As a friend or family member of someone struggling with mental illness, prayers for healing are uttered time and time again. They come from a place of love, desperation, hope, and trust. Without the work of the Great Physician, your loved one doesn’t stand a chance against the brokenness they battle each day.
“God, heal his mind and body.”
“Heavenly Father, bring him peace.”
“Lord, release him from this pain.”
I have personally prayed these words for my brother. His life became a struggle: fighting against addiction, loosing pieces of himself to mental illness, and hurting others in the process. I wanted nothing more than to have my brother back and to see him in a state of rest, instead of conflict (both internal and external).
But when we pray, what do we expect from God? What does healing, peace, and release from pain look like? Revelation 21 says that God will “wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
My brother’s battle with addiction ended up taking his life and I felt like my cries to God for healing went unanswered. Sadness led to bitterness and bitterness led to anger. I had more questions than answers and my questions turned into accusations. Why would God choose to let him suffer? Why would God choose to take my brother from me? I trusted fully that God could have healed him in an instant, but in that time, I did not trust in His goodness.
“Why didn’t you heal him?” I asked, from the depths of my aching heart. I felt so clearly God answer me, “I did.” Those two simple words shook me. I wanted my brother back, but He wanted my brother to be whole. My prayer for healing was not answered in the way I expected. God’s word tells us in 1 Corinthians 15, “What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel… It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power.”
Though I still long for my brother to be here, to be healed in this life, I can now trust in God’s goodness as well as His power to heal. I continue to pray for the healing of those afflicted around me, and I know that God can heal them if He chooses, but I pray knowing that their healing may not come in this life. So I also pray for strength to endure, for hearts to be turned to Christ, and for God’s will to be done.
"Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God."
Romans 8:26-27 ESV
Guest Blog by: Amanda Combs