Can Jesus really sympathise?

“Jesus knows what you’re going through.”

The Bible tells us that Jesus as a High Priest can sympathise with all of our sufferings. That He knows what it is to be human.

I have often rebelled against that.

Was Mary sick with an incurable disease? Was Joseph? Did one of Jesus’ brothers or sisters suffer from epilepsy or depression or MS?

If not, then how can He possibly know what it’s like to be a Watcher?

How can He possibly sympathise with me?
Continue reading “Can Jesus really sympathise?”

Jesus prayed, I prayed, and neither of us were answered: how to pray for healing

When I sit down to pray for my sick loved one, I want to pray for healing.
That’s natural.
And yet I know that immediate physical healing is not always in God’s plan. Are there other specific things I should be praying about then?
Or ought I simply add a disclaimer, like “may your Will be done”?

I’ve written about prayer in Why we need to make up our minds about prayer and Why we should pray for healing from chronic illness.

I’ve asked whether the Bible promises to answer prayer in Why praying for healing is tricky.

Now it’s time to answer the question: what should we pray?

To answer this, I think it’s helpful to look at how Jesus prayed.

Contents

  • Jesus prayed contradictory prayers
  • Jesus prayed huge prayers
  • I have prayed prayers that were not answered and others that were (God healed my sister but not my mum)
  • This is why I keep praying

Continue reading “Jesus prayed, I prayed, and neither of us were answered: how to pray for healing”

Why praying for healing is tricky (dealing with ‘troublesome’ Bible passages)

As I’ve wrestled with the concept of prayer and the reality of chronic illness in my life, I’ve discovered a Big Tricky Question.
I can’t ignore it any longer.

I’ve written about prayer in Why we need to make up our minds about prayer and Why we should pray for healing from chronic illness.

But the Big Tricky Question keeps niggling at me.

It’s this:
Not everyone who prays is healed.

So what do we do (as Christians and/or as Watchers) with the parts of the Bible that promise immediate healing?

Why do passages in the Bible promise healing but not deliver?

First disclaimer: I’m not a trained theologian.

Second disclaimer: context is important, but for the sake of a read-able blog post I haven’t included the surrounding chapters of each of these verses.

Third disclaimer (this is the most important!): I can’t promise a miracle. But I can offer you company as you look through theses verses and puzzle over them. I can offer you my thoughts, and a chance to put aside your assumptions and your aching heart to read these passages anew.

Will you join me?

Continue reading “Why praying for healing is tricky (dealing with ‘troublesome’ Bible passages)”

Why should I pray for healing if it’s a chronic illness? (3 reasons it is so hard)

I’ve said before that for me, prayer is often feels like making a wish on a ‘wish chip’ or over a birthday cake.

Today, I want to suggest that perhaps prayer is also like waving a magic wand…

The last post discussed why we need to make up our minds about prayer, even if it seems silly or childish. Now I want to ask:

Why should we pray for healing if our Loved One’s illness is chronic?

Prayer is not a choice

If a wizard doesn’t have a wand, we begin to doubt whether he truly is a wizard.

If he has one, and doesn’t use it… well that’s just silly!

Likewise, the Bible says if we are Christians, prayer for healing is not just an optional extra if we feel in the right mood (Ephesians 6:18; James 5:13). It’s part of who we are.

We want healing, plain and simple. And if we’re not asking God for it, I suspect it means we’re asking someone else.

Perhaps we have pinned our hopes on doctors and treatments (the gifts rather than the Giver) or simply ‘fate’ (what will be will be).

If the former, we’ve created idols; if the latter, we’ve lost sight of God’s bigness and sovereignty.

Prayer can sometimes feel like something of little consequence. A few muttered words, clenched fists, perhaps closed eyes. Yet I think, as Watchers, praying for healing is a unique way we can live out our faith.

It is faith in action and glorifies God as trustworthy and powerful.

Continue reading “Why should I pray for healing if it’s a chronic illness? (3 reasons it is so hard)”

Prayer + Chronic Illness = ? (Or, why we need to make up our minds about prayer)

When I was little I used to search the chip packet for wish chips. Chips in general were rare in my household, and those double folded chips were even rarer.

When you ate them you were meant to make a wish. Like wish bones in chickens and blowing out birthday candles.

Every time I crunched a wish chip, I wished for the same thing.

I wished for my mum to be healed.

Now even if you had asked, I would have said I didn’t really believe in wishes… but I felt I had to try.

Just in case.

A lot of us think the same thing about praying for healing.
We have to try.

Just in case.
Continue reading “Prayer + Chronic Illness = ? (Or, why we need to make up our minds about prayer)”

What does society say about sickness (PART 2)?

What does society say about healing, prayer, heaven and sacrificial giving?
Have you been duped?

What do we really think about chronic illness? In the depths of our hearts, in the stillness of our bedrooms… are we really as kind as we think?

Here’s my thoughts on what society is perhaps “really” saying (or thinking!) about chronic illness and care-giving.

If some of these observations seem a bit too harsh, let me reiterate my definitions of “society”:

ONE: secular, not-specifically-Bible-based, thought.

TWO:  individual-focused, 21st century, Western culture (because that’s where I live)

THREE: the ‘natural’ whispers of my heart when it is not focused on Jesus.

You see? If this post is harsh, it is harsh towards myself. If this post is judgemental, I am sitting in the dock as well as on the jury.

Let’s examine ourselves together, and not be afraid of what we might uncover.

This is Part 2 of “What does society say about sickness?”

What society says about prayer

Continue reading “What does society say about sickness (PART 2)?”

What does society say about chronic illness (PART 1)?

We know what the Bible says about sickness, but what does society say?
Perhaps it can provide another answer. Even a better answer.

We learnt that the Bible has some guidelines which can help us formulate an ‘answer’ to sickness.

But we can’t stop there.

I think it is important we look at the flip side.

What does society say about Chronic Illness?

A definition of ‘society’

Now, by ‘society’, I mean secular, not-specifically-Bible-based, thought.

I mean the individual-focused, 21st century, Western culture in which I live.

I mean the ‘natural’ whispers of my heart when it is not focused on Jesus.

can you really define ‘society’ like this?

Wait! If at this point you have an objection, I am with you.

If your objection is: ‘We can unearth what the Bible says about sickness by reading it, but how can we discover what society says? It’s too subjective. There’s no manual.’ then I’m with you also.

There is no book for society. It is made up of so many ideologies and sympathies. ‘Society’ is different in different cultures and countries and times.

How on earth can we hope to pin down in one post the response of ‘society in general’ to chronic illness?

To even consider doing so seems pretentious on the largest scale.

Continue reading “What does society say about chronic illness (PART 1)?”

Sickness and the Bible (references, disappointments and questions)

Some things in life are opposites. They can’t coexist because they cancel each other out. Fire & Water. Tiny & Huge.

Sometimes I am tempted to add ‘Sickness & Christianity’ to this list.

Some people will state it blatantly: there can’t be a god, because if there was, there wouldn’t be suffering.

Ie. If God existed, sickness would not.

Others may not state it that way, but they will believe it just the same. The topic makes them uncomfortable, and they don’t want to talk about it.

They’re afraid to look into it too deeply, because they know sickness is a reality, and they want God to be a reality too, to make them feel better about life. They want to keep their crutch.

Christians, of course, believe in Christianity. They stake their lives on it. And yet… they have to believe in sickness as well. They would be fools not to.

We, as Christian Watchers, know only too well that sickness exists – yet we claim God does too.

Continue reading “Sickness and the Bible (references, disappointments and questions)”