When I was in college I suffered from bouts of intense abdominal pain. There was one particular time that I can laugh about now. My best friend and room-mate at the time found me crippled over on the kitchen floor one morning. The pain was so intense I could barely move. She looked at me and said “Oh, you will be fine. Whenever I have that pain it’s just because I have to poop.” She then basically carried me to the bathroom, handed me a glass of milk and stuck a magazine under the door and encouraged me to poop. (LOL) I remember sitting there thinking how funny this would be if I wasn’t in so much pain.
Another time I had already graduated from college and was teaching at a local elementary school. I was getting ready to leave and was all of a sudden hit with severe cramping again. I remember laying in a ball on the living room floor wondering how I was going to get to my phone to tell the school I was going to be late.
I finally decided to go see a doctor. They did an examination including an internal examination with a camera and determined that I had a really bad case of endometriosis. They said I was going to need surgery to clean it all out.
I was still reeling from that news when it was time to leave for winter camp. I was a youth leader at my church and had a group of middle school girls that I was going to be staying with during the camp. I was still having some cramping, but it was tolerable and I didn’t want to miss out on the trip. I love going to youth camps because it is such a great opportunity to really invest in the lives of the youth and to see the draw close to God. I never in a million years imagined that I would get something out of this trip. It’s funny how God works.
The first night at camp I struck up a conversation with the custodian. He was sweeping up after the meal and I don’t remember how the conversation started, but he ended up telling me his amazing testimony of how God had healed him from some horrible injuries. He had been in a construction accident and had broken a bunch of bones and had his hand nearly ripped off. In the hospital an angel visited him in a dream and told him to get up. He unhooked himself from all the lines and wires and walked out of his room completely healed and fine. His story was unbelievable, yet I knew he was telling the truth. I asked him if he wanted to share his testimony with my girls during our small group time. He agreed.
The next day he showed up to our small group and I introduced him to my girls. After he was done sharing his story he asked if he could pray for us. I was excited for my girls to have these special moments of prayer, but instead he walked across the group and came to me. He laid his hands on my head and started praying. About four sentences into the prayer he stopped. There was an awkward silence where the camp custodian was standing there with his hands on my head and all my middle school girls were staring at me. Then clear as day he said “The Lord just told me that you were recently diagnosed with something. “Yes, that’s true” I said as I frantically searched my memories to figure out who I had told about my diagnosis. The truth was, I had told no one. I hadn’t even told my room-mate or my parents yet.
Then I noticed the lights in my eyes. I was staring at the ceiling. I had fallen over just like you see on those televangelist shows. I had never really thought it was a real thing. I have to admit my first thought was of embarrassment that my girls had to see me like this. But before I could think anything else, he spoke again. “The Lord wants you to know that you are healed.” Then I felt this stirring in my abdomen. I have no way to describe it except it felt like someone had reached in with a spoon and was stirring up my insides. My whole body felt warm and then the cramping and pain just left.
I was worried how my girls were going to react to the whole thing, but they responded with more faith than I did. They just accepted it and moved on. Meanwhile I sat there trying to figure out if this was real. I mean, I knew it was, but I had never experienced anything like this. This didn’t fit into the tidy little comfortable box of Christianity that I had created in my mind.
After that camp I went to my follow-up appointment to schedule the surgery. I was so nervous. I so desperately wanted to believe I was healed, but I struggled with doubt. I said nothing to the doctor and during the examination she kept looking at her notes with a confused look on her face. Finally she said “Why are you here again?” . I told her I was just diagnosed with endometriosis and I needed surgery to get it cleaned out. “You don’t have endometriosis.” she said. “Everything looks great!”
I was healed. That moment, over 10 years ago, was a pivotal moment in my faith. It took my belief in God that I had put into a tidy little box, busted that box wide open, and revealed to me the powerful, compassionate, healer that He really is. I’m not going to lie, I still occasionally struggle with doubt. When my husband and I struggled to conceive, a little voice in the back of my head wondered if maybe I wasn’t healed. But I am.
I don’t know why some people receive physical healing here on earth and others don’t. I can’t pretend to understand the ways of God. But I do know that with God, all things are possible.