Sometimes Jesus heals us physically. But sometimes he works an even greater miracle—he heals us spiritually. He gives us the strength and spirit and courage to bear up under life’s sufferings. Sometimes he removes the pain, and sometimes he does the even greater work of giving us the strength to endure it. Either is a miracle of the Lord.
David Ring knows the truth of this principle. David has cerebral palsy and a severe speech impediment. God could have healed him long ago, but then David would have nothing of the ministry which is his through his physical challenges. His shirts are held together by Velcro; his speech is rough; his body is twisted. But his faith and courage will move any person who hears him.
David once said in a sermon, “They said I would never ride a bike, but I did. They said I would never get married, but I did; I have five kids to prove it. They said I would never preach, last year I preached 265 times. I have cerebral palsy, but I preach. What’s your problem?”
I am convinced that much of what happens in the world today is not the result of God’s intentional will. We know that God “is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but every one to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9), but not all do. Some use their free will to refuse God’s will in their lives. The consequences they experience are not the result of God’s will but their own. In the world as God intended it there would be no cancer, AIDS, or heart attacks, no drunk drivers, accidents, or disease. My father died of heart disease through no fault of his own. You may have lost a parent, spouse, or child to such innocent death, or even the tragedy of someone’s misused freedom.
In such times, God’s greater miracle is to enable us to withstand such horrific pain and loss. He can heal our bodies, and what’s more, he can heal our souls. Which do you need him to do for you today?
Let’s close with an example of our text in life today. Jim Cymbala is the renowned pastor of the Brooklyn Tabernacle, one of the most anointed leaders in the American church today. Ten years ago he told the story of his daughter’s healing in answer to prayer: “Up until age 16, my oldest daughter was a model child. But then she got away from the Lord and involved with a godless young man. She eventually moved out of our house and later became pregnant.
“We went through a dark tunnel for two and a half years…in February, we were in our Tuesday night prayer meeting (the choir and the church leadership now knew about Chrissy, but we didn’t spread the news any further in the church). I had not talked to my daughter since November.
“An usher passed a note to me from a young woman in the church whom I felt was a spiritual person. ‘Pastor Cymbala, I feel deeply impressed that we are to stop the meeting and pray for your daughter.’ Lord, is this really you? I prayed within myself. I don’t want to make myself the focus. At that moment Chrissy was at a friend’s home somewhere in Brooklyn with her baby.
“I interrupted the meeting and had everyone stand. ‘My daughter thinks up is down, white is black, and black is white,’ I said. ‘Someone has sent me a note saying she feels impressed that we are to pray for her, and I take this as being from the Lord.’ Then some of the leaders of the church joined me, and the church began to pray. The room soon felt like the labor room in a hospital. The people called out to God with incredible intensity.
“When I got home later that night, I said to my wife (who wasn’t at the prayer meeting), ‘It’s over.’ ‘What’s over?’ Carol said. ‘It’s over with Chrissy,’ I replied. ‘You had to be there tonight. I just know that when we went to the throne of grace, something happened in the heavenly places.
“Thirty-six hours later, I was standing in the bathroom shaving. My wife burst into the room. ‘Chrissy’s here,’ she said. ‘You better go downstairs.’…I wiped off the shaving cream. I went to the kitchen, and there was my daughter, 19 years old, on her knees weeping. She grabbed my leg and said, ‘Daddy, I’ve sinned against God. I’ve sinned against you. I’ve sinned against myself. Daddy, who was praying on Tuesday night?’
“‘What do you mean? What happened?’ I said. ‘I was sleeping,’ she said. ‘God woke me up in the middle of the night, and he showed me I was heading toward this pit, this chasm, and Daddy, I got so afraid. I saw myself for what I am. But then God showed me he hadn’t given up on me.’
“I looked at my daughter and saw the face of the daughter we raised. Not the hardened face of the last few years. So Chrissy and our granddaughter moved back into our home. That was three years ago. Today she’s directing the music program at a Bible school and was married this past year to a man from our church.”
Sometimes God calms the storm, and sometimes he lets the storm rage and calms his child. Will you ask God to calm your storm and your soul today?