By Emily Sealy
“Have you been prayed over by the church leaders?” “Have you fasted and prayed?” “Have you tried ‘x’ supplements/vitamins/shake/drink…” “Have you gotten a second opinion?” “Do you know ‘so-and-so’? They have a 2nd cousin who used to be in a wheelchair and they did ‘x’ therapy and now they can walk with no problems.” “Have you heard about the ‘x’ diet?”
I understand that when these types of things are said to me, people are not meaning to be rude. Many are trying to help me think of maybe something I can do to get me out of my wheelchair.
I get it. It is very hard for us to come to terms with the fact that we may not get the miracle that we prayed so hard for. We have a Bible full of incredible and exciting accounts of seas parting, food coming daily from the sky, blind being made to see, water turning to wine, the dead coming alive again, and the lame beginning to walk.
So when tragedy, illness, disease, cancer, infertility, or the possibility of death come knocking at our door, we cling to the truth that “nothing is too hard for the Lord.” We run to verses about faith, hope, trust, and how God works everything together for good. We get on our knees and pour our hearts out to the Lord, telling Him our fears, and begging Him for deliverance. We believe with everything in us that God has heard our prayers and eagerly wait with bated breath for our miracle to come.
But then, the illness becomes chronic, the disease worsens, the cancer grows, the baby never comes, and death makes its visit. We rattle our brains and cry out, “I don’t understand! I believed! I trusted! I prayed and asked!” We sit, completely confused. We look back on story after story - not only in the Bible but also in our modern times - of when people got their miracles - sometimes the exact miracle we are praying for ourselves.
I’ve prayed for a miracle. For many months I prayed fervently for healing. I spent many a night lying in my bed crying out for God to bring strength back to my legs. I pleaded with Him about how I have 4 young children who need a healthy mom! I read the accounts in the Bible where Jesus healed the lame. I had many people praying on my behalf.
Then one day, two years ago, I took my last step. Shortly after that the day came when I was told I would not walk again. What!?! I was praying for a miracle. This was the opposite of that. My miracle did not come.
At least that’s what I first thought.
You see, I was looking for a huge amazing miracle - one that went exactly as I thought it should. But even though the past two years have been a rollercoaster of emotions, they have also have grown my faith and my realization of how God works.
Yes, the Bible is full of stories of miracles. But it is also full of times when God worked in a different way than people planned. People like Joseph, Moses, Esther, Job, and David. People like Paul, who asked God three times to remove the “thorn in his flesh,” yet God chose to leave it. And even Jesus himself prayed the night before He died to have “this cup pass from me.” But his next phrase was
“nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done.”
And there is the key. Of course we can pray for healing and deliverance from our trial. Of course we can seek second opinions and can try everything in our power to help the situation. We can believe with all our hearts that God will answer. But the base of all that, the foundation of our faith, must rest on those words that are the hardest thing to say - “not my will, but thine be done.” Our faith has to lie in the fact that we trust God - no matter what the answer, even if it is not what we want.
Right after Paul tells us he asked the Lord 3 times to remove his trial, he turns right around and says that he will glory in his weakness, because it is through his weakness that Christ’s strength is shown (2 Corinthians 12:9).
I think I did get my miracle after all.
I believe my miracle is the strength that God gives me every single day to get up and face the day, even though things are hard. My miracle is that I can still be the best mom I can be to my children, even though that looks different than it used to. My miracle is to surrender to the Lord for him to use a testament to everyone around me of His power - of His ability to sustain me in prolonged difficulty and disappointment.
The same can be true for anyone who has faced trials such as tragedy, disease, cancer, infertility or death. God’s miracle for them might be the ability to continue on, with joy in the suffering, knowing that God is working, and that it is through their weakness that He is showing His strength.
And perhaps someday we will get our “big miracle” that we pray for. But until then, we will “glory in our infirmities” and bask in seeing God’s power on a daily basis.