A Process of Healing
‘But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture.’ Malachi 4:2
Four years ago I started praying for answers to major family difficulties that Nick and I had been facing at that particular time and that now, years later, seem ridiculous to still be praying about. I had (and still have) quite a naïve view of prayer and was holding out firmly for the moment when it would all make sense, when there would be full resolve and I could finally say “this is why this and that happened”.
I’m not sure I would have used the word itself but this was definitely where and when I thought healing would happen – when all would again be neat and tidy, finished and resolved and as it should be. I know it’s not that these fully restorative outcomes don’t happen because I have seen them in the lives of others; and it’s not that I don’t think it will happen for us.
What I do know is that our God is good and faithful and that He has really shown me that healing is a process.
God Really Does Have the Very Best Plans For Us
A couple of years ago, while feeling particularly discouraged, I felt God show me that the family situation we were facing was actually better for us than the alternative that we had been praying for over the previous few months. This may not make perfect sense to you reading without going into more detail, but suffice to say that this insight suddenly made total sense to me, so much sense in fact that I really couldn’t understand why I hadn’t seen it myself earlier. The revelation from my Heavenly Father didn’t mean at all that anything was better or that the pain had gone away but I could clearly see that God was looking after us even though the perfect outcomes that I had been praying for hadn’t (yet) happened.
The Ministry of the Greatest Pain
That same year, Nick and I were able to attend the HTB leadership conference in The Royal Albert Hall in London during which there was an incredible interview with Rick and Kay Warren. Kay highlighted that often our ministry comes out of our greatest pain and not our greatest strength and I knew instantly that God was putting His finger on this for me.
This last week, nearly 3 years on from this Royal Albert Hall revelation, we talked and prayed with a couple going through a very similar situation that we had experienced. I knew that this is what God had shown me back in London. I will pray for this couple in a way that I probably haven’t prayed for anyone else before precisely because I can identify so closely with their situation and with their confusion and with their pain.
Earlier this summer we spent a few days on the Isle of Arran at a Christian retreat lodge – a really beautiful place! To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from God. I found the thought of a ‘Christian retreat’ to be a little stereotyped so I wasn’t exactly approaching the trip with brimming faith. But, on the very first night as we sat reading and praying, God showed me an equally important reason why I had been struggling to understand why some things had been so difficult for us. Part of what He showed me was how I needed to do better in responding to Him within this process – it was so clear! I always know it’s God speaking when something unpleasant is revealed about my inner self but I still feel really encouraged anyway! I suddenly knew God had shown me that there had been some point to the dead ends that seemed to constantly stare us down and that it was going to have something to do with my own personal growth.
Once again, our overall situation was not suddenly resolved and the pain of it still remains but I did feel a strong sense of hope again in being able to really see that God is working, even though I often feel that He’s not there.
The Voice of God
As we sat together on this small Scottish Island enjoying God, I knew for sure that He had done something of a healing work in me…and it was through the clarity of His voice. We believe that there is power in the Name of Jesus, don’t we? And we believe that sometimes all it takes is just the mention of His Name. Well, all it needed for my head and my heart and my hope to be lifted that foggy Summer’s evening, was knowing beyond any doubt that God knew all about everything, that He was very much with us and that He will one day make everything perfect and whole and right as it should be.
“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” Rev.22:2