Monday, August 16, 2004

Prayer and Pain

"Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." James 5: 14-16
Yesterday afternoon, my husband and I attended the elders' meeting so they could pray for me and ask that God heal me of my chronic disease and the pain that comes with it. For those of you unfamiliar with all of this, I am not talking about something you may have seen on television at one time or another where a man puts his hands on a person and declares them healed. These are men of our congregation who have been appointed as elders -- leaders, shepherds -- who took turns praying that I might get better. If you'll notice that last verse, it says that "the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective."

Did I leave that meeting knowing that I was healed? Actually, no. In fact, just a few hours later I experienced some pretty bad pain that I have been dealing with on and off for the past week or so. Just some inflammation, but it can really hurt. Being that it was a Sunday evening, we had to go to one of the elders' houses who also happens to be a doctor, and he was able to give me some medicine samples. Feeling better today.

I believe in prayer, very much so. But I also believe that God answers our prayers in His own time, and with such preciseness that only He can understand and that we can (sometimes) see only in hindsight. I know that He loves me and does not want to see me suffer, but I am confident that He is watching over me always.

Maybe my pain and this chronic disease will be gone tomorrow. Maybe I will have it for another year, or for the rest of my life. Only He knows. For now I now that I am blessed in my family, friends, and all of the love that comes from those relationships.
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