Joni Eareckson Tada’s devotional Beside Bethesda begins with this dedication: “For my pain-pal friends I’ve met by the pool of Bethesda. With each devotional in this book, I pray for them… These friends, like me, deal daily with pain. Together we are discovering that grace always heals deeper.”
Grace always heals deeper.
These words hit me hard. I understand the truth behind them.
For most of us, ‘grace always heals deeper’ is a sweet idea, but we’d prefer the physical healing. Or emotional healing. Or the return of our wayward child. Or reversal of a financial disaster.
Those things are tangible. Visible. A cause for celebration.
But grace. That’s an invisible healing. To an outsider, nothing looks different. Life still looks shattered and God may seem uninvolved.
But that’s just to the casual observer. In reality, we are profoundly changed.
Grace gives us the courage to face anything, healed from the inside out. For this healing is not just for this life but for the next. It is Spirit-breathed, not humanly understandable. It is permanent, not temporary.
Nonetheless, I still beg God for the temporary healing of this life. And I have done that for decades.
The first time I remember was in third grade. Everyone was playing dodgeball and I was sitting on the sidelines, watching. As I always did. I had heard in church that if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can ask for anything. So I asked, “God, please, please heal me now. Right now, in front of my class. If you do, I’ll do anything you want.”
Then I boldly got up and walked across the gym, fully expecting to walk without a limp. But after a few steps, I realized that my limp was unchanged and my small faith was squashed. And I gave up on God. I hadn’t prayed much before, but that day I concluded that God wasn’t real.Continue Reading