We hear that God is Jehovah Raphe, the Healer. But what about when we, or someone we love, is not healed? When it seems that the number of our days is unfairly less and we are robbed of significant moments that our contemporaries take for granted?
My husband’s best friend Paul has Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Paul is losing motor function from his toes to his head. Soon he will be unable to speak, chew, swallow, and eventually— breathe. His wife Laurie is his hands. She patiently cares for him with a tender love, explaining, “Each day is a gift.”
When we visited them, though they were exhausted, they were at peace. He thanked God that when he got out for a doctor appointment, that day was sunny and beautiful. Paul questioned his doctor’s gloom. “I could have been hit by a bus!” he pointed out. When a family of little kids dropped by, Paul explained, “They come to cheer me up. They don’t get it that I’ve never had an unhappy day in my life.” He cracked jokes, shared funny anecdotes, and bantered with my husband Will about their political differences. When we left, I bent over to kiss Paul goodbye, to which Will smiled and humorously apologized, “Paul, you know I’m not going to kiss you.” With his usual comedic timing Paul asked, “Is it because of what I said about politics?”
Of course we have questions. Why would God allow this horribly debilitating disease? God could heal our friend, so if He doesn’t, does it mean He loves Paul or Laurie any less? Why doesn’t God just reverse Paul’s illness for His glory?
Because of his faith in Jesus, Paul believes his healing will be the split second after he leaves this earth, and his next steps will be on streets of gold. God numbered his days long ago, and that number has never changed.
What I took away from our visit with Paul and Laurie is that we live in an imperfect world. Each day we are all dying. We’re terminal. But I can choose my attitude, how to spend each day, and whether I will draw closer to Jesus and draw others closer to Him.
I cannot know the number of my days, but I know God loves me and I can make each remaining day count for Him.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).