To the Person Who Told Me, 'Trust in God and You Will Be Healed'
“Trust in God and you will be healed!” 31 years later, I am still waiting.
A letter to the one who questioned the depth of my faith:
I walk a path that is challenging. Every day I face uncertainty from this body – never knowing how it will perform. Pain is often my constant companion, and mentally, it is exhausting. The effort it takes me to do the most basic task, and many times the fatigue that follows, are things that still surprise and frustrate me as much today as when I started this journey over 30 years ago. Emotionally, I feel like I have more ups and downs than a roller coaster, as I work to maintain a spirit that gives me strength and courage to keep trying and hoping amidst the pain.
It is a path I sometimes walk in isolation, and it is a journey few surrounding me understand. So many look for ways to give compassion and understanding as they seek to encourage me along the way.
Was that your hope? Was your goal encouragement? Were you hoping to give me some breakthrough or enlightenment to help me make sense of my suffering? When you reminded me that if I just had more faith, I would be healed, did you really think you were helping me by questioning my faith?
I have been a believer and person of faith for most of my life. In fact, I do not remember a time when my faith in Christ, was not part of who I was. I believed in Christ for salvation as a child and have sought to follow Him and the Scriptures’ teachings for most of my life. I have vices and have struggled along the way, but I have never doubted His love and sacrifice for me and have truly tried to live a life guided by His Spirit. I pray, even in my struggle and walk with chronic illness, that He has helped me be a light and testimony for Him, encouraging others on their own journey.
There have been times of doubt and questioning. There have been times of sorrow. There have even been times of anger when I cried out to God in frustration at what He was allowing me to walk through. So many questions have been asked, and many times, there was no understanding, but through it all, I have maintained faith in Him and hope that He was with me always.
I have had so many brothers and sisters in Christ walk this path with me, encourage, strengthen, and help my family and me in so many ways. Did you think this is what you were doing? When we sat and talked, you looked at me and said a version of something I have heard many times on this journey – “God does not want us to suffer. You just need to have more faith that you will be healed. We just need to claim our victory. God can heal, you just have to have faith.”
I have heard this or something like this from some over the years. I have been reminded that I only need to “name it and claim it” so my healing can take place. Sometimes I have heard messages that God only wants us to be happy, not have struggles, and that if I am struggling, I must be doing something to block His blessings, even being told by someone as they compared my life to theirs, “How could I be doing something wrong when I have all these blessings – if everything is going right, then I must be doing something right. If things are going bad, then I am doing something wrong.”
Have you forgotten how many people, mentioned in Scripture, walked through struggles and trials – Job, Paul, David, the Disciples, and so many others? Have you forgotten how many were reminded by God that there was a purpose in their pain and struggle and how they found “the good” as they walked that path? Have you forgotten the Scripture that reminds us to “…weep with those who weep…”?
Do you think you did this? Did you honestly think you were helping and encouraging me, or were you just trying to make sense of a struggle that you did not understand? The reality is, you only made my journey more difficult. I wish I could say I understood His plan in this, and I saw exactly why He has allowed me to walk through this health struggle. I wish I could make sense of it all, or that one magical verse or phrase solved all my questions and struggles, but there is not one. All I can do is walk, day-by-day, and trust Him for strength, guidance, grace, and peace. There are days when I see a purpose from this journey, as I am able to help others on their own path. At those times, I know and can see the purpose in my pain.
You told me that God will heal me if I just believe, that I just need faith, but, 31 years later, still no healing has come. If you thought your comments and judgment were encouraging and helpful, let me simply tell you, “No, they were not.” Instead of weeping with me, encouraging me, or helping me on this journey, your words only made this burden heavier, as you hinted at the idea that I just needed more faith. Thankfully, you are not my typical experience with believers. Thankfully, I have many that walk with me, strengthen me, and encourage me to keep fighting and remain strong. They pray for me daily and help me find my way on this path.
Chronic illness and faith can go hand in hand. Struggles do not mean I am doubting, and difficulties do not mean I do not believe – if anything, these things have strengthened my faith and shown me His faithfulness even in my struggle. I have grown in my faith as I have faced more and more challenges, and look with hope, even now, into a very dark future – for I know He is with me.
I encourage you to remember this the next time you are quick to judge another’s faith based on their physical struggle. I encourage you to find ways to support those walking the challenging path of chronic illness instead of simply assuming and judging them. I encourage you to remember that we all walk through struggles, whether we have faith or not. While I hope this gives you some help and understanding, I hope and pray you never truly understand my struggle, for if you did, that would mean you were walking the same path as I, and that is something I would never wish on another.
I hope if you do find yourself on such a path as this, that you never find someone who judges and assumes, instead of supports and encourages you on your path. I hope that through this letter, you will see how not to help someone battling chronic illness and will be more guarded with your thoughts and words the next time you attempt to “help and encourage” another in the midst of their struggle.
31 years later, though healing has never come, my faith is strong, even though my body is weak, and each day, I am more at peace knowing that He and others are walking with me. I hope you will remember this next time you try to encourage others on their path.
Getty image by AndreyPopov.