I have rheumatoid arthritis. It's in my hands, feet, and it is especially annoyingly painful in my lower back. Many people don't know this about me, although I don't really try to hide it. In part, it's because I don't want to be known by my disease. It's also because I am fairly tough and most of the time I just power through. But none of that is what I want to tell y'all today.
I have several friends, and even family members, who have chronic ailments. I've prayed for healing for them, I've seen healing take place in some of them, and I do believe that God can and will heal (whether it's on this side of heaven or not is all in His will). But I don't pray for healing for myself. I don't even think about it. I realized that this morning as we stood in church and pastor Lynn asked people who needed healing to come forward. I don't think of myself as a chronic sufferer and I don't think of myself as needing healing. And then my husband grabbed my hand and pulled me forward and asked the elders to pray over me. As a friend anointed me with oil and said, "I had no idea you had RA," it occurred to me exactly why it is that I don't pray for healing for myself. I'm not important enough to matter.
"But wait," the spirit I've asked to live in me said, "I made you the most important thing in the world to me." That whisper in my soul resounded in my head and heart with a shout, telling me that if I am not important, then what was Jesus' sacrifice for?! If I'm not important, then I'm trampling on His love for me and His value in me. How dare I think I'm not important enough and not worth considering for healing?! If Jesus died for me, for my sins, for my healing (albeit spiritual or physical) then who am I to reject his sacrifice because of my own feelings of unworthiness? And so, as I stood there with friends and loved ones praying over me, I felt something else; spiritual healing.
Y'all, I can't be the only person who thinks this way. Do you feel like your issues are too small or too unimportant for God to deal with? I mean, He has bigger issues to deal with, right? Like world peace, starving children, etc., etc. Here's something that God has been trying to prove to me for a while now in other ways- He cares about the small stuff. This past Friday I was shopping for clothing for my teenagers who are growing just way too quickly. I've been thinking about getting a new pair of a specific kind of shoe and just kind of waiting to find that "right" pair. I walked into the re-sale shop and I'll be darned if the exact same pair of shoes I already owned wasn't sitting all shiny and brand-new looking on the shelf (as opposed to the busted up and falling apart ones currently on my feet). It's not like I was praying for new flip-flops. But God knows our thoughts and the desires of our hearts (small and large). And here these flip-flops were. As if that wasn't enough, the next morning I was driving past a certain house with a #BTR sign in the front yard (a specific slogan from our church which stands for Bring The Rain) and wondering who lived there, also thinking about how we haven't had any service calls on that specific street yet. Guess who called me that same day needing my awesome appliance-repairing guru husband? Yep, the sweet woman who lives in that exact house. It was like God was saying to me, "Do you get it yet?" So obviously, (and these are just a couple of examples out of quite a number of them) God has been trying to point out to me that he cares and that the things I think about, feel, do, say, etc., are important to Him, no matter how small. So why on earth would the fact that I am suffering from a debilitating and chronic disease not be important to Him? Ok, God, point taken. I am finally hearing you.
I may never be healed of rheumatoid arthritis while I live on this earth. I may suffer with it and struggle some days. But I'm still going to ask and seek that healing. Jesus said I was worth it. I choose to believe Him because I know His word to be true.