In January of 2007, I answered an inner calling to travel to Spokane, Washington. I’m not a spontaneous person, but something tugged at me with a strength and allure I could not deny–hope.
One of my friends from college lived up there and told me about the Healing Rooms. It was a place people came from all over to seek and find healing prayer. I’ve had health problems my entire life. Even with advances in technology, my diabetes was severe, and the very modern day conveniences that made controlling it easier often caused me great pain. I had only been diagnosed with celiac three years before and was still in denial. On top of that, I had been struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts for the past fourteen years.
So I bought a plane ticket, even though I hate to fly and dislike travel, not to mention it was freezing cold in a place that saw heavy snowfall. (While there, I learned that snow is only pretty after the first fall. Then it becomes brown slush.) I was a senior in college, and was spending my cherished winter break chasing hope.
My friend took me to visit the Healing Rooms. It was like a free clinic, in a way. First come, first serve. There were several rooms where volunteers gathered in numbers of two or three to meet with people and pray over them. They praised a high success rate, and even local hospitals invited them to come down and pray with patients. I didn’t go in that first day. We looked around, picked up a few pamphlets and a book, and went home where we dove into the Bible, examining the verses and passages their faith was based on. We even visited some local pastors to discuss the matter with them.
And you know what? I found no flaw in their beliefs.
I went back to the Healing Rooms and asked for prayer that God would cure me of my diabetes and gluten allergy. Before they prayed, one of the men stepped forward and said he sensed there was something else I needed healing from–my depression. I had forgotten about it, believing that if my physical troubles were over, that would follow. They laid hands on me and prayed for healing, calling upon the promises in the Bible and the promise of life in Christ.
And I believed.
Then came the tricky part: when would I experience my full healing? For the next couple days, my diabetes got markedly better. I started decreasing my medication without consequence. But days turned into weeks, and weeks into months. Still, I held on to this hope that God would heal me of my afflictions.
Hope turned to disappointment, to anger.
Before you come to the conclusion that God doesn’t exist or miracles don’t happen, let me say that in my anger and hurt, I missed the miracle. I am sad to say that it took me a whole year before I realized that God indeed had healed something very important–my depression. Since that day, I have not had one day lost to despair, one suicidal thought. God may not have healed me the way I wanted, but He did heal the thing that was preventing me from having a relationship with Him.
I still believe God will heal me of the other stuff someday, though whether it be in this life or in the next, that is up to Him. I realized the wrongness in my prayers those years ago. God is not a genie for us to call upon when we want something. Answering my prayer the *way* I wanted would not have brought Him glory. Even today, in this new year, not knowing how I will pay for my medical supplies without insurance, deeply desiring miraculous healing so life would be easier, I know that it would not teach me faith the way God wants to.
Stripped of everything I have ever depended on, I am left with only Him. There is a profound peace to be had living in full dependence on God. It is something I am only beginning to glimpse and understand, as fear still gnaws at me. And while the road may be harder, if God were to grant me a healing modern medicine can’t explain, I would miss another, greater miracle–learning to live in and love God’s everyday provision.
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The feather and who it represents is both a catalyst for darkness and destruction, and the vessel of love and hope. In a world full of joy and sorrow, love and misery, this agent is a light seeking a balance between two inevitable realities in a sinful world, and is ultimately the final hope for something better.