Today, I’m thankful for health. But I’m also particularly thankful for the days when my health isn’t exactly up to par. I’ve had several of those lately, and they’ve been teaching me something about faith.
You see, after two months of dealing with ongoing acid reflux, I was forced to question my faith in God’s healing. And what I discovered was that, while I fully believe God can and does heal people, I often struggle to believe that he will heal me.
I was praying about this on the drive to work last week, and it got me thinking about this story in the New Testament where a Roman Centurion asks Jesus to heal his servant who is near death. The centurion sends a message to Jesus, telling Him that He doesn’t even have to come to his house: “Just say the word, and my servant will be healed.” That’s when the Bible tells us that Jesus was actually amazed at this guy’s faith.
“I want that kind of faith,” I told God. “But I know that’s not where I’m at.” And that’s when God did something awesome. Just a day later, a coworker brought up this same story in devotions at work. And he posed the same question I’d been pondering for the past 24 hours: “What do we do when we don’t have faith?”
In answer, he read one of my favorite stories from the New Testament. There’s a father who comes to Jesus seeking healing for his demon-possessed son. When asked if he believes Jesus has the power to heal his son, the man tells Jesus, “I do believe. Help me overcome my unbelief.” I’ve always loved this story, because I think it’s beautiful that we can be this open with God. We can tell him, “I want to believe, but I’m having a hard time. I want to have faith, but I need you to increase it.”
So I prayed that. And then that night while I spent time with my church community, God reminded me of something else that’s beautiful about faith. It doesn’t have to be complicated. The 9-year-old girl sitting next to me on the couch offered up a heart-felt prayer — just telling God what was on her heart, trusting that in His goodness he would hear — and as I listened to her, it was as if God said, “it’s that simple.”
I complicate things. I rationalize. I tell myself why I don’t deserve healing, or I look to medicine and science. And God knew I would do this. He knew we would do this. That’s why he told us to come to him as children.
Today, my health is improving. But more importantly, my faith is growing. I still have a long ways to go, but at least — like the man who needed healing for his son — I’m aware of that. And that’s why I’m thankful for the days when I don’t feel so hot. They remind me that really, I’m just a child in need of good God.