What does it practically look like to allow God to write my treatment plan? I began to ask myself. Some preachers may suggest that I stop taking all narcotics and if my faith is big enough I will not go through physical withdrawals. Now, I am a charismatic gal who strongly believes in healing, but I am no fool.
God does perform instantaneous healing, but most the time He requires us to walk our healing out. In other words, healing is often conditional on obedience (not on how large our faith is). Yes, faith is a necessary part of healing, but according to the Bible, we only need to have faith as big as a mustard seed to expect miracles (Luke 17:6).
I began to believe that I was healed of chronic pain, even though I did not feel it yet. I knew God was unwilling to instantaneously heal me (even though He could) because He had a greater purpose for my pain and was about to teach me the most important lesson a Christian can ever learn – trust!
You see, trust and faith are a bit different. Faith is believing and hoping for that which is unseen (Hebrews 11:1), while trust is believing and being brave enough to act upon that belief. When I was a little girl, I use to jump out of a fairly large tree into fall leaves as my dad stood below and hollered “Jump Jory!”
I had faith that my dad would catch me if things went haywire, but I was often hesitant to jump the first time. Why? Because I was afraid I would get hurt. Deciding to jump was more than faith; it was trust. It was not just believing my dad would be there for me; it was trusting him enough to put action to my belief.
Often hyper-faith preachers leave out “required obedience” when it comes to healing. God’s Word is clear that “Faith without works is dead (James 2:17).” Healing of our bodies, hearts, and minds do not normally seem all that miraculous during the process. In fact, it is often a painful process because at the end of the journey, our destiny lies.
God began to show me that I must “walk out” my healing so that I could minister to others who are truly suffering someday and show them what healing usually requires. I am not saying that instantaneous miracles don’t happen. They most certainly do; but in my opinion, this is the exception (not the rule).
While some may argue that my faith is shallow, I would argue that my faith is deep because God asked me to walk through great pain and I did. It was and is an imperfect journey of much failure, but His grace has been sufficient for me (2 Corinthians 12:19).
Most broken hearts, minds and bodies will never be healed because most are too afraid of the pain of “walking it out,” but what motivated me and continues to motivate me is the fact that God has a great destiny for my life if I will overcome this.
I had one month to figure out what I was going to do next. God did not offer me a specific next-step except to trust Him. I began looking for another pain doctor. I found one who was a neurologist as well. I got in to see him right away.
After sharing my story with the doctor, I heard God’s voice once again, through my new doctor. In a compassionate, but stern-dad-like way, my new doc said, “I will help you, but if you are looking to get back on narcotics, you will need to find a new doctor because we don’t do that here.”
I instantly said, “No, I am looking to get better; not for narcotics.” He then referred me to a Suboxone doctor, which specializes in addiction. This was VERY humbling, as I never considered myself an addict even though my brain was addicted. I did not fit the stereotype and refused to allow anyone to treat me like a junkie.
Nevertheless, I got over myself because it was either that or crazy suffering. I heard the Lord saying, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light (Matt. 11:30).” Suboxone is a synthetic drug that replicates opioids so that withdrawal is not as hellish. The problem is that the body gets dependent on Suboxone as well and my secondary condition of “Medication Overuse headaches (Rebound Headaches)” did not care for Suboxone either. But, it was either this or cold-turkey withdraw from long-acting morphine that I had been on for over a year.
I was on Suboxone for about a year, which helped me to function in my new job as a children’s pastor. I still had almost daily headaches from my secondary condition, but it allowed me to function. I was still depressed a lot because I lived in daily pain, but I slowly got better.
Without trying, I began to lose a lot of the weight I had packed on; mostly because I was not living on the couch as often. Simply moving and having a purpose is good for weight loss. A little over a year into my job, I began to ween off Suboxone myself. To be honest, I think the Suboxone doctor would have kept me on that drug forever if I had not insisted on getting off (he may have been getting a kick-back for every patient he kept on Suboxone).
I got to a point where I knew I was strong enough and ready to get off Suboxone. I weaned down as far as I could while still working. I then made a decision. I would take a month off of work, go home to PA so my folks could take care of me, and be done with it. I knew there was a chance my job would let me go, but I had to. Thankfully my bosses were good men and more than understanding. They even continued to pay me that whole month, which was a blessing because our finances were not in a great place.
I even told my team of volunteers and they were not only behind me all the way, but they held the fort down at church for a whole month while I went home to detox. Perhaps the greatest hero in the story was my amazing husband. He not only worked full-time, had been my full-time caretaker for years, and was exhausted in every way himself; he also took on my full-time position as Children’s Pastor for that whole month while I recovered.
I jumped off Suboxone cold-turkey at 4 mgs. It was very painful, but nothing like detoxing from a long-acting opioid. My mom barely left my side and made me every meal. My dad served me too when he got home from work. My puppy cuddled me constantly. And the four of us binged on Downton Abbey and Call the Midwife every evening.
There is much more to the story as I continued to walk out my healing (and still do), but I once heard a minister say to only share from your scars – not your wounds. To be honest, the rest of the story is still too fresh and makes me feel too vulnerable to share. So I will protect the rest of my story as of now. I also know that my story is not finished, but when it is I will write a book and I hope you will buy it! 😉
I will end with this: Jesus is with us in the midst of pain and if it seems you have begged God to heal your body, heart, or mind and it feels like He is ignoring you, it may just be that He is telling you to “walk it out,” lean into the pain, face your giant, jump into the unseen, let go of fearing pain, put your faith to action and know that He will make the process bearable; not painless, but bearable. And when the process is over, you will look back and truly believe that you were in fact embraced by the healer and the redeemer of all that has been broken and lost.
But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. -Isaiah 53:5
Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. -Romans 8:18
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