We have a daughter who was born with a club foot. When she was a little baby, the bottom of her foot was turned at a 90 degree angle away from where it should have been. This was a problem, of course, because unless her foot moved into the correct position, she would never walk properly.
Clearly, this seemed like a perfect opportunity for God to heal. We prayed and prayed, believed, expected a miracle, and, instead, got a blood soaked cast, a little baby with dull pain in her eyes recovering from a five hour surgery that was only partially successful. Four years later, we did another surgery. Six months after that, the new surgeon said, no, that surgery was all wrong, we need a different surgery.
Today my daughter is a young woman. Most people have no idea that one of her feet is about 40% smaller than the other. The “little foot” (as we call it) is scarred and twisted, but it works. She walks; she runs (with just a hint of a limp); she rides horseback. I don’t know if the saga is over, but for now, for practical purposes, she’s okay.
In the Bible we read about an infestation of deadly snakes that were terrorizing and killing the people of God. When Moses asked the Lord what to do, he got this answer from God:
“Make a model of a venomous snake and put it on a pole. Anyone who is bitten by the snake will live if he looks at this model.” Numbers 21:8 The Easy Bible
The people asked God to take the snakes away. There’s no record that He did. Instead, He gave them a bronze snake—all who looked to the bronze snake were healed. The bronze snake didn’t keep them from being bitten; but it did keep the bite from killing.
Sometimes we need to go through some pain before God heals. We would all like our problems to instantly disappear, but that isn’t always God’s plan. The same God who put a bronze snake in the wilderness sent us two surgeons who disagreed on how to operate on a child’s foot.
What is true here physically is also true emotionally and spiritually. We all want a painless solution to our secret sins; we want an instant cure for our depression or panic or whatever other misery we may experience. But God doesn’t always take the snakes away. Instead, we may need to travel with Him through the place of pain to find His final healing.
I don’t completely understand this, to be honest. I don’t like pain, and I would rather avoid it altogether. But I do know this: In the end, our lives will be far richer if we let God do it His way.
Remember, you are designed to make a difference!
PS. Are you getting my daily email?
Photo credit: Adapted from a photo by Sarah Ackerman, Flickr, Creative Commons License