Apr 22, 2013

Even if the healing doesn't come.

We went for lunch at my mother-in-law's yesterday, driving up to the city with the windows down and spring sunshine pouring in.

We ate pasta and sugo and homemade focaccia with parmeson, laughing around the table. My mother-in-law is a good cook and one of the kindest women I know. Her eyes light up when she talks to you and she always has a story to tell over a cup of hot coffee. She loves children and told me that she dreams of moving overseas and being a mother to thirty orphaned little ones. Of course, she is probably not serious but her heart is just that big and she gets filled up with dreams. I admire her.

And I define her in a hundred ways before this one, but still it exists: she has a mental illness. (And isn't embarrassed if you know that.)

Walking through the neighborhood after lunch, my baby bundled in the stroller, she asked me a question.

Why, she asked - why do you think God hasn't healed me of it? I knew what she was referring to - this mysterious thing, the suspicions and the voices that sometimes come and visions that aren't real but can feel so heavy, so consuming. Her question wasn't angry but like a child's question might be, simple and inquisitive.

I had to think about it even though it's a question I've turned around in my mind and brought to God numerous times. I know she asks Him to take this sickness from her. We pray too, for her healing - and yet the illness persists. Why?  I know that we live in a fallen world and mental illness is a part of that, but still that does not explain why she hasn't been healed when God can and does heal.

We waited at the crosswalk of a busy intersection and then moved forward, the fresh air brisk on our faces. I turned to her finally with my answer: I don't know. 

But as we walked and continued to talk, one thing I knew for sure came to mind - maybe a little piece of the answer that is mostly out of our sight. It's simply this:

God has entrusted her with this trial. He has chosen, for the time being, not to remove it. And the one thing I know is that I see in her a beautiful trust in her Heavenly Father, a love for Him even in her brokenness.  Where many would grow discouraged and bitter, she doesn't blame God at all. She continues to praise Him to all who will listen.

I think that your life brings our Heavenly Father glory, I told her. Through this trial you are pointing to God's greatness - showing that He is worthy of our love and service even when there is pain and illness and unanswered questions. That is so precious - and you are precious to Him.

I felt the inadequacy of my answer, but she accepted it and smiled, saying that it is true, God is always worthy of our service. No matter what. 

Driving home later that evening, I turned on the radio and this song came on.

Even if the healing doesn’t come
And life falls apart
And dreams are still undone
You are God You are good
Forever faithful One
Even if the healing
Even if the healing doesn’t come

Lord we know Your ways are not our ways
So we set our faith in who You are
Even though You reign high above us
You tenderly love us
We know Your heart
And we rest in who You are.

I hope you are encouraged by my mother-in-law's example as I am.


  1. Beautifully expressed, and good things to think about. I think that too often I require an answer, a neatly packaged understanding of a situation, instead of just being willing to rest in what we do know, and trust Him for what we don't know about a situation. Won't Heaven be wonderful....when we get to see Him and see what He was doing through all of these trials?!!

  2. I AM encouraged my your mother-in-law's example! She is truly a beautiful woman in many ways!! I LOVE how her eye's light up - just as you put there - and you are right, she has such a heart - so thoughtful and generous! It's true, we often want the simple and straightforward answers to our life's struggles - but praising God, worshipping Him and walking in His ways are all we need to hold to - He will work out the rest. Enza is truly a beautiful example of this. ♥

  3. God made Enza, Enza. He has an ultimate purpose in her life. I don't know anyone who handles it as well as she does. God has given her the strength to be joyful despite her obstacles. You are indeed blessed to have such a wonderful mother in law. One thing I think Enza excels in, is love. And thats pretty special.

  4. I love this post, Stephanie, and I think you are right - God is glorified when we can trust Him even when the healing doesn't come. Good post!