I find myself grappling with stage four cancer, an uninvited guest in my life, and my unwavering belief in divine healing. My faith is rooted deeply in the understanding that God is capable of breaking the laws of nature, intervening supernaturally to grant instantaneous healing (1 Cor. 12:7–9). This belief is not based on the claims of sensationalist faith healers or the prosperity gospel. It’s a conviction in the true, divine power that can mend body, soul, and spirit in the name of Christ, often sparked by the heartfelt prayers of believers.
Yet, despite the earnest prayers offered for me, bathed in faith and anointing oil, my cancer persists. It seems to be indifferent to my ticking biological clock.
The contradiction creates a faith quandary.
I am a passionate continuationist who believes in the gifts of healing. But it appears that the divine healing hand barely grazes my own health concerns.
My room of faith is dominated by two massive elephants. One is a debilitating, medically diagnosed headache that has been my uninvited companion for 35 years, every moment of every day. The other is the terminal cancer diagnosis. Despite prayers for healing, both persist.
I can’t help but relate to Paul. Though Paul witnessed and was instrumental in divine healing, his own petitions for relief went unheeded (2 Cor. 12:7–10). It’s important to note that Paul’s co-worker Trophimus, as well as Timothy, both experienced persistent illness as well (2 Tim. 4:20, 1 Tim. 5:23).
When personal experiences seem to conflict with faith, we should always root ourselves in Scripture. Our interpretations and perceptions may falter, but Scripture remains infallible.
Existing in this in-between space poses existential questions. How can my loving Father, who I believe has the power and compassion to heal, and who does heal others, not heal me? I am left with the belief that His plans for me surpass my understanding, and that His wisdom and love encompass mysteries and designs I cannot yet discern or perceive.
I navigate my life and cancer amidst the different approaches to divine healing. There are those who “name and claim” healings, expecting divine intervention every time. On the other end of the spectrum are the “if-the-Lord-willers” who, despite affirming God’s healing power, often express doubt disguised as humility in their prayers. I find myself occupying the middle ground, acknowledging God’s power to heal while understanding that healing isn’t guaranteed, or even the norm.
God isn’t a cosmic bellboy at our beck and call to keep us healthy and happy. He is a wild, unpredictable force, the divine entity who brings light into darkness, whose power echoes in the thunderclap, who roams the earth to manifest his care, unfold his purpose, and spread his glory (Gen. 1:1–3; 2 Chron. 16:9; Job 26:12–14; Isa. 46:9; 57:15; Nah. 1:3; 2 Cor. 4:6; Rev. 21:22–25).
Sickness, though important, isn’t God’s most pressing concern. Sin, salvation, Satan, and death take precedence. Sickness often leads us to salvation, purifies us from sin, displays God’s grace in our lives, and guides us through death into a world free of disease and death.
Like the three Hebrew youths, I believe in God’s power to deliver miracles and healing, yet I accept that I may not be able to predict when or if these miracles will happen (Dan. 3:17–18). God is in the fiery furnace with me, orchestrating plans too wise and wonderful for me to fathom. In my cancer-stricken and weary days, it’s this faith that sustains me, until I meet healing or heaven, whichever comes first.