," etc. I don't have a problem with positive thinking or anything, and I don't think it's a bad idea to look on the bright side, but... I do have a problem with the whole "God wants me healthy" thing.

What if God doesn't want me healthy? I'm not saying that I know His will or intention. I don't know if I'll be sick forever or if I'll wake up tomorrow and be healthy. I firmly believe He has the power to heal me completely at any time by any means. But I also realize He may choose to not heal me. He may not want me healthy. Let me explain...

Paul tells the church that it has been granted to them to suffer for Christ's sake - it's a privilege (Philippians 1:29). In suffering, we learn dependence on Christ, that His grace is enough, and His power is perfected in weakness (II Corinthians 12:9-10). Peter says we shouldn't be surprised at painful trials, as if something strange were happening to us, but to rejoice to the degree that we share in the sufferings of Christ (I Peter 4:12-13). Hebrews tells us that even Jesus learned obedience through suffering (Hebrews 5:8).

Let me clarify. Do I like suffering? Do I enjoy being sick? Honestly, no. God doesn't call me to be a masochist. He tells me to give thanks in all circumstances. It's interesting that He doesn't say "Give thanks FOR all circumstances." He says IN them. I do not really wake up and thank God that I am in a ton of pain. I'd be lying if I prayed that. But I am so thankful for the results. I'm thankful for what God is teaching me IN these hard times. I am incredibly blessed that He's walking me through this place, because I'm learning so many things I never would have learned otherwise. My relationship with Him is much deeper, and He is refining me and showing me my sin and purifying me. My perspective is so different and my love and compassion for others is much stronger. So I'm thankful IN this circumstance, but not necessarily FOR the hard things, if that makes sense.

Hebrews 12:11 says it better: "All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness." As an athlete, I went through practices that were painful and tough and hard and not at all enjoyable. But the result was that I became stronger. I became a better athlete. My coach didn't put me through intense workouts because he enjoyed watching me suffer and sweat, but because he, in his wisdom, knew it would make me better. And the end result was well worth the effort, even though it wasn't fun at the time. God, who is infinitely wise, puts things in our lives that are hard and unpleasant, not because He wants us to be miserable, but because He knows it's necessary for our growth, so that we can become more like Him.

Finally, historically, does God typically give His people easy, pain-free lives? Think of the prophets - the people who had such a close relationship with God. Their lives were pretty awful. They suffered tremendously - and they were doing exactly what God told them to do. God's own son, Jesus, had a pretty tough life, if you think about it.

What if I were healthy? Does that bring God glory? Would He be greatly glorified if He healed me? Absolutely. But maybe it brings Him more glory if my life is hard, yet I'm still trusting and praising Him. Maybe it's a better testimony to the world and to others following Christ if I suffer. So, that's why I say that God may not want me healthy right now.

Now how do I explain that to my chiropractor? ;)

Hannah ;)

3 comments:

  1. This by far was my favorite post. Thank you so much for sharing this with us! I hope you realize how many people are praying for you sweetie! Keep up the posts...I look forward to reading them!

    Alissa Chandler

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  2. I agree with Alissa... this was a great post. You may not realize how many people you are impacting by your posts! You're incredible Hannah Hale :)

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  3. Thank you so much, ladies! Wow! Your comments were SUCH an encouragement to me!
    I'm blown away by all the people who are praying... what a clear testimony of His love!
    May He get the glory...

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