On April 13, 2016, I had a minor surgery on my ankle. It was a day-surgery, and it had a projected recovery time of 12-weeks. Things seemed to go well, but a couple of weeks later, I developed several very large blood clots in my leg. The blood clots were the most painful thing I have experienced in my life to date.
In the midst of my pain I repeatedly prayed for healing. I wanted a miracle, I wanted the pain to go away, and I prayed fervently that I would be healed. But alas, there was no miraculous healing. As time went on, the pain from the blood clots subsided. My ankle began to heal, I was able to walk again with the help of a special boot, and eventually without the boot.
There have been times where in a moment of need I have prayed for someone, and some kind of supernatural event took place that my eyes or mind had a hard time making sense of, other than to say that God miraculously stepped in. But in this case, there was no instant and miraculous healing. There was only the slow, usual, to-be-expected kind of healing.
There have been several times where people have accused me, my wife, or others that I know of having a lack of faith in situations like this. They believe that since there was no miraculous healing, God didn’t heal, and the only reason he wouldn’t heal you is because of a lack of faith on the part of the one who needs healing. While I find it ironic that the very people who have told me such things still get sick, or have still passed away like every other human being in the history of humanity, when I think about it more seriously I find that this rhetoric demonstrates a lack of faith of another sort, one that I have been guilty of as well. Let me explain
While I was still recovering from the surgery, I read a passage in Deuteronomy that I have taught about in the past that has to do with finances. Here it is:
Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. He led you through the vast and dreadful wilderness, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. He gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, something your ancestors had never known, to humble and test you so that in the end it might go well with you. You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.
In our finances, we are supposed to be careful not to forget all that the Lord has done for us, including giving us the ability to work to produce wealth. It is fairly well established and widely accepted in Christian circles that all that we have comes from the Lord. Even when our hands work to make us money, we remember that it is God who gave us our hands, and so give thanks to God for the wealth created by our hands.
You see, I prayed for an instant healing, which didn’t happen. But over the usual course of time, my body healed in the more predictable fashion. While I would personally disagree with those who claim that every denied miracle is the result of a lack of faith, I still bought into another idea that goes hand-in-hand with that ideology—I believed that because I did not experience a miracle that God did not heal me.
Then, as I was going about my business, believing that for some mysterious reason God chose not to heal me, I was confronted with this passage in Deuteronomy 8. When I read verse 18, which says, “But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth,” it was like a voice then whispered in my mind, saying, “But remember that the Lord your God made your body, with its ability to heal”.
You see, the Lord made my body with its ability to heal. The Lord made our bodies so incredibly that doctors and scientists can even consistently and reliably measure the time it takes for things to heal. When I did not receive a miracle, I bought into the idea that God didn’t heal me, instead of recognizing that God made my body, and though the healing was slow, “natural”, and expected, I was being healed because of the way that the Lord made me. I had forgotten the Lord.
After my son had his tonsils removed, and after he was fully recovered, he was sitting with one of his grandparents when they were asking about his recovery, and one of them said something about him being “all healed up”. My son sat up straight, got a big grin on his face, and asked, “God healed me?” Then before anyone could respond he was giddy with joy saying very excitedly, “God healed me! God healed me!” You see, in his mind, the word “healing” is intrinsically tied to the work of God. And you know what? I think he’s right.
How many times do we forget to praise God for his healing in us simply because he heals us through His design of our bodies rather than an instantaneous miracle? How many times do we forget to praise the Lord for providing for our needs just because we had to work to earn the money?
The warning from Deuteronomy is needed now just as much as it was then: “Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God”
So I praise God for healing me, though it was not through a miracle but through His incredible design of my body.