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“You’re wasting your prayers,” my dad told me bitterly. “If God wanted to heal me, He would’ve done so long ago.”
I was dumbfounded. My father, who had introduced me to Jesus, had lost faith. The culprit: Chronic pain and mental illness.
Holding back tears, I looked up at him. “I will never stop praying for you.” An offering of hope. But it was no use. He’d made up his mind.
“See what’s left of your faith after you’ve suffered fifteen years, Amber.”
Why would he try to discourage me in my walk with Christ? In my hopes for healing?
But after experiencing my own suffering for a year or two, I learned he was partially right. I didn’t know the weight of anguish he carried. I’d barely skimmed the surface. Now, five years into my own mental and physical health conditions, I’m beginning to understand.
While I haven’t lost faith or hope in Jesus, I’ve been challenged. I’ve cried out to God to heal me so many times I’ve grown weary and stopped. I’ve started to see that same cynicism creep into my heart. How did I get to this place?
The difference between my dad and I is that I’m still holding onto hope – not because it guarantees healing, but because it encourages resting in the unknown with your Creator.
Dad introduced me to Jesus at age eight. My faith was bright, and the problems I faced were minimal. I prayed away bumps, bruises, or broken bones, and God answered. By ten, faith and healing didn’t turn out the way I thought they should. Family members died from drug and alcohol abuse, and I suffered from verbal and emotional abuse myself.
Over the years, my half-siblings’ threats and incarceration were the norm. Drugs, abuse, and violence were known by my last name. When my father got placed on disability and grew ill, increasing trauma filled our home.
In college, faith and feelings diverged, but I knew God’s faithfulness. After I graduated and grew ill, I started to question God: “If you can heal me, why haven’t you?” The conversation with my father flashed before my eyes.
I had closed my mind to healing and didn’t even realize it.
Today, I offer three ways to cling to hope amid suffering. Not as prescriptions but as small starts anyone can pursue: Being open to healing, recognizing that sometimes God says “no,” or “not yet,” and clinging to the faith we do have.