“Make it go away mommy”. You may remember the time when you cried this out after something bad happened to you as a child… maybe a scraped knee or something worse. I heard a story the other day of a child at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia who was suffering terribly due to a disease…undergoing one more painful operation with even more to come. I can imagine this poor child crying out, “mommy make it go away”. And the anguish of the mother crying out, “Lord, make it go away”. Does the Lord ignore these cries?
It seems that in many of these situations, the pain and suffering doesn’t go away. For those who have experienced intense suffering…physical or mental or spiritual… or some combination of the three, it often doesn’t go away, or at least not right away.
Joni Eareckson Tada was a beautiful, active, athletic teenager. At the age of 17, she broke her neck in a diving accident in the Chesapeake Bay. Her spinal chord was severed, and she became paralyzed from the shoulders down. Her books describe the intensity of her suffering and the anguish and depression…. wanting it to go away. She is in her 70’s now and she is still a quadriplegic. She did not get healed although she prayed intently for it. Did the Lord ignore Joni’s cries?
Certainly there are many examples of the Lord healing the sick and infirmed…directly and through his followers over the ages…even into today. God does hear our prayers, he does heal…he does “make it go away”, but not always in the way we want and maybe not in the time we desire.
Many of us have prayed, “Lord, I give everything to you…help me to be holy… I will do anything for you and the sake of the kingdom” ….. beautiful and heartfelt prayers. I believe that the trials and disappointments of life are often ways that God hears those earlier prayers.
It’s amazing to read about the incredible life that Joni Eareckson has lived since her accident… she has written over forty books, recorded several musical albums, starred in an autobiographical movie of her life, and is an advocate for people with disabilities… preached the gospel around the world….her many degrees, her artwork… a truly amazing life.
Is there a reason that God doesn’t “make it go away” when we are hurt? Well, that’s a question that many have tried to answer over the centuries…the “problem of pain”… the “mysteries of sickness and death”. Well, this BLOG is not going to add anything to this body of knowledge, but I will mention one thing. Scripture tells us that “ all things work to the good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose”. (Romans 8:28) I believe that in the light of eternity, ALL THINGS…even terrible sickness and accidents… work to the good. We may not see how this is true now, but in light of eternity, I believe it will be clear.
Joni pleaded with God for healing for much of her life, battling with anguish and depression. Yet, when you look at the life she has led and what she has accomplished for the Lord over these next years , I wonder what she will say on her deathbed. As she looks back, will she wished that “he had made it go away”?