I RIDE BIKES WITH TIM. He has multiple sclerosis.
One day I asked some of my Facebook friends what they would ask God if they got the chance to ask a single question.
Tim’s wife, Barbara, submitted her question:
Will you heal my husband?
Tim and Barbara are both in my Bible study group. We actually did a session on the topic: “Why doesn’t God heal Tim?”
We don’t have a clue.
But we know what to do.
I remember the Sunday Tim broke the news to our Bible study group. Several years ago, now.
Our church was meeting in a middle school at the time. Our class met in the room of a home economics teacher – or whatever the politically correct description is at the moment. There were sewing machines and lots of needles in the room. You had to look before you sat. Yessir.
A prayer for Tim
I don’t know who suggested we pray for Tim at the end of our class session, or who suggested we bring in the pastor to join us.
I know it wasn’t me.
Someone also suggested that we gather around Tim and Barbara and place our hands on them like people did in Bible times when they asked God to heal the sick.
There wasn’t room to do that around the chairs where they were sitting. So they rose and stood near the south wall of the room. We circled around them. There must have been about 20 of us in there.
Several people prayed.
I didn’t want to.
Ever since Dad died back in 2001 I melt too easily around the topics of suffering and death. I don’t understand those things at all. They are God’s worst ideas, if he came up with them. On occasion I tell him so.
When the people prayed for Tim, they asked God to give him and his wife strength and comfort and peace.
I noticed that no one asked God to heal him.
They did ask God to heal him – if it was God’s will.
But no one asked for healing without including some kind of loophole of a clause giving God wiggle room.
Thinking back on it now, I wonder if that’s because we know too much about MS – because we doubt that prayer could have that much of an effect on such a consuming disease.
We believe God can give Tim and Barbara strength. We know he can comfort them and give them peace.
But would he cure Tim of multiple sclerosis? Would God go that far?
I was bursting inside. I thought someone should ask that question. More than that, someone should dang well tell God what to do.
So I prayed.
Maybe a little too far over the top
I told God I don’t give a rat’s rear end how he does it, as long as he does it.
Send down power into these human hands that are touching Tim.
Send an angel if he has to.
Heck, we would even settle for a medical breakthrough.
But do something.
We have seen multiple sclerosis before. We don’t want to see it again – not in Tim.
Make it so. In Jesus’s name.
I don’t buy into the idea that some say Jesus’s brother taught:
“A prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well” (James 5:15).
I don’t take that literally, as a promise for everyone for all time. It’s not that simple – not in my experience. We can’t measure faith in a cup, and then when we think we have enough we pour it out in a prayer to God.
Our faith isn’t in the power of our prayer. It’s in the Person to whom we’re praying.
Only God knows how the pieces of our world fit together in space and time from beginning to end. Only he knows how Tim’s sickness will affect other souls, whether Tim is healed or whether I have to read God the riot act at a funeral.
Well, I may not actually read him the riot act. But I would be feeling it. And if I were God, I wouldn’t want to risk me causing a scene.
In the meantime, I’ll keep praying for a touch on Tim from heaven.
I would settle for a medical breakthrough.
As a backup, I’m all for strength, comfort, and peace.
But the dickens with that. I want Tim healed.
Please, God, make it so.
PS. In September 2014, Tim completed a 2-day, 150-mile bike ride to raise research money to find a cure for Multiple Sclerosis. It’s an annual event Tim has been attempting for 5 years. This year he finally crossed the finish line.