When God doesn’t heal

– Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent –

One man … had an illness which had lasted thirty-eight years, and when Jesus saw him lying there and … said, “Do you want to be well again?” … “Get up, pick up your sleeping mat and walk.” The man was cured at once, and he picked up his mat and walked away. [John 5:5-6, 8-9]

Yesterday, we examined one of the reasons why miracles and healings are not as prolific as they seem to be in the gospels. Today, we find yet another healing – the curing of the disabled man. Because these kinds of supernatural miracles are less common today, it raises the question: how should we respond when God doesn’t heal us? 

It can help if we begin by recognising that Jesus deeply understands our suffering. He endured extreme physical and emotional suffering and was described as the “stone that the builders rejected.” As such, Jesus understands our suffering, and is able to walk with us in our darkest moments and empathise with us. We are never left alone in our suffering.

Another reason why we may not be healed when or as we ask is that at times God is doing something in and through our suffering. Suffering can enable us to become more like Jesus. St Peter recognised this when he wrote, “Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his steps.” So although suffering is not in any way easy, God can use our suffering to mould us into the likeness of Jesus. John Paul II wrote that “in suffering there is concealed a particular power that draws a person interiorly close to Christ, a special grace” (Salvifici Doloris, 26).

Finally, we can, like Christ, offer our suffering up in prayer for others. Pope John Paul II wrote of this concept of ‘redemptive suffering’ in Salvifici Doloris: “Faith in sharing in the suffering of Christ brings with it the interior certainty that the suffering person ‘completes what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions’; the certainty that in the spiritual dimension of the work of redemption he is serving, like Christ, the salvation of his brothers and sisters.”

When God doesn’t heal us in the way we desire, we are drawn into another kind of grace as we find ourselves joining with Christ in the work of redemption.

Holy Spirit, give us the grace to understand our suffering and allow our suffering to transform us more into the likeness of Christ.

by Dcn Peter Pellicaan

get the daily reflections sent directly to your email

Copyright © 2020 · All Rights Reserved

Thank you, we'll be in touch soon

You can close this page now, or if you would like to learn more about us, check out our website.