It was the day after Christmas and I woke up in a rotten mood. When I opened my mouth I was certain I would breathe fire. Watch out world. My bladder had not cooperated that morning and I was in a hurry. Those two issues never work well together. As I slid on my brand new salmon colored leggings that my sister got me for Christmas, I immediately wanted to scream. When you don’t have calf muscles you have to create them to make leggings work. Gracious, I wish long gauchos would come back in style. I had on two pairs of socks and two pairs of leggings underneath my salmon pair. I was already sweating trying to wiggle my way into my new clothes. Unfortunately, they didn’t have the stretch necessary to make it work. I looked like a hot mess with no calf muscles and jumbled socks. I sat down and felt hot tears rush to my eyes.
Immediately thoughts came rushing to my mind. “God, if You would give me calf muscles I wouldn’t have to worry about this. God, if you would heal my bladder I would not be running behind.“ I wiped the tears and mascara off my eyes and shoved my crooked foot into my boot and stomped out of the house, late and confused. “God, why won’t you heal my foot? God, why won’t you heal me?”
It doesn’t make sense to me that God has not healed my foot, my bladder, or my legs. I know He can. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. My One Year Bible plan has me in the book of Mark. Almost every chapter is filled with His mighty works displayed through the healings of broken bodies. Bodies similar to mine. Do I not love Him enough? Do I not believe in Him enough? Is my faith too small and my sin too great? I know He can heal me. Why hasn’t He? Jesus even tells a man in Mark 9:23 after he questions whether Jesus can heal, “if you can! All things are possible for one who believes.” HE CAN HEAL ME. It is possible. I felt myself crying out “I believe” and asking why He has said “no” over and over again.
Have you ever heard “no” in the midst of your belief?
“When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.” Matthew 11:2-6
John doubted, he doubted that this was the Messiah. In the midst of his damp prison cell with the walls closing in around him, he doubted. Surely the Messiah would be restoring the Kingdom a different way; a way the included John not suffering in prison? Surely the Messiah would not leave him in this place? Jesus tells them to go back and proclaim that healings are happening, people are rising from the dead and many are hearing the gospel. Don’t miss this… He told them to go back to John IN PRISON and share that powerful things are happening!! The Kingdom of God is not coming… it has COME and the world will never be the same. Go tell him that in the midst of his confusion.
Jesus had healed the demon possessed man and the woman with the issue of blood. He had fed 5,000 with a few loaves of bread and some fish. He had rescued His disciples from a raging storm but He was leaving John the Baptist in prison.HE. LEFT. HIM. IN. PRISON. Later, the forerunner of Christ, a cousin and friend of the Savior and a sold out minister of the gospel would be beheaded. (sidenote: prosperity gospel this is one of the many reasons you do not work!)
“John the Baptist had no idea how this story of Jesus the Messiah was going to play out. God was ushering in a totally different type of Kingdom than most Jewish people expected. Wasn’t the Messiah supposed to bring imminent blessing and judgment? John’s perspective was limited and so is ours. Whenever we go through difficult situations with unmet expectations and questions rising up within us, we must trust that God knows what He is doing.” - David Platt
I love this truth. Our perspective is limited. Maybe Jesus left John in prison because more spiritual prison doors would swing wide open with John in prison then set free. Maybe Jesus has allowed my body to remain as is so that His healing gospel may go forth through the brokenness of my body. Maybe I will see His goodness in the broken more than the healing of the temporary. He said “no” for His glory and John the Baptist’s good. He has said “no for His glory and for my good. He is still good even when He says "no".
He has said “no” many times to the healing of my crooked foot, abnormal bladder and skinny legs. He is doing things a totally different way then I would do them. He is ushering in His Kingdom in my life differently than I thought. Just as Jesus said in Mark 9, “all things are possible” but it does not mean in His good sovereignty that He will do it. God says “no” because a “yes” would not pour forth His glory in the same powerful way. Sometimes a “yes” would shape us differently and lead us on a path apart from Him. When God says “no” it is always the most merciful and grace filled response. It is always good. We just may not always see it that way. LIMITED PERSPECTIVE.
Jesus says to His Father the night of His betrayal “My Father, if it be possible let this cup pass from me, nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” Even before Jesus prayed those words in the garden He prayed the most beautiful prayer in John 17 (please go read this). He surrendered to the Sovereign will of the Father. Oh Father, make me more like your son!
I will never stop praying for healing. Yet. I care more about His Kingdom than I do my comfort. I desire to embrace His Sovereign will more than I want to see my own way. I will be content with the “no” if His glory is better revealed in that answer. Jesus can heal. He does heal. I have seen and experienced it in my own life. Yet, when He leaves us in places we do not understand and He does what we never expected, may we respond in trust, remembering that our perspectives are limited and His is omniscient.