Funny what we Christians get hung up on. Healing seems to be one of those areas where we can’t quite get the balance right. On the one side we know Jesus can and does heal, sometimes in quite a miraculous fashion. On the other we don’t want to pray for healing and look an idiot if nothing happens.
I guess it can depend on the type of ailment. It’s much easier to pray for someone with an in-growing toenail than a terminal illness, for example. In 2008 Anna and I found out that I have a significantly low sperm count, around five per cent of the usual healthy young stud. Since then we have been prayed for many times, but no one has yet directly offered to pray for healing much less to lay hands on the offending body parts! I have to believe that the prayers and thoughts from the Christian community have always been motivated by love, but they have ranged from caring to obscene via insensitive. Here are some highlights:
- Over a year ago a woman prayed for us and, to be fair, gave me a lot of truth to mull over. Towards the end though she ‘got a picture’ of us with a baby in a year’s time…Yeah. Maybe don’t make any long-term investments, love.
- After sharing our story (including our miscarriage after a successful IVF), I was told I shouldn’t have shared it as this was a ‘broken testimony’. The temptation to offer this well-meaning man a ‘broken face’ was successfully negated.
- At last count roughly 1.6 million people have told me that ‘it only takes one’ when they find out I have a low sperm count. Which has been really helpful as before I found out about my sperm count I thought I had to get three of the little guys into Anna’s egg.
- And unmoving at number one – upon finding out we were giving up IVF as a bad job and adopting instead, one person said: “This needs testing” (at this point I’ve mentally moved to DEFCON 2), “but when I found out you were adopting I felt God say don’t settle for an Ishmael.” Unfortunately we’d already hired a maid.
Christians! Listen to me! Sometimes all a struggling friend needs is to know you are there. They aren’t after platitudes and clichés, just your support.
They know you feel awkward sat in silence, they know you feel helpless but you need to know they probably already feel bad for taking your time, like they are spoiling your evening.
They may even need you to understand that an instant healing from God isn’t going to help, and isn’t really required. I certainly no longer want to be healed of my low sperm count. Sure I did at first, and I wouldn’t complain if we got pregnant. But over the course of our ongoing assessment for adoption I have become fully invested in it.
There is a child or children possibly out there already waiting to meet Anna and I. We can’t wait to meet them. There are children out there who need deeper healing than my testicles do. What if Anna and I are a part of God’s plan to heal these neglected young lives? What if God has used our infertility to bring us to adoption because that’s what He built us for?
So please pray for us. But don’t feel the burden to pray for healing or babies. Just pray that God will be God and that we can have peace about that.