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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

When Healing Becomes an Idol

When my daughter went blind five years ago, our family resolved to stand strong in our faith. Although we didn’t understand God’s purpose in allowing her to become disabled, we knew God was sovereign and able to heal. Amberle had always wanted to be a missionary nurse, and she’d just begun her senior year at college when she experienced a rare allergic reaction that resulted in blindness.

Every day—several times a day—we prayed for healing. After three “experimental” operations, when Amberle’s vision returned, we were overjoyed. Six months later, however, she plunged into darkness again. We sought the best medical help available, and we continued to pray in authority and faith. Because we expected God to heal her, we waited nearly a year before we sought out the practical services Amberle needed to live independently—benefits like transportation and rehabilitative training. We continued to pray.

Five years passed. Eighteen operations later, Amberle was still blind. One day, as I was lifting up my request for Amberle’s healing, I sensed the Lord interrupting me. “There are more important things than healing,” He said. “Things like contentment, joy, and peace—does she have these?”  

Yes, she did.

In fact, Amberle was happily married, completing her Master's Degree, and actively serving God. “You have made her healing an idol,” God gently admonished. “You have made your desire for her healing more important than your relationship with me.” 

Although I hadn’t recognized it, over the last five years, my spiritual energy had been devoted to praying for my daughter’s healing rather than praying to God. I had been blinded by what I saw rather than empowered by what I knew—like the Israelites had been in the valley of Elah (1 Samuel 17). And like the Israelites, I had spent so much energy focusing on my Goliath-sized problem I couldn’t see my God-sized problem solver.

Distraction is one of Satan’s primary tools. He tries to damage our relationship with God by having us concentrate on our earthly difficulties instead of our Heavenly Father. 

In my case, instead of surrendering the situation to Him and seeking His peace, I just told God about it all the time—and tried to solve it on my own.

Was I wrong to pray for my daughter’s healing?  Not at all. Philippians 4:6 states: 

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6 (NIV)

I repented of my idol worship and began bringing my request to God rather than God to my request. I learned to meditate on who God is instead of what He can do and applied the truth of Isaiah 26:3:

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3 (NIV) 

Did the change result in healing for my daughter? No. She’s still blind. And I still pray for her every day with the authority that the Heavenly Father gives believers. I know God can heal her. But since I’ve started focusing on my relationship with God, I’ve learned to trust Him more. Whether or not healing comes in this earthly realm, God can be trusted with His good and perfect plans.

When you have a problem that seems insurmountable, don’t place the problem between you and God. Place God between the problem and you. 

Copyright © 2018 Glenda Durano, used with permission.

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