Healing Doesn't Come With a Warning Label

Healing Doesn't Come With a Warning Label

All parents know that the failing and the flailing, the wrestling and the weeping, are part of growing up.

If you lived with me in my house you'd find me shuffling around in a boot some days, a big one, strapped to my leg with velcro because my plantar fasciitis means I can't walk otherwise. Once a week, you'd see me jabbing a needle into my leg because the fluid inside makes the cells in my body receive insulin so my blood sugar will lower enough to be safe. Every morning, you'd watch me swallow my np thyroid and several hours later, make a vitamin salad with my inositol, selenium, Ds, Bs, Cs, and others to inhale with an iodine cocktail. 

I'd be watching the clock, because I have a limited eating window of 6 to 8 hours per day; less than that on days I'm feeling able and brave, because I've learned that fasting lowers sugar and insulin. My heavy, insulin-resistant body needs lower sugar and insulin. Not only because I'm becoming diabetic, and not only because I'm trying to lose weight, and not only because the daily brain fog and fatigue makes thinking / living / mothering next to impossible, but because an MRI last spring revealed my ovarian cyst is still there, still bigger than a grapefruit, still causing my doctor to whisper, "cancer?" with a question mark.

It's been a full and eventful year for this middle-aged body. On the soul side of things, I feel like I'm a thousand years old. I've wrestled and wept with God like my two-year-old wrestles and wails with me, and He holds me close as I do him. Because all parents know that the failing and the flailing, the wrestling and the weeping, are part of growing up.

Take faith, for instance. Not the save-your-soul kind of faith, although that is most important. But the faith of "if you believe, all things are possible to him who believes." Or this one:

And when He had come into the house, the blind men came to Him. And Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.” Then He touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith let it be to you.” Matt. 9:28-29

According to your faith. What kind of faith do I have? A little faith? A weak faith? Or faith that is fierce and unwavering? A faith that is not blind, but could make blind eyes see or crippled feet well or cysts disappear from an ovary? 

Jesus is able to heal my foot and my blood. He is able to heal my body and my ovary and my joints and my cells and my paralyzed creativity. He is my maker and healer and redeemer. He is able and He is willing. That's another truth to hold close; never once when He walked the earth did He refuse a desperate soul who cried out for His mercy. He healed all who came to him, and He is the same now. 

Do I believe this? 

I've been quiet these last months. No, for these last few years. I've been in the deep, in the aching dark, in the unknown, and in the joy. Did you know there's a tremendous weight to joy? It's almost unbearable and definitely, sometimes, you can't breathe for the transcendence of it. It's vulnerable, too. The most vulnerable thing, because what happens next? What is there after joy? It all feels too fragile and I creep about softly, holding life and love in both arms, praying nothing will break. 

Believing all will be healed. 
Knowing all is healed. 

Not in a hand-to-the-forehead push from a well-lit stage or a thunderous "Be healed!" from someone whose shoes cost more than my monthly rent. But because the gentle and humble Messiah said so. Because the Man of Sorrows bore my infirmities and suffered a Roman whip and promised that anything I ask the Father in His name, I will receive. (vv. Is. 53:4-12, John 15:16)

As far as I know, I still have an enormous cyst on my left ovary.
My left heel can reduce me to tears for the pain. I cannot walk without a limp. Somedays, I cannot walk. My podiatrist has done all he can. He recommends surgery.
I eat, and my blood sugar races to the sky.

Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that same hour. Matt. 8:13

If I take medicine, does that mean I don't have enough faith? Yes. I went there. Would God actually use chemicals and potions with dubious ingredients mixed in a lab to heal me? Would He? Once, Jesus spit on the ground and mixed it with dirt to make mud. Then, he applied it to the eyes of a blind man and told him to go wash. Healed. Scripture is filled with stories of healing touch, healing prayer, and other gifts. Would God's way to heal me come with an encyclopedia of possible side effects? 

According to your faith, He said. I reach for the medicine. I wear the boot. I'm researching local cancer centers as I move forward regarding my cyst. I'm working towards extended fasts and one meal a day and keto and apple cider vinegar in a daily tonic. As you have believed, so let it be done for you. 

I am stunned. The medicine makes a difference in one day. An astonishing difference in one week. Maybe? Maybe I'll actually get well? I begin to feel the unsavory discomfort of hope. What kind of faith do I have? Where am I putting my trust?

I do not believe the use of medicine is wrong. But as a woman of faith, I need to grapple with this. I believe scripture. I believe God. I am drowning. I am in great need. When storms come, does my faith waver? Do I succumb to the allure of a miracle drug or a surgeon's knife? Am I weak? Am I faithless? Lord? 

Flail. Wrestle. Weep.

Last week there was a night I lay awake. My loved ones fell asleep early and I crept to my desk in the dark. I powered up my iMac and opened my notes app. I began to write:


The medicine hasn’t cured me. It isn’t my healer. If I stop taking it, I am back to the health struggle (and probably worse).
I am in a mortal body that will die one day. Any earthly healing is temporary, even if it is lifelong. Furthermore, we will have trials in this world. 
The Lord God is the healer, and He is always willing and able to heal. Healing is according to His ways and His timing.
While I am in need, my calling is to pray and wait on the Lord.
Sometimes the waiting is bone-crushing agony. Other times, He provides relief in the waiting. Both kinds are invitations to trust. Both kinds are invitations to know God more deeply, draw nearer to Him, and learn of Him.
This time, He has graciously provided relief to my body by allowing me the grace to choose a medication that may help in the meantime. 
Give us this day our daily bread.
This day I have this particular means of relief.
I may or may not have it tomorrow.
Tomorrow will worry about its own things.

(And healing doesn’t come with warning labels and side effects.)

My blood and insulin are ill, but His grace is sufficient.
My foot is in pain and I limp when I walk, and traveling down the hall can cause enormous distress, but His grace is sufficient.
I am severely overweight, but His grace is sufficient.
I have a large cyst on my ovary, and my back, shoulders, and body are screaming from pain; I am a failing and flailing mother, but His grace is sufficient.

I am the daughter of God. My Heavenly Father knows I have need. In His wisdom and grace, He has supplied the bread of Christ’s body, the drink of Christ’s blood, and the robe of Christ's righteousness.

His body is enough.
His blood is enough.
His righteousness is enough.

His grace is enough.


I am at peace. 

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