“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
My husband and I have lived with chronic illnesses over 35 years, sometimes painful and sometimes debilitating. And for the past 7 months, my husband has been battling Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. We’ve asked many times for Jesus to heal them, but we have come to understand that Jesus doesn’t always heal. Instead, he has a plan for our pain and suffering.
We have been watching episodes of The Chosen, which is a series streaming through Angel Studios. Although there are liberties taken with this series, I was in tears when we watched this clip from Season 3 on healing because it is a beautiful explanation of why Jesus doesn’t always heal.
Joni Eareckson Tada (a woman who was paralyzed at age 18 after a diving accident) wrote the following on her Facebook page, which mirrors my own thoughts: It’s not that the Lord isn’t concerned about my physical comfort; it’s just that my physical problems are not always his focus. Jesus is more concerned about the condition of my soul. He wants me to feel the sharpness of my weakness, so that I might find strength in him. Psalm 84:11 promises me that “no good thing will [God] withhold from those whose walk is blameless;” but the ‘good thing’ may not always be physical healing.
Instead, he’ll not withhold courage and endurance. God will not withhold patience and perseverance. He won’t withhold peace and hope, making my soul brave and roomy for him. When my needs are great? His grace will be greater. That’s his plan. And I think it’s a good one. So, why then did I cry over this scene between Jesus and his disciple? I wept because I identified with it. My tears overflowed at Jesus’s last words: “So hang on a little longer… You will be healed. It’s just a matter of time.”
Chronic illness, pain, and disability (short or long-term) is hard to endure on a daily basis. Not just the physical aspect, but not being able to make definite plans, canceling plans, draining financial resources to pay for treatment, and trying to maintain a marriage and family while sick are all difficult, if not impossible, without God’s strength. His power is made perfect in my weakness…that’s His plan.
My husband and I also believe that Jesus wants us to come alongside and comfort others who are suffering with illnesses we have experienced or are experiencing. Who better to comfort others than those who have walked the same path?
Would we like to be healed of our illnesses and cancer? Absolutely! But more importantly, we want to be in God’s will and live in His strength. When others ask, “How do you keep going?”, we can tell others we do it only by the strength, peace, wisdom, and encouragement that Jesus gives us.
So we’re happy to “hang on just a little longer” to share the hope others can find in Jesus.