Sometimes Obedience Can Be the Key to Healing
Is there something you know God wants you to do but you’re not doing it because you either don’t want to or you think you just can’t do it? Hopefully this article will encourage and incentivize you to get busy and begin doing whatever it is God wants you to do.
First of all, God would not ask you to do something impossible. If he has told you to do something, he will help you do it if you just ask him and then get busy doing whatever it is.
A delightful young lady, who had just turned twenty, came to me for help regarding a recurrent problem she was having. The best she could describe it was that it was like a panic attack that seemed to her like déjà vu. She would feel something uncontrollable come over her where she felt she was someplace else, her heart racing in panic, feeling nauseous and hot and just wanting to die. These attacks were becoming more and more frequent and stronger in intensity. Sometimes she had as many as four or even five in one day.
My first thought was that she might have a memory trying to surface, but after we talked and prayed a while, it became clear to both of us this was not the case. However, we did talk about a severe burn accident that happened to her several years prior to this that had required hospitalization and surgeries. She was sure she had overcome her PTSD related to the accident, but as we talked, a little more emotion was released.
At first I was stumped about how to help her overcome these panic attacks, but then the Lord prompted me to ask her a question. I asked if she had ever noticed that the attacks did not come on the days she read her Bible in the morning. She thought for a minute and then replied that she was sure that was true. On the days she read her Bible she did not have the attacks.
She left determined to spend at least twenty or thirty minutes each morning reading her Bible, and this she did—for a few weeks and there were no panic attacks. Then there was a period of three days when she didn’t read, and the attacks returned. Realizing what had happened, she started reading again. The first time she returned to her Bible reading, she had an attack while reading. I was certain that was the enemy trying to get her to quit. She agreed and persevered. It has been a few months now and she has had no more panic attacks. I feel confident she will not neglect her Bible ever again. .
I find it interesting that she says that as she observes and relates to people around her, she is certain many of them would benefit and find relief from some serious problems by doing the same thing she is doing. I agree with her.
For my husband and me, the issue of daily Bible reading and study was settled decades ago. We know we cannot let a day pass without doing this along with prayer. Our most recent need for obedience to the Lord has to do with all our stuff. Like most Americans, we have too much stuff. Case in point—our attic.
Our house is small. It is very difficult to find a place to put things. When we don’t know what to do with something but we want to keep it, it goes into the attic. As a result, our attic in some places has been literally piled almost to the rafters with stuff. We have an attic where you have to constantly bend over to keep from hitting your head on one of the rafters, so working up there is a challenge.
My husband, Stoner, woke up one Monday morning with pain all over his body. It seemed so strange because we had just returned the previous week from a week’s vacation where his arthritis had been so mild he didn’t even take any pain medication. Now it was all over his body, and that kind of pain can’t help but affect our emotional outlook too.
As soon as I became aware of his suffering, a determination I recognized as being from God came over me to do something to help. There had to be a spiritual reason for this return and increase of pain, and I was certain it had to do with our attic. I knew it was not pleasing to the Lord when we harbor things we don’t need or use. Over the years Jesus has repeatedly urged me to get rid of things I don’t use or need, and I have worked on that a lot in our living area, but the attic has never been approached with this obedience in mind. Certainly our attic’s condition needed to be remedied and now was the time.
After breakfast I found a spot to sit at the top of the ladder where I could survey the situation and pray for guidance. Soon I began to form a plan for removing enough things near the opening that I could start organizing the things nearest me into categories. I needed Stoner’s help and kept handing things down to him that needed to go. It wasn’t long before he was really into it with me and shortly was feeling much better. The next day I realized that some physical problems I had were greatly lessened. I have had a lifetime allergy to dust, and dust covered everything in the attic, but my nose never ran once and there was none of the usual sneezing either. Additionally I was putting my body in all sorts of contorted positions while lifting things up there but I had no resultant pain in my body. I knew our obedience was releasing God’s healing power into our bodies.
That was Tuesday. By Wednesday Stoner was in the attic with me, bent over at the waist while standing or walking on his knees trying to reach things further near the eaves. We worked in the attic Wednesday and Thursday and made two trips to the GoodWill. By the end of the day Friday, we were three fourths of the way through the job and decided to take the weekend off. While in town on Sunday for church, we took another donation to the GoodWill. After finishing this project, we are trying to train ourselves not to put things we don’t know what to do with into the attic. Either we can use it or we should give it away unless it is in the category of emergency supplies.
Over the past few years Jesus has repeatedly encouraged me to get rid of things I’m not using because (1) someone else might need them, or (2) the clutter of stuff can clutter our mind too as we face the problem of not being able to find things or having no place to put the things we really use. There were many things in our attic other people could use: two motorcycle helmets (we no longer ride); a cute little Harley-Davidson charcoal grill we’ve never used and never will; kitchen things and bedding for a camper we no longer have and probably never will have; two Merriam-Webster dictionaries (we already have one just like them downstairs); a rolling duffel bag we didn’t know we had and had just bought one like it last April; two computer cases that neither of us needed; etc.
I have related all this to show how much we had that others might need who couldn’t afford to pay full price but might be able to buy at the GoodWill. In defense of our seeming reckless buying I want to add that there was a time when we, at God’s direction, moved to the country an hour’s drive away from the city and our church. We had planned to occasionally stay in a camper nearby our church to be available to our people and to avoid the long semiweekly drive. We also considered traveling in our camper to go to places where people needed help but couldn’t afford to pay for our lodging in a motel.
All these plans turned out to be our own and not God’s. We found the hour-long drive twice a week really wasn’t so bad after all. The campground was more expensive than we had anticipated and our winters are too cold for a camper. We tried winterizing the camper but that just didn’t work. We are much wiser now and more careful to not go forward with any plans without clear direction from the Lord.
Obedience and Healing
When it comes to physical and mental health issues, most of us run to the doctor first rather than trust God to heal us. It is true that many of our prayers for healing are seemingly not answered but maybe that is because some maladies are actually wakeup calls from God that something in our life needs to be changed. Maybe we should change our prayer from “O, Jesus, please heal me” to “Jesus, what is it in my life you want me to change?”
Then there is the problem that some of us are seeking healing from Jesus but neglecting the deep spiritual truth that we should be seeking him for himself not just for what he can do for us. God created us for fellowship. Fellowship with God is what life is all about—or should be all about. As he said to Abraham, “I am your shield and your very great reward.” Yes, God is our great reward. His love and peace are beyond the scope of language to explain to anyone. He is what every human on earth is seeking but they just don’t know it.
When I relax in the evening just prior to going to bed, I sometimes like to watch YouTube videos about people who have had near death experiences (NDEs). Many of them were pronounced dead for several minutes before returning to their body. Without exception all of them say they didn’t want to come back because of the deep peace and total love they experienced from the Lord while they were absent from their body. Because of my relationship with Jesus I know that what they describe can be ours here on earth. We don’t have to die to be with Jesus. He is here right now with each of us and if we will set aside our idols and develop a close relationship with him, which requires obedience, we can feel that same peace and love here on earth now.
Jesus said, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.” (John 14:22, 23, NKJV)
Nothing could be more clear, straightforward or obvious than that. Love for Jesus equates with obedience to him. If we don’t read his Word, how are we going to know what he wants us to do? If we don’t spend time in his Word, how can we develop a relationship with him? For some of us, suffering is the only way Jesus can get our attention.
I’d like to close with this little prayer:
Lord, please help us all to pay special attention to the things in our lives that you may be using to point us in the direction we need to go, and then help us move forward by faith to rectify these things that our pathway to you may be less cluttered.