Living in Hope

For a few years, I struggled with progressive, chronic pain. What started out as severe migraines led me to practically missing a semester of school, stepping down from some of the things that I loved, visits to numerous doctors with the weirdest specialties, and having days where I couldn’t be touched at times because the pain in my body was so severe.

I have never contended for something in prayer for so long, nor had so many people invested in praying for something for me. I was simultaneously the most encouraged, yet the most defeated I have ever felt. The tension of those feelings made for a wild adventure on trusting God and learning what true hope actually is.
 
I had multiple moments of “mini-miracles” where I would encounter God and the pain would disappear for a little while. Usually, those moments lasted a couple hours, but I did have a period where the pain left for 2 months before returning. While it was a little disheartening each time the pain returned, I am still convinced that with each mini-miracle, God was transforming parts of me. He was depositing bits of faith. Showing me His nearness, His compassion, His love, and His power.

Eventually, I decided to attend the spring break trip to Bethel church with high hopes that God would heal me fully out there. The day came in Bethel where we met with Chuck Perry, the man over their healing ministry. During our meeting, he asked those needing physical healing to stand up. About 12 people stood up, for various reasons, and the rest of the room gathered around and prayed. When they finished he asked those who felt a change in their pain level to stand up and share - about 9 people shared, but I wasn’t one of them. I was devastated. I left the room and cried harder than I ever had in a public space before… my friend came up to me and put her arm around me and said: “God wants you to know that He knows how much you wanted this, and He isn’t holding out on you or trying to be mean to you.” The words came out and I just cried with her.
 
After that moment, I was able to speak with a woman out there who helps lead our trip every year. She had also struggled with chronic illness and was able to speak so much into my life. In our time together we talked about what it means to hope when you have no reason to. We also went through so much inner healing on the spot. She opened up the conversation for me and God to talk to each other about so many events from my past and we prayed through it all. While we were talking we could feel the peace that The Lord was pouring out over our conversation. There was so much joy and laughter coming from both of us, even though it was surrounding a pretty intense conversation. That is how we knew God was in it. Today, I am fully convinced this conversation was the biggest thing God gave me in my journey of healing and was the reason I was on this trip.

After we finished our conversation, I left feeling so light and honestly my pain went away for about an hour. But that moment for me wasn’t about my physical healing. It was about searching my heart and identifying the places that were hard or confused. It was allowing space for God to remind me of who He is, even when my current circumstance was clouding my judgment. It was about picking up hope again. As we were leaving, she looked at me and said “Tori, I really think that you should pursue healing hard this summer - call as many doctors as it takes, but don’t get defeated by lack of answers, just take it as a step and keep walking. God has things for you this summer.”
 
When I got back, out of the blue, a regular customer at the bakery I worked at came in and asked us if she could vent to us because she had a hard day haha. As she was talking, somehow health came up - she had gone through something incredibly similar to what I was dealing with. She gave me the name of her doctor and encouraged me to call him. So I did, but they couldn’t get me in for 2 months. I took the appointment and began praying for a cancelation so my appointment could be moved up. In about 2 weeks, it was. I went in and he immediately knew what was wrong - he wanted to confirm with x-rays and then referred me to a specialist. Within a week, I was at this specialist and he explained everything that was happening in my body and was able to account for all of the symptoms I had been experiencing for the past 2 years. He began treating me and within 6 months I began doing better. It’s been almost a year at this point, and I can confidently say, I am fully healed! I have minor limitations of physical activity, but for the most part, I’m back to my normal self! God came through like He said He would this summer. He orchestrated the events to get me to the doctors who treated me. He healed my faulty belief in hope and healing and bound up multiple wounds from my past in the process. It was beautiful. It was a long road - but the amount that I learned about God’s goodness, and power, and pursuit of us is crazy.

My encouragement to you is that if you are walking around every day waiting for healing saying “it’s fine, it’s fine, I don’t care, I can take this” understand that, that is not living in hope. That is living in delusion. Because it’s not fine, and it’s essential to acknowledge that. You aren’t crazy for being upset and there is no need to pretend like you have it all together when you are hurting. If you don’t acknowledge that, then you will wind up in a far deeper pit than you started. You may start to blame God and resent your life or the ways He is moving in it, and that would be really sad. Rather, when you give yourself permission to grieve the lifestyle you once had and the changes you have to make because of the healing you haven’t received yet, whether physical or emotional, you can open up your heart for God to come in and comfort you. Regardless of if the healing comes or not, when you keep your heart soft and turned towards God, He will enter in and give you something to go away with. That something could be healing, it could be His presence, it could be revelation about something else, I don’t know - it’s different for everyone in every circumstance, but God will show up in it. That is what living in hope is - believing God will show up in the moment, regardless of if you see the immediate healing or not.
 
God cares about our whole selves: heart, mind, body, and soul. There is no formula to healing. There is no order; no one thing that needs to be healed before the other thing can be healed. Healing is a mystery, that we honestly don’t need to try to figure out… we just need to trust that God is a God who heals, it is clearly stated in Exodus 15:26. He is a God who cares about every part of us, and will work in our lives to help us step into abundant life. I don’t know when your healing will come, but I know that God is healing people every day. So don’t give up. Keep asking, lean into a hope that is alive and active. Don’t harden your heart - your healing will one day come.

Author | Tori Kramer

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