History repeats itself. I lie here again in our little bedroom. It looks pretty much as it did last year. Sunshine streams in through our lovely lace curtains; an inquisitive patch of blue sky peers down at me. My desk lies ahead – a colourful assortment of files, books, boxes, booklets, bags, jewellery, photos – an interesting landscape for me to feast on! The little side table next to my bed is replete with clock, water-bottle, notebooks, glasses, box of tissues, two mp3 players, phone, chewy mints….and other sundry items. My bedside cupboard bulges with books, books and more books; its drawers full. Crammed with medicines, snack bars, games, cards; interesting knickknacks, even bubble wrap to pop when I'm bored!
Exactly a year ago, I had my right foot operated on. I spent 3 months on my back. Here I am once again in recovery mode, after my left foot was done. Last year, I’d spent 6 happy weeks afterwards soaking in God’s presence, reading, dreaming; being still. I loved it. I loved it. I Loved It! Unfortunately, the next 6 weeks turned into a nightmare. My until-then-dormant fibromyalgia symptoms came back in gale force magnitude – an unstable growling bear – hungry, huge, bad tempered. Not what I’d anticipated!
God gave me many promises during my recuperation. I took them seriously. I hugged those verses to myself. Each time I read them, God spoke to me afresh filling me with hope.
Psalm 103:1-5: Who heals all your diseases…who satisfies your desires so that your youth is renewed like the Eagles.” Isaiah 40:31: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as Eagles. They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”
I believed that God had promised to heal me in 2013 - of the effects of fibromyalgia (debilitating pain and debilitatingn exhaustion); also of the difficulty I had in walking due to my ever-so painful feet. I claimed His promises boldly and gladly. Three months after my operation I was walking – slowly, surely, gladly. But the pain persisted – in fact the level of pain in my feet had increased severely due to my having to stop the use of anti inflammatory tablets which had previously curbed the pain. Three months after the operation, my fibromyalgia symptoms too were having a field day –a flock of screeching magpies – flying wild; messing up my life. Thankfully God was in the equation! He continued to whisper words of encouragement in my ear – to assure me of His healing. And so I clung to Him. I prayed. I hoped. I even went to 'Healing Rooms' for prayer. An awesome experience. But….was I healed? No – not yet! Not yet!
At first, that powerful prayer session seemed to have brought more pain. As the days passed I found myself suffering; in deep agony. The pain was often pretty bad; relentless. Many nights I went to God in despair, beseeching Him to heal me. “Please God. Please…” I pleaded – struggling. The pain was unbearable. How could I go on?
And then it occurred!!
In order to add impetus to our prayers, our church was asked to fast for a week. I was led to fast from chocolate! Not something this chocoholic would willingly do. But God prompted me. While I was about it, I thought I’d also fast from all dairy products. I’d heard that often fibro sufferers were sensitive to dairy products. Perhaps I was too?
The change was amazing. My pain levels plummeted at once. No more debilitating pain. No more debilitating exhaustion. I felt well again. It was incredible! To my joy, I discovered that even the pain in my feet had decreased. Wow! It’s now 5 months since I went dairy-free. It’s also 5 months since God answered my prayers for healing. Healing for me didn’t come through a sudden touch from Him. Healing for me came through surrender; through listening to Him; through obedience; through discipline.
I still have fibromyalgia and I still have pain in my feet. The difference is that the pain’s negligible most of the time. No longer unbearable. The debilitating exhaution is very rare. My prayers were answered. I feel pretty good most of the time. And I’ve made a very important discovery. Sometimes God’s healing comes from a miraculous touch from Him. But at other times it comes through a choice I make.
Yes, it’s true that His grace abounds; always.
Yes, it’s true that He often blesses me far more than I deserve.
But I’ve found that God’s agenda is often different to mine. I am interested in my short term comfort. God’s more interested in my eternal well-being; my character; my holiness. He demands my obedience, my trust, my discipline; an attitude of constant surrender. How else would I become like Him? How else would I grow into His image?