Some viewers are bothered by the talking animals, but not me. Others are bothered by the strange tendency for characters to randomly burst into song, but I find it funny. So what’s the problem?
It’s that closing scene that always gets me. The part where everything ends perfectly. All of the problems the characters faced suddenly melt away as if they never happened. And the future? It’s all rainbows and sunshine.
And, while that makes a lot of people happy, that bit bugs me. Because it’s a lie, isn’t it?
I don’t like being lied to.
Then, one summer, the problems when downhill very fast. I suddenly found myself as a writer unable to use her hands without great pain. A surfer who can no longer surf and an exercise junkie who can no longer exercise. Pain became normal and smiles became the exact opposite. I saw my world turn from full-color to gray and, having never experienced Lyme disease before, I didn’t know how to paint brightness back into my life.
I prayed a lot. I read the Bible. I assumed that God was going to fix it soon. Because he’s God and God fixes things, right? He heals. That’s what he does. I’d read and heard about him doing it for other people, so he’d do it for me.
But then months...and years...went by and he didn’t. And I couldn’t understand. Hadn’t I done everything right? I prayed. I read the Bible. I believed and I had faith. So where was my healing?
I know that, at this point, a lot of people start to think that maybe they just don’t have enough faith. Maybe, if they believe a bit harder, God will heal them.
I never once thought this. I’ve always had faith. It never crossed my mind that God couldn’t fix Lyme.
And that made it worse. Because if God had the ability to heal me, then what the hell was he waiting for?
I didn’t know. But I did know one thing. On bad days, that one thing played over and over in my head:
You lied. You lied to me. You said you would help me and you didn’t. You lied. Why?
I was convinced that he had lied. Where did I get an idea like that? It’s not like the Bible ever says anything about healing people who ask for it and have faith.
Oh. Wait. It does:
And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. James 5:14-15
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7
Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits - who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases. Psalm 103:2-3
Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. Matthew 17:20-21
Being an intelligent human being and a gifted writer, I was able to pose an eloquent question to all of these verses:
What the hell?
What the HELL?!
Because, really, what else was I supposed to think? I didn’t know. The only thing I knew was that I had questions, and none of them had good answers.
What kind of a God says things like that and then just lets people hurt? What kind of a God lies?
Does he think it’s funny? Maybe this is all a joke to him? Maybe he’s just not paying attention any more. Maybe he got bored. Maybe….
The maybes were endless. I cycled through a lot of them before I came to a one that made any kind of sense.
Maybe, my entire life, I’ve been reading those verses the wrong way.
Maybe, all this time, it wasn’t God that was doing the lying.
I realized then that I was looking at the world the way I wanted to see it.
I never once stopped to consider that maybe God’s idea of good is different from my own. My thoughts were simple on the subject: “Pain bad. God good. God take pain away.”
I guess I’d been viewing God a bit like the Room of Requirement. I needed something, and he’d magically make that something appear because that’s what he does. Clearly, that idea has caused me a lot of pain. I can’t really blame anyone save myself.
When I go back and read the Bible now without trying to put words in God’s mouth, I realize that those verses never promised what I thought they did.
They promised healing, yes.
|"Healing." Inigo Montoya knows what's up.|
And that’s hard for me to accept. Yes, I need salvation and Heaven sounds like a pretty nice place. But my brain cannot fully comprehend these things. All it can comprehend is that my body hurts badly and that my life isn’t what I thought it was going to be. So how am I supposed to hold out through all of this by finding hope in something I can’t understand?
I don’t know.
What I do know is this: God did not lie to me. And that’s one of the most comforting thoughts I’ve had since this entire thing started.
I don’t know if God has plans for physically healing me soon. I don’t even know if he has plans to heal me at all. It’s possible that I’ll wake up tomorrow fully healed. It’s also possible that I will wake up with Lyme disease every day for the rest of my life. Who knows? Not me.
And, while that might seem like a depressing thought, it’s not. Because now I can stop trying to force my idea of how healing should work onto God, who I would assume knows more about it than me. If he heals me of Lyme? Hallelujah! If he doesn’t? Well, that sucks. A lot.
However, I know that even if I'm not healed physically, this soul of mine that Lyme has wreaked havoc with can still be fixed. I may not have had a choice when it comes to getting (or keeping) Lyme disease. That might not heal. But the anger and the bitterness that appeared with it can.
Rather than spending my life waiting for God to fulfill a promise he never made, I think it's best for me to spend my life working towards the promise that he did make. Because this healing I've been waiting for? I've been checking for it in the wrong place.
So whether Lyme is taken from me or remains to stay, I will be healed. Maybe not it the way I expect. Just in the way I need.
What about you? Have you ever struggled with the connection between faith and healing? Please don't hesitate to dump out your thoughts into the comment box below.
Looking at the World Through Lyme-Colored Glasses: Learning to Live With Chronic Pain
Looking at the World Through Lyme-Colored Glasses: What Normal Feels Like
Did you come here looking for a writing tips post? Sorry not to have one for you this week, but allow me to point you towards somebody who does: 10 Ways to Gain Writing Inspiration, a great post by the ever-awesome S.M. Metzler.