Now is the time for me to write a very very long entry and attempt to put together a lot of things that may not seem to make much sense by themselves, because I am beginning to see some connections. We will see if the thunderstorms allow me to write... Thankfully, I have the save draft feature!
The following exchange is edited from comments on an entry in my journal:
Posted by duponthumanite at 2006-04-12 10:02 pm UTC (
Do you still ask him to heal you sometimes? That would be maturity - or not?
But I think you're in a place of accepting who you are.
Posted by 3kitties at 2006-04-13 01:22 am UTC (
I believe that healing is not only for the past, and I do still ask for it. However, I am in a much different place emotionally and spiritually, and I recognize that His ways are not mine and also that I cannot ask for something from Him and then go about my life and ignore what He asks of me. It's a very complex issue to think about, and I believe that He has allowed me to live with illness and disability for a number of reasons, including my own maturing process. I believe that He will heal some of my conditions. Others seem to fall under the category of "thorns in the flesh," things that torment me and remind me that He is my strength. I am willing to accept this.
Posted by duponthumanite at 2006-04-13 01:44 am UTC (
How do you distinguish between one and the other?
What is an example of a condition which falls under the former and which is more like a thorn in your side?
This is an extremely complex issue, one that theologians and ministers have wrestled with for ages. It's easy to try to spit out formulas in order to ease people's suffering--or perhaps at times to ease the theologian or minister's internal struggle! This is really an age-old problem: man trying to "figure out" God and manipulate Him to our own will instead of relate to Him according to His will. It is still a temptation for me after all these years of struggle and probably always will be even though I feel that I am called to the ministry of healing and deliverance--perhaps because I am called to it.
God is in many ways unknowable. His ways are higher than mine, and I must always respect this truth. He cannot and will not be manipulated to MY will. I am to glorify HIM. He created me, and I am always to respect that order. Yet while I respect it, I can also trust that He LOVES me and knows me intimately. I am not an object to Him but a person He loves! The truth is something worth celebrating--and worth honoring by caring for myself!
God did not bless humankind with medical knowledge so that we could avoid using the resources we have to care for our bodies. It's like preparing food vs. looking for manna to fall down because God is able. God is able, but we are not helpless babes. He entrusts us with responsibilities for ourselves and for His creation. God promises to care for and provide for us, but His intention was never that we be allowed to squander His blessings and reap the benefits of those who draw near without doing the work. Salvation is much more than a pie in the sky reward for expressing some vague belief in Jesus or God which many Westerners take comfort in. It is a life transformed by the power of God by drawing near to Him, throwing off the things that keep one at a distance from Him. It means letting Him search and try the heart: a process which is painful but ultimately results in joy as He cleanses it. It means setting aside what I think I want immediately and checking with Him via His Word and prayer--and sometimes waiting for the answer or for understanding of a complex answer.
When I talk about going to His Word, I don't mean flipping a Bible open now and then for a casual answer, although it's full of answers. I mean getting into it often and letting it become familiar. It makes finding the answers possible. The Bible is not a quick fix document, and relationship with God is not about quick fixes. It's about wisdom and faith and maturity.
I'm fighting a real mental block somewhere. My heart's desire is to go to seminary and study church work with people with disabilities and healing and deliverance ministry. In some ways the two seem to conflict; but where you have one you must have the other. If the healing doesn't come or the person doesn't want prayer for healing, it is vital that the person with a disability be enabled to participate fully in the activities of the community. Disability ministry that exists only to enable the nondisabled to serve creates an unpleasant situation by burdening the church unnecessarily.
What is my mental block...? I am probably dealing with book material here. However, I am fighting a myth in my mind: I can't write about deep theological subjects without at least an M.Div. I've never served in any kind of ministry capacity officially. I consider the things I do to be ministries of sorts; but I don't call them that.
But is a healthy person with a D.Min. more qualified to write about healing simply because he/she has a D.Min? I've never bothered to look and see whether Joni Eareckson has a degree. Even if she does, her ministry has been built by her experiences with disabilities. I've never wanted to be the church's token blind person or the person who succeeded "in spite of blindness." I realize that's how sighted people think about blindness: in terms of what it would take from them. There are certainly days when I succeed at specific things in spite of blindness because I invent some creative way to do something that no one can figure out how to teach me or accomplish something that is especially hard to do without vision. But for the most part, blindness is something that I work around. The solutions are often expensive and can be frustrating; but they do exist. For the barriers and weaknesses presented by my other disabilities, there are no solutions. This has altered my view of blindness and is why I cringe when I am portrayed as courageous for succeeding in spite of blindness. I am only living with the required adaptations--as often as I can acquire them. When I can't acquire them, I make do. If living itself is courageous, then I suppose I am courageous; but I am committed to life and am only doing what is required to keep that commitment.
Of course, the figurative D.Min. has reasons for writing about healing. We are all touched by illness and disability at some times, even if not personally. I made the above comment in an effort to shatter my myth, not to say that D.Min.'s are all healthy. If the book is inside me, how can I not write it?
My story is very complex, and I feel like I've told it a hundred times... To tell the truth, as I read the old entries while I was posting them here, I realized that there was a time in my life when I was quite obsessive about the topic of healing. It was rather embarrassing to read the entries. But I think it was part of the necessary growing process, as Adelaide pointed out. The maturity isn't in the fact that I no longer ask for healing but in the manner in which I approach God and the thoughts I have about myself and the prospect of healing. I talk about this less than I used to; but I feel as passionate as I always did. At some point, I will tell the story in a way that brings the details together in the manner that makes the most sense--and that is why I am most "obsessive" about retelling it. I need to sort it out, to tell it in the proper order. It matters to me.
When I was struggling with chronic bronchitis and sinus infections in 2002, I had a sense that if I would make a particular change in my life, God would respond by healing the infections. It was a hunch, but I responded by making the changes. They happened to be changes that were generally good for me in terms of nutrition. They also led me to some important information about potential triggers of migraines, asthma attacks, etc. From this I learned the importance of discipline, and I have always felt that this set of illnesses was given to me to remind me to care for myself and respect God's authority in my life.
It is often the case that a person visits doctor after doctor only to get the same negative diagnosis. If the details are explained properly and nothing can be done, it's time to touch the hem of his garment--or to accept that the answer is no. This is where I am with my left eye. For many years, I have experienced problems with my right eye which were treatable, and it was right for me to pursue medical treatment for these. When I was a child, my parents were given certain information regarding the condition of my left eye which was probably the best estimate at the time because an estimate was all that could be provided. However, two things have happened that are important for the future of this eye. One is that I suddenly began to see out of it where I had never seen anything out of it in the past. This occurred in 1992 for the first time, and the vision has improved very gradually over the years since then. The other is that the techniques now exist to scan the back of the eye. This was done for me in 2004, and the results led eventually to yesterday's exam. I now know definitively that doctors cannot help me.
I am in a difficult state regarding my seizures because there is no medical evidence and yet they respond to treatment. So even if I should be able to cease the same treatment for other conditions (and I believe that I reasonably could), I cannot do it on account of the seizures. However, my goal in life is not to life free of medication but to do the things that God has called me to do. This is an important point: many people ask for healing because they desire to live free of medications. Here a person's theology about health and wellness matters very much. If I believe that God does not approve of the use of medications, then I will attempt to manipulate Him so that I can live free of them. If I believe that God entrusts me with the care of my body and that medications are among the resources available to accomplish this task, then I will take medications responsibly and without reservation. In reality, I am affected by both belief systems, and I must choose which one to embrace each day.
I will have much more to say about this in time. I'm getting sleepy--this is about the longest sitting I've done since surgery on Monday.