A friend passed away over the weekend. She had a sudden illness a week-and-a-half ago. One day she is working, the next she is ill, and the next she dances with the King of Kings.
She and I share much in common. We both became seriously ill. We both had thousands praying for us. We both looked at death. We both had an extended stay in the hospital. But there the differences stop. I came home. She went home.
The natural next question is why God heals me, but not her. We hunger for patterns and relationships in an attempt to understand God and his workings, but sometimes those patterns seem so mysterious and obscure. There doesn’t seem to be a set of words you can pray that always bring healing to you or your loved one. There’s no formula for the number of people you can get to pray that will move the hand of God. And for many, this lack of concreteness is so unsettling that they just give up. There must be no God, they say, for this randomness follows the rules of chance more than some universal law from a loving God.
I know I’m supposed to have some answers to this theological madness, but I don’t. I don’t know why God heals some, but not others. But I think there’s a larger perspective at play here.
We all must die one day. It cannot be escaped. That process remains a great unknown to us because the billions that have already walked through those doors don’t come back to tell us what the experience is like. But God has created a path, through Jesus, that brings us comfort on this side of death and in the company of glory on that one. There is a gulf that separates Judy from us right now, but if we could talk, I’m certain she would say to give those doors of death little thought. Going through that door is only a little thing in comparison to the One who greets you on the other side. We will miss Judy, but she is fully satisfied now. And if you know Jesus, He too will greet you at that door on the day you must pass through. Fear not. Death is only the slobbering of an angry enemy ruffled because he’s already lost. Death will not harm you, Children of God.
If you prayed for Judy, don’t let your heart be troubled or your faith rattled. God still heals–I once almost died, but now I live! My testimony rings true because He who wrote it is True. If you are sick and craving the Lord’s touch, keep praying. He keeps healing. If you are weary and craving a Word from God, keep asking. He keeps speaking. If you are standing in the gap for a family member, keep standing. He keeps strengthening.
And now, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
UPDATE: This post has been receiving quite a few hits. For perspective on my own story, you should read Leadership Lessons From the Edge of Death.