This week in church, we were reminded of our need to pray expectantly, not because of the power of the person praying, but because we are asking things of a great God. At the end of the message, Ian received prayer and was anointed by our pastor.
And this is all an appropriate response to sickness, according to the Bible, particularly James 5. It's just that we've done it so many times. And Ian is still severely disabled. He has been anointed by various pastors within our family of churches but he still has not been healed as we have asked. Steve was anointed, and prayed over, and he still died. Our good friend Beth has been anointed multiple times and has still suffered migraines for ten years.
So why do we keep anointing Ian and praying for healing? Why, even when I feel completely deflated, tired of asking the same thing, sick of standing at the front of the church for prayer and all too aware that Steve is gone which means it didn't "work," do we keep going forward?
I don't know. My flesh doesn't want to. My sinful nature doesn't believe that God can do it. Because it hasn't happened yet. And because my flesh is not long suffering.
But if I let go entirely of even the tiny grasp that I have on the truth that God can heal Ian, then I am disregarding who God is. God is able, but not required, to heal Ian. And it scares me to think that he won't, because I don't know what that means. I can't figure out a God who doesn't heal.
But as Steve often told me, even if God doesn't heal Ian, He is still good. He will always be good. Even if my flesh can't understand continued disability and sickness. And we can't let ourselves forget that He is good and He is merciful. And that is why we still pray. And anoint. Because regardless of how I feel, the Bible tells me that God is able. So when I drag my feet toward expectant prayer and wrestle to believe in its effect, I am still praying to a good God. When my faith feels like a tiny thread, God has a stronghold on my life. When I offer up the weakest prayers, because of Jesus they are still beautiful and acceptable to God.
Thank you for your expectant prayers for four years.