Hey Friend! Is there something you want desperately? Something that the Lord could give you, but you’re unsure if it’s ok to ask for? Something that almost feels presumptuous and arrogant to hope you could get. And, if you were to get it it would be like winning the lottery, inheriting a giant fortune, or having your greatest yearning fulfilled?
I’d love to be healed of chronic lymes disease.
I have prayed for it, faster for it, and done all I knew how to be healed right now. But that healing has not yet come.
I believe I will be healed completely someday.
But… to have that healing now? Today? I can just imagine….
The idea is too tender to think on too long or suggest out loud. Only spoken in a whisper in my heart.
Because here’s the thing…I desperately want this healing. I am confident God can give it. I believe Christ when he said, “Ask, and it shall be given unto you.” ( Matthew 7:7,8). Yet, I also know that it’s all based on God’s will and in many cases, faithful people aren’t delivered of their afflictions, like Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” (2 Cor. 12: 7-10), but instead given grace sufficient to endure well.
I don’t want to ask amiss.
I don’t want to be pretentious.
I don’t want to be presumptuous.
Well, I recently had an experience where I put myself out there and asked for the healing I wanted right now. I was desperate. And I learned a lot of lessons in the process. I want to share my story with hopes to inspire you to ask for the gift you are desperate for.
We were in Monterosso al Mare, one of the beautiful coastal towns in Italy. My husband and I and our two teenage daughters were vacationing there for the first time. We planned this trip for months and had spent a few days in Florence already walking our feet off seeing all the Renaissance beauties there. We then took the train along the coast to our next destination: Cinque Terre.
The highlight of this trip for me was happening the next day: an all-day kayaking excursion in the turquoise waters of the Ligurian Sea past the 5 towns of the Cinque Terre that cling to the cliffs in pastel clusters.
Literally, months before when I booked this kayak tour I cried at the thought of really being able to kayak in that water. It would be a dream come true. Pure heaven.
And now the tour was just one day away. I could hardly wait!
I was giddy like a little girl when we got off the train and I saw the water. The water! The color was intense blue. It thrilled me.
That afternoon as we got settled in the seaside home we rented, I felt severe pain in my hips and down my legs from the miles of walking the days before in Florence. With chronic lymes disease this was common for me and I soaked in a hot tub to help feel better. But I could hardly walk to bed that night. A pounding headache creeped into my skull. I took four ibuprofen and tried to go to sleep. But hours later the pain persisted and sleep eluded me.
I so much wanted to feel well for our once-in-a-lifetime day on the sea. I worried and hope slipped away with each sleepless hour.
Watching the bright moon trek across the sky outside my window, I considered a conversation I’d had with my dad. He told me of a time when he was in excruciating back pain and he prayed desperately. If it was possible, could he have some relief from the pain – even if just for a time – to build his strength? The next morning the pain was gone! And three months later the pain had not returned. He testified of this to me, knowing the chronic pain I felt with lymes disease, that God can heal. But that we must ask in faith, nothing wavering.
As I lay in the dark I wrestled with a squirming ball of questions: What does it mean to have faith to be healed? Did I have faith to be healed? Was it God’s will for me to be healed or was it his will that I endure well and rely on his grace to get through. Who was I of all people suffering to ask to be healed rather than to endure it well? And…what if I asked to be healed and wasn’t. What did that say about my faith?
I understood I must ask with “nothing wavering” (James 1:6). No doubt. Did I believe God could or would heal me?
As I pondered, I confirmed that YES! I knew without any doubt that God could heal me and would heal me if that was his will.
I just didn’t know if healing was his will for me right now, tonight, in this suffering.
And part of me was scared to find out.
Did I dare ask for the healing I so desperately wanted and risk the answer being no? I wasn’t sure I could face the disappointment.
Then the scripture came to my mind, “What man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give you good things to them that ask him?” (Matthew 7:9-11)
Then the tears came and I just started talking to my Father in Heaven there in the dark, uncensored, and imperfect. My prayer came out something like this:
“Dear Father, I might say this all wrong, or ask amiss. But if there are gifts of healing you have for me, I don’t want to miss out on them for not asking. I don’t know if it is your will for me to be healed or to endure my pain well like Paul. But I want you to know that I will receive any gift you want to give me. Whether that is to be completely healed, or to just be given grace to enjoy our trip to Italy with minimal pain. Or, that I can have relief to kayak tomorrow. Or, if it’s just that you would take away this headache and pain in my legs so I can have some relief right now. Or even if it’s just that you would help me fall asleep tonight in the midst of my pain. I WILL RECEIVE any and all gifts from you with gratitude and rejoicing. I will know from whom the gift came and I will glorify Your name for that gift. I don’t want to be presumptuous. I will wait upon you. I know that you CAN heal me. I know you have all power. I just don’t know what your will is for me. And I want your will to be done.”
As I finished my prayer… the miracles started immediately.
The heavy pain in my head lifted. I rolled over to my side and felt no pain in my hips. I’m sure my eyes widened in silent wonder. Pulling the blankets around me, I remember feeling like a little girl on Christmas Eve, excitement tingling inside me for what gifts I might open the next day. What did He have in store for me? I fell asleep.
The next day I spent kayaking in the most beautiful place on earth with turquoise water, sunshine sparkling on the sea, my family, the thrill of skimming the water in a kayak, and the adventure of exploring the towns of Cinque Terre – without a trace of a headache or debilitating pain in my back and legs.
I could swim, cliff jump into the sea, and kayak with strength and vitality, my heart full of GRATITUDE and JOY!
This was a miracle to me! I knew I had been blessed with gifts of healing, and I knew from whom those gifts had been given.
It felt like a sacred, holy day of glorifying God as I lived each moment of that exquisite day.
The gift of healing continued throughout our time in Italy. Although I did have some pain and felt tired, the strength and wellness I felt WAY overshadowed it. Walking eight miles a day through Venice and Rome would make anyone’s feet hurt and feel exhausted!
Upon returning home it’s clear I’ve not yet been wholly healed. But I feel well enough and I am grateful. I expected a huge crash after two weeks of traveling and that hasn’t happened.
When I look back on this experience, I have learned five things:
Ask! Always ask.
Even Paul when he was finally told no to deliverance and instead given grace to endure, had first asked three times to have it removed. By asking we use our agency to invite God to bless us. He respects our agency so much that he will not barge in and force gifts upon us. He waits to be invited and then he rushes in with blessings.
Gifts of healing are varied.
It’s not black and white – healed or not healed. Your gifts are specifically crafted just for you by a loving Heavenly Father who knows what is the best gift for you. Sometimes that’s whole-healing, other times it’s no healing and the grace to endure well. And sometimes it’s a combination of both.
Faith to be healed isn’t faith that you will be healed.
It is faith that God can heal you – that he has all power even over our physical bodies, our circumstances, and outside influences. Once I reaffirmed that I knew he could, my faith was firm and unwavering.
Wait upon the Lord.
Just like we have to wait for Christmas morning to open our presents, we wait upon the Lord for his gifts. Wait with grateful excitement for whatever gift you will be given…whether that’s healing in one form or another, or the grace to endure your suffering well. Both are beautiful gifts.
God gives the best gifts.
God chooses what to give us according to his will and perfect understanding. And he gives the best gifts! Sometimes he gives what we didn’t even know we wanted! Request specifically what you want in prayer. And then leave it to the Lord to surprise you with the carefully hand-picked and personal gifts he crafts just for you.
When you are desperate for healing, you already feel vulnerable. I’ve been there. That vulnerability can make us question our faith to be healed, our right to even ask to be healed, and whether we can tolerate a denial of healing. I have wrestled with those very worries. My experience that long night in Italy taught me that I can always ask for healing from my Father. And even if the answer is no, God will still send gifts. Grace, strength, endurance.
I learned that God gives good gifts to his children. And my case is not special. God will give you good gifts too.
What is it you want desperately? More education? More time to create? More opportunities to see the world? Healing? Power to forgive? More unity and love in your marriage? More joy as a mother?
Go ahead. Be audacious! Be presumptuous! Ask in faith fully believing that God will give you good gifts! His promises are sure and they are for all his children. Friend, go ask for the gifts your heart yearns for.
Something else you may like:
Hey Friend, this devotional talk by S. Michael Wilcox titled “Bread Or Stones: Understanding the God We Pray To” is sooooo good! It really supports the ideas I’ve talked about here. I cried reading it out of gratitude as I was able to see many experiences where God has given me the best gifts and prepared ways for me to get through the hard times. I think you’ll like it too.
Drop a note in the comments…I’d love to know what you think.
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