Hear my prayer, Lord;
let my cry for help come to you.
Do not hide your face from me
when I am in distress.
Turn your ear to me;
when I call, answer me quickly. (Psalm 102:1-2)
I believe in miracles. Some miracles happen immediately while others take time. Miracles don’t necessarily take the shape we most desire. In some ways the Bible does us a disservice showing only those times when Jesus successfully (and instantaneously) performed miracles. There is only one verse (Matthew 13:58) that refers to a time when miracles were not performed in Christ’s healing ministry.
I would like nothing better than to wave a magic prayer wand and have my bipolar disorder magically disappear – speedily. But after a life-long struggle with the illness, I don’t believe this is going to happen. Maybe I lack faith, but I think it’s something more. I think God has a plan for me to have this illness and function in spite of it.
I have a good friend from high school who also battles bipolar. Like me, he has a foundation of faith that helps him manage from day to day. Recently, though, some family members and friends have been inflicting on him a steady stream of “name it, claim it” messages from a “health and wealth” theology. This movement takes specific passages from Scripture out of context and contends that God desires everyone to be physically healthy and extravagantly healthy.
This theology is a serious misrepresentation of the Gospel. It does much more damage than good. Certainly, we should pray for healing and eagerly await God’s response, but God’s idea of healing is often quite different from our own. God’s primary interest is not to alleviate our suffering, but to lead us toward abundant life – no matter how painful it is to get there.
My prayer, my cry to the LORD is not to remove my illness, but to give me purpose and direction in the midst of it.