I whispered carefully, hesitantly into the dark, half-hoping my husband was already asleep because I feared how this would sound when I heard myself say it out loud:
“Should I stop asking God to heal me?”
Sometimes the heaviness of grief over what is and what’s been lost overwhelms me. I’m deeply familiar with the sorrow that accompanies limitations. And like so many others who walk through trials of chronic conditions, I feel invisible in a world that sees and values strength and capacity. It’s a complicated, layered lament.
I often experience the joy of doing well for a long season only to collapse privately in depletion. My brain and body have stopped my ability to manage so I have to start the recovery cycle all over again. Sometimes choosing one activity prevents me from being well enough for another, but I don’t always have the freedom to choose. I long to be more available to my family and friends, and at times feel like I’m failing them. I know the discouragement of pursuing treatments that may not work.
It’s also the heaviness of working overtime to manage well publicly. I feel exposed when I get words wrong or I can’t find them, when public composure fails, when my energy is all shifted to getting from point A to point B, or when others misunderstand. I’m aware of my own vulnerability, dependent on grace from others and trusting I can count on them. I need to be remembered but also recoil at the thought of being defined by a chronic condition, known as the “the girl with the head injury”. I have an endless desire to be made completely well and never struggle anymore.
It all adds up to grief. And in the particular chronic cycle I live in, I am frequently exhausted and incapable, crying out to God to hear me and heal me.
“Why would you stop asking?” my husband whispered back.
I tried to reason it out: I know that God is not cruel. But there are times when He seems silent. There are long seasons where I ask and ask, and He just doesn’t say “yes” when I ask Him to heal me.
So I wanted to know, if He is saying “no,” should I stop asking? Should I just accept that this is the way it’s going to be? Am I wasting my time and efforts asking Him to fix me?
I wanted to move on quickly from the accident three Novembers ago, to recover and not look back. I didn’t want this to be part of the story or have my whole life shaded by this event. So often, it seems to dominate the picture when I would like it to be further in the background, more distant and a hazy memory.
But as I wrestle through what is true about God in the midst of this, I know with total certainty that, given the chance, I wouldn’t go back to before November 21, 2019. I’ve traced the last three years, and I’ve seen the Lord’s goodness following me.
He’s been faithfully leading me through dark valleys, holding me up, carrying me closer, nourishing me with His word and the comfort of His people, giving me the joy of His presence. He’s made me more dependent on Him and less concerned with what people think. I’ve truly never known a day apart from the Lord, even the days that are clouded over with grief or suffering. I’ve known Him better and called out for Him as my Father more. Even though He hasn’t given me the answer I’ve longed for, He’s never put distance between us.
My husband listened to my grief and held my head close. “Don’t stop asking Him. I’m not going to stop either.”
And then he prayed for me again and I remembered how every day of asking God to heal me has brought me to my knees in dependence in ways I wouldn’t have known without this.
So I won’t stop asking. I may never get the “yes” of complete healing. But He has never yet denied His help to me. He promised never to leave me, so I know He will be near, even while I wait.