Healing Friends

I sense that this will be a rough post to write. It is a followup to a post that I wrote in February titled Wholeness. In that post I wrote about some people at church and their reaction to my wife Ann being in a wheelchair.. I spoke about how some folks.. even though they are well meaning.. come across as condescending and a bit annoying when they obsessed about my wife being healed.

Well recently, when Ann was in the hospital for an extended 38 day stay, I began to experience a new kind of phenomenon.. many people came to me extolling the Lakeland Revival telling me that Ann should watch it and maybe God would heal her over the TV or Internet.. no joke.. it is what some told me. For those of you who aren't familiar with this revival you may want to check out Lee Grady's article on it.. my friend Jason also wrote about his experiences in Lakeland. This post however is not about Lakeland but about how people have reacted to it.. and in specific how I am internally processing their reactions.

I want to say first and foremost that I unequivocally believe that God heals today and that my wife and I pray daily for her healing.. and for some reason (I am not always this way) I believe that Ann will rise up out of that chair and walk without assistance.

That said, I have to say that I have grown so tired of people giving me advice that costs them nothing.. it has become more than an annoyance. It is like someone coming up to an overweight person and telling them of a great Christian weight-loss program.. or speaking to someone who is really hurting and giving them a bunch of Christian cliches about overcoming trials.. it is insensitive and annoying.. it comes across to me like this passage in the book of James:
If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and be filled," and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.
Yet, on the other hand, lately I have been thinking about this encouraging passage of scripture:

One day He was teaching; and there were some Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem; and the power of the Lord was present for Him to perform healing. And some men were carrying on a bed a man who was paralyzed; and they were trying to bring him in and to set him down in front of Him. But not finding any way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down through the tiles with his stretcher, into the middle of the crowd, in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, He said, "Friend, your sins are forgiven you." The scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, "Who is this man who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?" But Jesus, aware of their reasonings, answered and said to them, "Why are you reasoning in your hearts? "Which is easier, to say, 'Your sins have been forgiven you,' or to say, 'Get up and walk'? "But, so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,"--He said to the paralytic--"I say to you, get up, and pick up your stretcher and go home." Immediately he got up before them, and picked up what he had been lying on, and went home glorifying God. They were all struck with astonishment and began glorifying God; and they were filled with fear, saying, "We have seen remarkable things today." (Luke 5:17-26)
I love this passage.. it speaks of the love that these men had for their friend.. their faith moved them to act.. their love caused them to overcome obstacles.. they got their friend to Jesus in a very unique and personal way.. and it says that Jesus saw their faith.

We have a few friends such as these.. friends that will be there for Ann (and for me) with more than charismatic ramblings and advice.. and we feel blessed because we do.. even if we do have to contend with the ramblings of a few others. Growl :)


  1. Bob,

    I am not in a position to say whether your dear wife Ann will rise and walk from her wheelchair, but I do understand your irritation with those who do the "good cheer" routine and yet do nothing to strengthen or aid you and Ann. God love 'em, the well meaning, but utterly clueless are enough to provoke much eye rolling and exasperated sighs.

    Bob, I donh't know if this will help, but it was reported on national TV last weeks that there is strong evidence that Vitamin D deficency plays a significant role in the development of MS and a host of other diseases such as osteoporosis. I'm thinking and hoping that if you can get Ann outside in the sunlight for 10-15 minutes during the day without sun screen, it might make a difference over time. We get Vitamin D through sunlight, supplements, and food, but apparently sunlight is the most potent. I'm not in the business of creating false hope, Bob, but sunlight is God's free gift to us and I've no doubt a bit of fresh air will do you both good.

    Blessings! :)

  2. Thank you so much for this post. I've actually been trying to get up courage recently to email you about some of the things you talk about in this post. I admire your faith, your openness to the way the Holy Spirit works beyond the capacity of what we can imagine, and your openhandedness to the ways of God as you accept that this is not something we can dictate or manipulate by formulas.

    Your honesty (both intellectually and emotionally), your wisdom and your strong trust in the Lord encourage me and teach me even from so far away. Thank you for sharing out of yours and Ann's life and pain. Your faith shines through your honesty about the pain. It comes across as real and deep and also as something that makes me not only want to grow, but gives me hope that God will continue to grow this kind of faith (in what he can do) and trust (in Him, regardless of what he does or doesn't do in line with my expectations) in me.

  3. Thanks CR: We are with you.. Ann has been taking vitamin D for years and gets sunlight out on our deck when it is not too hot - heat stimulates relapse conditions so we have to be careful about being out too long.

    And your comment eclexia is so encouraging. I especially was wowed by this..

    faith (in what he can do) and trust (in Him, regardless of what he does or doesn't do in line with my expectations)

    ..I like your usage of faith and trust in that passage.

    Blessings to you both!


  4. The walk of faith is a long one, and I know I falter on it constantly, with my tiny problems. I am encouraged by your strength and your perseverance. Thinking over all the rough spots and joys on the way here on your blog is a great blessing to all of your readers. I wish I could offer you some permanent comfort or an instant miracle, but all I can do is remember you and Ann in prayer, asking God grant you His Grace in a way that warms your heart and fortifies your faith.

    I also pray for cheerful friends and happy days to help you along the way.

  5. Thanks TZ.. it is humbling to know that so many pray for us.

  6. DO you get enough cheerful help? And what constitutes good help? I don't mean errand running and shopping and rides to the doctor and whatever, but what else is helpful?

    It's pretty easy to spot what's a helpful action when somebody is post-surgery, or actually dying. But what is helpful when you are plodding through this valley of pain and patience?

  7. I fully understand that the love of Christ notwithstanding, other Christians can be crass and insensitive however well meaning they wish to be. For that reason your post was a breath of honest fresh air. Thank you.

  8. My husband and I can relate to your thoughts about people giving advice. He has been suffering with chronic back pain for about 8 years now and has had several surgeries without much success to correct the problem. I can't tell you how many times people think they have the solution to our problem.

    Moral: Just be supportive and listen, don't offer advice to those suffering.

    I've learned a lot through our experience.

  9. "Just be supportive and listen"

    ..priceless Janna ..just wish it was easier :)

  10. Bob, I copied this comment out of my Life Application Study bible. Sometimes all we need is someone to be there. and not say a word. Sit with us.

    Job 2:13
    Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. And no one said a word, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words.

    Why did the friends arrive and then just sit quietly? According to Jewish tradition, people who come to comfort someone in mourning should not speak until the mourner speaks often the best response to another person suffering in silence. Job’s friends realized that his pain was too deep to be healed with mere words, so they said nothing. (if only they had continued to sit quietly!) Often we feel we must say something spiritual and insightful to our hurting friends. Perhaps what he or she needs most is just our presence showing that we care. Pat answers and trite quotations say much less than empathetic silence and loving companionship.


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