And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak,because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
– Mark 5:25-29
Girl, I can relate.
I was diagnosed with Crohns Disease when I was in 5th grade. If you aren’t sure what that is, you should look it up on WebMD. For now, I’ll spare you the details. It’s not the most pleasant topic. For 12 years (ironic, right?) I had to deal with the pain, anxiety and stress of trying to balance a social life with this disease. Not only did it take a physical toll on me, but it also took a huge mental and emotional toll on me. I attribute a lot of my anxiety to this diagnosis because I spent most my life fearing the worst case scenarios that could happen because of my condition. I always needed to be near a bathroom, which was both embarrassing and inconvenient. It kept me from living my life to the fullest. Because Crohns lowers my immune system, I was constantly getting sick with things like flu, pneumonia, arthritis pains and above all, sinus infection (oh gosh, sinus infection… I bypass colds all together and go straight to the sinus infections now!) It hasn’t been the most pleasant journey.
Okay, enough of the downside. Here’s the cool part.
About two years ago now, my dad and pastor started telling me that I could be healed of Crohns. Of course, my thoughts were “Pshh! Yeah right! This is incurrable! As in it doesn’t go away! There’s no way I’ll be healed of it”. But as my pastor told me, ‘faith comes by hearing’. By this he meant that when you hear something long enough, you start to believe it. That’s why speaking positively or negatively is so important. Your brain hears yourself and starts to believe the words you’re saying. He told me that if I wanted to get serious about my healing, I needed to read what the Bible said about healing, sickness and disease. He said I needed to repeat God’s promises out loud to build my faith. After a while, my negative thoughts about healing will change.
And you know what? He was right.
It took me a while to get to this point. But I tried to constantly fill my head with healing words and pray in faith that I could be healed. And the past couple of months, I got really serious about my healing. I did exactly what the Bible said to do in terms of healing.
Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall
save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up…
– James 5:14-15
I had two proceedures coming up to take a final, thorough look at my insides before leaving for Kansas City. My dad strongly felt that I would come out of the proceedure
completely healed; that it was finally time to end all of this.
I definitely didn’t believe that at first. I mean, doesn’t the Bible say not to put God to the test? And wouldn’t that be putting him to the test? But as I continued to struggle with my Crohns disease, with no amount of medication easing my pain, I felt like I had no choice but to believe that God could heal me. I had nothing to loose. If God wants to heal me and says that He can then I was going to cling to that truth.
I felt like I could directly relate to the woman who
bled for 12 years (quoted above). I love that this story is in the Bible. It’s short but powerful. She had suffered for a long time. She had been to doctor after doctor, trying to find answers but couldn’t. She was considered “unclean” in that society because of her illness. She was lonely, in pain, and without hope. Then came Jesus. She didn’t know much about Jesus, but she knew that all she had to do was touch his clothes and she would be healed. She would be freed from her suffering. She would have new life. So she reached out…
Here’s the number one thing I’ve learned from the
woman who bled for 12 years: she didn’t doubt. She was at the end of her rope. Obviously she was desperate. Back then, to be “unclean” and a female were enough to get her in serious trouble if she touched Jesus – a “clean” man. But she didn’t care. She wanted to be healed. And she didn’t let anything get in her way. She pushed through the crowd and reached out to Jesus, the man who in the end said to her “Daughter, your faith has healed you, go in peace and be freed from your suffering”.
So when the day came for my proceedures, I was feeling pretty confident. I believed wholeheartedly that God would heal me. I wasn’t sure how, but I knew it would happen.
When I awoke from my anesthesia, I’ll admit that I was a little surprised they weren’t all celebrating/confused as to why my results showed no more Crohns. My doctor was talking to my mom about their findings and, once I became more coherent, I understood what was going on. Basically they said my intestines were doing fairly well but my biggest problem area was the colon, which made them think that I might have Ulceritis Colitis instead of Crohns now. In which case, they could cure my condition but that would result in taking out my entire colon. They said it was good news. I begged to differ.
I left feeling this undescribable sadness mixed with anger and frustration. I cried and asked God over and over again “why?!”. I believed hard that I would be healed. I thought for sure it would be gone. Worst of all, I was already picturing my life in Kansas City without Crohns. I wouldn’t have to be embarrassed. I could go on spontaneous adventures without having to worry about a bathroom. My life would be infinitely better. It was like I was being diagnosed all over again. Except it was worse because my two options were either do the surgery that may or may not fix the problem (if not, I would have a bag acting as a colon on my side for the rest of my life) or be miserable with little hope of getting better. Worse. Day. Ever.
I had the weekend to recuperate but I was moving into my apartment in KC so relaxation didn’t come easy. On Monday I had a voicemail from my doctor. He had the results of my second test and he wanted to share them with me. The first words out of his mouth were “We got your test results back and they came back negative. We found no evidence of Crohns in your body…”. Upon hearing this, I immediately popped up in my bed; heart pounding furiously. Obviously I knew that I wasn’t completely better because they just told me that my colon was in bad shape, but his words instantly changed my life. I spent 12 years of my life being told that Crohns was incurrable and that I would always have it. Now he was saying that they couldn’t find any traces of it in my body. That kind of changes things!
I don’t know how it happened or what this means. Maybe my Crohns morphed into Ulceritis Colitis. Maybe it never was Crohns. Maybe my Crohns upset my colon so much that it caused UC. I don’t know. I don’t really care. All I know is that it’s gone. I don’t have to say “I have Crohns” anymore. The “incurrable” disease is completely gone and now I’m dealing with something that is at least currable by human standards. By God standards, I believe he healed me. He took away the disease that was considered a “forever” thing. And you know what? He did exactly what I asked Him to do! I prayed for Him to heal me of my Crohns. And he did. I can’t believe I let myself get so caught up in the fact that I was still suffering from something that I completely forgot to thank God and praise Him for being faithful to heal! And since he healed me of that, who’s to say that he won’t heal me of my Colitis as well? All I know is, I’m on my way.
The reason I tell you all this story is so that your faith may grow and that you can be encouraged when facing illness. Trust me, there are still a lot of things I don’t understand. Why are some people healed instantly while some are healed over time? Why does prayer work for some people while some prayer for years and never get better? Why do little children have to deal with horrible sicknesses that never go away? I don’t know. I definitely do not have this all figured out by any means. But I want you all to know my story. For me, I stood on faith. I believed and still believe that God is in the healing business. It is our faith in God’s healing power that brings restoration. For me, I believed what the Bible said. “By his wounds, I am healed”, which means not only did He send His son to die for my sins, he also died for my infirmities (aka diseases). For me, I claimed my authority over sickness and disease. It is not of God, it is of Satan and since my body is the “temple of the Holy Ghost”, I refuse to allow sickness to dwell where God dwells. I understand that as a Christ follower, I have “authority over all the power of the enemy” – including sickness – because “greater is He that is in me than He that is in the world”*.
For me, I will continue to stand in faith, even when my circumstances tell me otherwise. No, I’m not 100% healthy yet. No, I’m not through with sickness. But no, this is not the end. This is just the beginning of a beautiful process. He will heal me in His own way and in His own time. Medication can help and surgeries are great, but the only one who can truly heal is God. All glory to god, always.
Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. – Matthew 9:35
That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. – Mark 1:32
A man with leprosycame to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”
Jesus was indignant. He reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed. – Mark 1:40-42
* Quotation marks mean I quoted a Bible verse