…but we had hoped that He was the one who was going to redeem Israel… Luke 24:21
For years my wife suffered from panic attacks. Things went from bad to worse until panic was 24/7 for her. Things got better when she finally went on medication.
Then on September 13, 2001, she had a half hour prayer session with Steve Freitag of CrossCounsel. In that prayer session, she was miraculously delivered from panic. The next morning, she put away her medication, and lived virtually panic free for the next 18 months. She also began a journey of meeting with God in a deep and meaningful way. During this journey, it became clear that this panic was connected to trauma she had suffered as a child.
Then a strange thing happened. We were in Chicago promoting a book I had just written, and while we were in the hotel, the panic returned.
Just as the disciples in this verse were bewildered by what seemed to be a disaster, we were bewildered. Why would God heal her and then allow the pain to come back? We had told so many people about the miracle—did we now have to eat our words?
One day I took my then eight-year-old daughter to the dentist. He numbed her tooth and started working on it. At first things were going along okay. But then it started to hurt. So he gave her a second series of injections to kill the pain. Again, things went along okay, but then the pain returned. Then, for a third time, he got out the painkiller and numbed her tooth.
As a father, I was watching this trying to figure out what was going on. “What’s the matter?” I asked the dentist. “Is she resistant or immune to the painkiller?”
“Not at all,” the dentist explained. “The painkiller is doing its job. This isn’t about the painkiller. This is about the anatomy of your child’s mouth. I just had to find all of the nerve fibers that led to the place of pain. Once I got them all, then she didn’t feel a thing.”
In the same way, when God does a genuine work in you, His work is permanent and effective. But that doesn’t mean that one encounter with Jesus is all inclusive. God desires a deep and ongoing relationship with each of us. Sometimes, He will allow us to experience real pain as a reminder of two things: 1. There’s still plenty of work left to do. And 2. God wants to meet with us again. And again. And again.
PS. Somewhere between 25% and 50% of all adults are survivors of sexual abuse. In many ways it is the elephant in the room. On 7/6/2019 in Inner Wealth we look at 5 things every survivor of sexual abuse should know. In addition, I also address marriage and Inner Wealth, as well as other avenues of healing.