What do we do when it looks like God has told us no?
Let’s talk about that.
But first, how do I even begin? When I need to ask myself that question, I usually find that beginning at the beginning is the best answer.
On November 12, 2017 my daughter, her friend, my husband and I were in a car wreck. I suffered an open, compound fracture of my left lower leg and ankle that required emergency surgery and a few days in the hospital. Miraculously, there were no other major injuries! Woot woot! While my left foot does turn in some, the fracture itself healed nicely. That calls for another woot woot!, right? At about 8 weeks after the wreck, I noticed that something wasn’t quite right. The pain of the injury was still there. At first I chalked it up to my imagination, but it only continued to worsen and it wasn’t long before my entire lower leg was turning crazy colors, swelling immensely and hurt to walk on.
Five months after the wreck I saw a pain specialist who diagnosed me with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (more on the details of this rare disease here). I had had an experience with this disease several years prior and, with the help of my doctor, sprang into action. We started an intense regimen of medication and physical therapy. And y’all… I prayed… hard. I spoke Scripture over my body on an hourly basis and I just knew that by the next appointment, I’d be healed.
Only, that’s not what happened. Within a few weeks of that first appointment, after a painful flareup, it spread to my entire leg. So, my doctor increased the regimen and I spoke more Scripture. Almost 18 months later I am still speaking Scripture, however I am now maxed out on the dosages of meds I can take, I have a spinal cord stimulator implanted in my back and I am beginning a grueling regimen of ketamine infusions ten days from today. The CRPS is now affecting all four limbs. I live in constant and severe pain every day.
In the life of a believer this is unheard of. Or so I’ve been told.
Because I believe God that has called me to a life of transparency, I have tried to be as open and honest about this struggle as I know how to be. In doing so, I have opened myself to unbelievable support from all of you…
…and to some harsh criticism; theories from heinous, unconfessed sin to lack of faith. Trust me, I have examined ALL of the possibilities that could contribute to what my family and I are going through…
And the only one that rings true is this: God has simply said no for now.
I realize that might ruffle a lot of religious feathers. It has ruffled mine as well. But we don’t have to look very far into the Bible (Old AND New Testament, y’all) to see that sometimes, God does not prevent suffering. Jesus Himself told His disciples (and ya, that means us, too), that this world is hard and things don’t always make sense. In the times that suffering is permitted, it is only because there is a much greater vision in mind. His temporary no is only allowed because there is an eternal yes at hand.
My entire life is a testimony of that. I’ve experienced some real doozies in the no department. But those no’s have only led to some jaw-dropping yeses.
And you know what? I have nothing to do with either. Some of the yeses have come during seasons that I have not spoken one ounce of Scripture and some of the no’s were in the midst of me shouting His Word at the top of my lungs. And vice-versa. God is too wild to be put into a box, y’all. That’s what I love so much about Him.
He is so incredibly steadfast but He cannot be controlled, no matter how much I may try.
How is that possible? I don’t know, but He does it. When we speak His Word from our lips, it will ALWAYS accomplish its purpose. HIS purpose. But there have been many many times in my life where His purpose and my purpose did not line up. What I wanted His Word to accomplish was altogether entirely different than what it actually did.
So, what’s a girl to do? How do I reconcile one astounding yes with another equally as devastating no? I don’t. When I get a yes, I get excited and I praise Him and I celebrate with all that is within me. When the no’s come, I grieve and I praise Him and I trust Him with all that is within me, eagerly expecting a yes that blows my mind. I am not saying it’s easy, but it really is that simple.
In this CRPS scenario, I know that His will is to heal me. I know it. I don’t doubt that for one solitary minute. So I will continue to speak His Words of healing and promise for my future, but I won’t try to manipulate those words and apply them to just the CRPS.
The delay in the healing of my physical body is resulting in the glorious healing of my soul – my mind, my will and my emotions.
My mind is as sharp as it has ever been. My will – my desire for what I want to line up with what God wants – has never been stronger. And my emotions… well, I’d say that my emotions have never been more even keel than at this point in my life right now, especially under the circumstances. Do I have rough days? Oh sure. You betchya. I still cry sometimes. Do I have to be reminded of His promises? Uh, on the daily. I’m still human. But I am talking about the state of my heart. I have never been more resolved that His heart for me is to be whole. And while we will continue to treat the CRPS medically AND spiritually, right now He is healing me in so many more ways than just physically; ways that have eternal value, y’all.
Eternal. Value. Praise His Name!