Does My Battle With Chronic Illness Mean I Lack Faith?

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If as a Christian, I firmly believe in Christ’s healing power and still battle a chronic illness, do I lack faith?

If I believe that Christ’s suffering on the cross purchased my physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual healing, does this mean that I don’t have faith enough to believe that He will heal my chronic illness?

These questions plagued me for a long time.

I prayed and prayed for God to heal my Adrenal Fatigue, and yet here I am, years later, still battling my Adrenal Fatigue.

“Maybe I don’t have enough faith. Maybe I have hidden sin in my life.”

If you battle chronic illness and pray for healing, does your ongoing battle mean you lack faith? Does faith always mean instant healing? #alittlerandr #chronicillness #Bible #faith #adrenalfatigue

In the New Testament, we read so many stories about how Jesus instantly healed sick people. Even raised the dead back to life.

But did Jesus heal everyone he came in contact with?

Does My Battle With Chronic Illness Mean I Lack Faith?

What about when Jesus healed the man at the pool of Bethesda? What about all of the other lame people that were lying there?

The Bible doesn’t tell us that Jesus healed everyone at the pool of Bethesda, just the one lame man.

Does this mean that Jesus heals some people, but leaves others in their sickness?

I don’t think we can build any theology around this story, either that Jesus doesn’t heal everyone or that he does.

I believe that the belief that God doesn’t want any Christians to be sick, and that He heals all Christians of all their diseases, can be very damaging when a Christian comes down with a very serious illness or injury and isn’t healed.

There are many Christians who are invalids who are not healed, but who have great faith – Joni Erickson Tada.

There are many Christians who have died from cancer, and who suffered greatly in the hours leading up to their death.

There are many Christians who get seriously ill and require extensive medical treatments.

There are many wonderful, godly men and women who daily battle chronic illness and who must take great care with their lifestyle choices in order to function and to keep their flare-ups and crashes minimal.

This doesn’t mean they lack faith, it also doesn’t mean that God doesn’t heal today.

There are 3 reasons why God may not choose to heal.

In today’s “enlightened” culture, we often forget that we are a tri-part being; and although science has made advancements to a degree never before seen in history, we have become a very one-dimensional culture.

“Enlightened” cultures tend to place a great emphasis on physical realm: what we can see, hear, smell, taste, and touch.

A much lesser emphasis is placed on the spiritual realm, and in today’s culture any emphasis placed on the spiritual realm is considered juvenile, Harry Potter-ish, or meant for horror flicks and video games.

Those who talk seriously about heaven, hell, and demons are considered to be religious fanatics or voodoo-people.

And sadly, this same sentiment has overtaken the church – the very church whose entire foundation rests on the reality of the spiritual realm and it’s significance to our everyday life.

The truth is, the spiritual realm is far more real than the physical realm we’re so very much in touch with.

It is a great loss to us that we have abandoned the reality of the spiritual realm and it’s overwhelming significance to us in exchange for the doctrine of hedonism that keeps us so bound to our physical world today.

Those who preach the out-of-balance doctrine of faith, that God doesn’t want any Christian to ever be sick, forget that the physical body of every human will eventually perish and rot.

But we have a spirit that will live on for eternity, and the condition of our spirit is of far greater importance than the condition of our body!

This, of course, does not mean we don’t care for our body.

How we care for our body says much about the condition of our spirit: whether we are growing the fruit of self-control and whether or not we honor God’s handiwork, which He fearfully and wonderfully made.

1. God may not choose to heal my physical body to help me cultivate humility

“And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.” 2 Corinthians 12:7

Paul accepted whatever it was that he referred to as “a thorn in the flesh” because he recognized it as God’s hand to keep him from becoming arrogant.

There was a time in my life that I looked at those with chronic illness as hypochondriacs and lazy. 

My attitude was that they needed to just work harder and exercise, so they’d feel better and get their minds off of themselves and their so-called illnesses.

And then I was diagnosed with a chronic illness.

If there has been any good that has come out of my chronic illness it is that it has made me far more humble and empathetic to those whom I used to judge.

2. God may not choose to heal my physical body because He is glorified through my suffering.

“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.” 1 Peter 4:12

There is nothing more beautiful than to sit with a godly man or woman who has allowed their physical, emotional, or mental suffering to draw them closer to Jesus so that He is able to work them something glorious in their spirit.

What pours out of them is pure gold!

When we encounter chronic illness, emotional pain, mental suffering, we have a choice. We can either wallow in our suffering, or we can go to Jesus and let Him begin a glorious work in our spirit.

Would He be glorified through our healing? Yes.

But it could be that He knows that He will be far more glorified through our suffering than through our healing. 

One such person is Joni Erickson Tada. Her testimony of living as a quadriplegic is far more glorious than if God had chosen to heal her in those early years when she – and others – prayed and believed for her healing.

3. God may not choose to heal my physical body to refine me through my suffering 

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

If there is any good that has come out of my chronic illness, it is that I have learned – am still learning – to throw off the weight of others’ expectations and opinions.

I have learned that I physically cannot meet others’ expectations of me.

I tried for many years – and the fear of man kept me in a constant cycle of trying harder, getting sick, disappointing people, and feeling like a failure.

When I learned to accept the gift of my chronic illness to refine me and cleanse me from the fear of disappointing others and not living up to the expectations they had of me, I was free!

God wants to use your suffering to keep you at His feet.

To keep you leaning on His strength.

To keep you looking to His face.

To keep you reaching for His joy.

To keep you in His word for your daily encouragement and edification.

Dear sister, suffering isn’t bad. We must get past the idea that suffering is a bad thing sent from the enemy to discourage us. 

There are times when suffering is good and God will use it in our lives to refine us and shape us into the image of Jesus Christ. He suffered for us, why should we expect to live any differently than He lived?

If you are suffering with chronic illness, begin changing the way you view it; not as a curse, but as a gift. A precious gift that will keep you running to the throne of grace.

A precious gift that will keep you leaning in on God’s strength.

A precious gift that will keep you depending on God’s grace to make it through your day.

I can’t think of a greater life to live than that! I thank God for my precious gift of chronic illness, because it has enriched my life in so many ways as a daughter of God!


Read other posts on Chronic Illness here:

6 Tips for Homeschooling With Chronic Illness

10 Bible Verses for Chronic Illness

Rosilind
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Comments

  1. Beren says

    Thank you for sharing your post. I also have chronic illnesses and your putting suffering in a spiritual way helps me to keep on the journey God has for me.

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