I struggle to sleep. My husband works second shift, and it messes with things enough that I stay up too late, and yet I can’t sleep in. Even dark curtains in the bedroom don’t help. When the sun gets up, even if I can’t see it, so do I.
It’s gotten to the place where I am considering seeing a doctor. Maybe there’s more going on here. But the idea gives me hives. I dislike seeing doctors. I have anxiety attacks in the waiting room. I agonize waiting for even the simplest test results. I have to be near death to see the doctor, and even then, I go with very low expectations.
I wasn’t always like that. My doctor fear isn’t unfounded. Just over a decade ago I walked into a doctor’s office and was told I had a chronic illness. I was a type one diabetic. And at that point, the role of the physician in my life changed. A doctor will never heal me. I see the doctor to manage my condition. I go hoping to die a little slower. But healing? No. The medical profession won’t heal me.
I forget that a doctor might be able to heal something else. If I’m sick, a doctor might be able to heal that illness. But I expect only bad news in the doctor’s office, something that will shorten my life or make it difficult or change my lifestyle. Again. And so I hate to go.
I realized recently that my expectations of God are similar. Sometimes I avoid the Bible, because I fear it will simply show me my illness–all my sin and failure–and offer a way to manage that, but not healing. I don’t expect healing from any corner. And I don’t mean physical healing, but soul healing. Emotional healing. The ability to turn away from deep-seated sin toward holiness (sanctification, if you like big words.). The ability to succeed today in areas where I failed yesterday. The ability to do God’s will and see fruit in areas where I’ve never seen fruit before. The ability to hope where I used to fear. I don’t come to Jesus expecting those things.
I love the Psalms. Two Psalmists, including David, speak of God’s dealings with the brokenhearted. And that’s where I don’t trust him. I don’t expect full healing of my spirit when life gets difficult. Even diabetes–it’s the fear in my spirit that causes me distress, expecting bad to get worse. The illness itself is a pain, and it will likely shorten my lifespan, but the real weakness is how I respond to it. That results in fear and hopelessness, not the level of sugar in my blood.
And yet the Lord draws near to the brokenhearted. (Ps. 34). He delivers the righteous from all affliction. He doesn’t condemn. He heals the brokenhearted (Ps. 147) and binds up wounds. He gathers outcasts. He delights in those who love him.
Doctors have limits. I have passed one of those. Certain issues of health are outside the realm of medical healing. But I need to remember I haven’t passed a limit with God. I’m never so tired or broken or hurt that he can’t heal, for he is greater than all my weaknesses. And physical weaknesses don’t have to translate to emotional or mental distress, because he’s got those under control. If not here, then in the next life all of it will come together, and all will be healed.
But for now, I can pray for and expect wounds to be bound. I don’t have to bleed out from anguish or brokenheartedness. I don’t have to bow to fear or loss or any other human infirmity, any other weakness or imperfection.
No, physical healing may not happen today, but every day I see more and more healing of my spirit as God delights in me and teaches me and draws me closer with his Spirit. The more I become like Jesus, the more I can expect his peace and comfort and fruit in my life. And that’s what I want most of all.