This morning while flipping through the t.v. channels I came across the 700 Club. I don't know that I've ever watched an entire episode of this, but I've kept it on for a few minutes at least. This time there was a story about a woman very ill with and possibly dying from a bile duct problem who was lying on her couch, watching the 700 Club, when Gordon Robertson began to pray for a woman with a bile duct problem. It was as if he was praying just for her and it turned out, so they believe, he was. He told the woman to go and get tested again because God had healed her, and, sure enough, this woman went and got tested and had no bile duct problem, no tumors, no mass on her lung. Everything that had been killing her was gone. Even her doctor credited the Lord with working a miracle.
I believe in miracles. It's the next part that troubled me a bit.
So they cut to the live audience and began praying for healing miracles. Robertson turned to six individuals, who I believe were all pastors, who were live via satellite. They each, in turn, listed off dire-sounding situations of people in need of healing and they were very specific. God is unkinking a bowel of a woman with diverticulitis. A man who woke this morning with sinus problems is being healed. Patsy has some doubt as she watches this program but God is calling her to a more personal relationship with him. They even went to audience members to hear what they saw, and we can't leave out the scrolling text on the bottom of the screen from viewers at home, listing off various healings of strangers God told them about.
I have to admit, I placed my hand on my "affected area" when Robertson told me to and anxiously awaited to hear "a woman dealing with infertility, a problem with her ovaries, God is touching you right now and healing you. Go take a pregnancy test right now because you are, in fact, pregnant."
Let me say that I am not making fun of these people. I, too, am a Christian and I wholeheartedly believe in God's healing power. He can perform miracles and does each day. And while the segment did have an eery psychic quality about it, that's not even what I was compelled to post about. No, it's the question of who God chooses to heal that struck me. I kind of got the feeling from the show that if you pray hard enough, believe hard enough, and concentrate hard enough, God will physically heal you. To me, that means if you don't receive a physical healing it must be because you aren't praying hard enough, believing hard enough or concentrating hard enough. That would mean I am doing something wrong.
Is the lack of healing a punishment? If I believe a healing is a gift, a grace, a blessing, then isn't the absence of a healing evidence that God chose not to bless me? Is he purposely not giving me a gift (I kind of picture a big party in which God is slowly and dramatically handing out gifts, only he comes to me and none are left)? And is it because I am doing something wrong?
The answer to those questions, of course, is no. The lack of a healing is not punishment and does not mean he is holding back a gift from me. And I don't believe my lack of a pregnancy has anything to do with past transgressions or current deficiencies in my faith. But why?
We know that God is love and God loves us. He's not up there pointing to those he wants to heal, holding it over us, laughing from above at his manipulation (that actually conjures up images of Satan, doesn't it?). God does allow healing for some, but I don't believe it's because of anything we have done (keeping with the "gift" and "party" theme, I actually like to picture a birthday party for someone other than myself. The fact that they get presents doesn't mean no one loves me. It's just not my birthday). None of us are really worthy of his miracles.
I always go back to my belief that our lives are planned perfectly - that I may view my nearly four year wait for a child as a horrible affliction sent from the devil, while God views it as simply part of my path. This wait could just be part of his plan for me because my baby isn't supposed to be born until I'm 32, or until we live in a certain state, or until my husband takes a certain job he's meant to take. It could be part of a grand design so that I meet certain people I may otherwise not meet, so that I help someone else dealing with infertility I otherwise would not be in a position to help, or so that we can adopt, something that, let's be honest, we probably would never do if I was able to pop out a ton or biological kids. Or how about the fact that I may not have drawn closer to him if not for this struggle? Or, to look at it another way, it may not even be his intention that I suffer at all. It's possible that it is my actually my choice to suffer, brought about by my ego, impatience, pride, jealousy, all those bad things that are not of God. Aren't those all the reasons we suffer in the first place? If it wasn't for my earthly desires and humaness, I'm not sure I would be mourning the lack of biological children at all.
I don't mean to take away from your suffering. It is real and painful and good can come from it. But if we begin to view our suffering differently, it might get easier to bear. (I should also point out that am not considering other types of suffering as I ponder this. I am just taking into account my own experience with suffering through infertilty).
While I know God works wonders and is rightly praised for that, I worry how an emphasis placed on healings will affect those who will never get their miracle. I think this leads back to a question of when it is appropriate to praise God. As a Christian community, we really only praise him for the positive - healings, pregnancies, health, new jobs. But aren't we supposed to praise him in bad times to? When we fail to do this we discredit those who God hasn't chosen to heal (I know you're all familiar with the Casting Crown's song, Praise You in This Storm, but I wanted to link to the lyrics again because they are just so poignant).
It may go against everything we are conditioned to believe as humans, but I think the lack of a healing is a gift from God. He loves us and we need to trust him that this is the best possible thing for us right now. That being said, I also haven't counted out a healing for myself as well, but only he knows if and when that will happen. But if, while in prayer, you happen to see a very specific image of a brown-haired woman, who looks a lot like my picture, with ovary problems and PCOS getting a healing from God, please let me know.