Believe You CAN
This post is going to be VERY different from any other post I've made. As you've noticed, I usually simply post our workout plan and occasionally general health and fitness info.
However, I've been feeling like I need to get a little more personal lately. I have a story to tell. And it's a long story with lots of crazy twists and turns, so I'll post it in bits and pieces. Maybe it'll be beneficial to someone. Maybe I just need a writing outlet. I'm not sure why I've felt compelled to share the things I've been through, but now I'm officially starting. Today.
This post is taken from a talk I gave at church on Sunday. I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and as such, we are occasionally called on to speak during sacrament meeting. Therefore, this will definitely be religious in nature. However, I believe everyone can benefit from this message, whether you believe in God or some other deity, the Universe or nothing. It is a message of faith, hope, healing and wholeness.
Thy Faith Hath Made Thee Whole
In The Living Christ, The Testimony of the Apostles, we read that Christ “went about doing good, yet was despised for it. His gospel was a message of peace and goodwill. He entreated all to follow His example. He walked the roads of Palestine, healing the sick, causing the blind to see, and raising the dead. He taught the truths of eternity, the reality of our pre-mortal existence, the purpose of our life on earth, and the potential for the sons and daughters of God in the life to come."
The scriptures are peppered with examples of miraculous healings. We find examples in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon. When Christ lived on the earth, he eased the suffering of men, women and children. He healed diseases such as leprosy, mystery illness such as the woman with the issue of blood, caused the blind to see and the lame and paralyzed to walk, raised the dead, and cast out devils. When he visited the Americas, he also performed miracles.
In 3 Nephi 17:6-10, Christ says to the Nephites:
"Have ye any that are sick among you? Bring them hither. Have ye any that are lame, or blind, or halt, or maimed, or leprous, or that are withered, or that are deaf, or that are afflicted in any manner? Bring them hither and I will heal them, for I have compassion upon you; my bowels are filled with mercy.
For I perceive that ye desire that I should show unto you what I have done unto your brethren at Jerusalem, for I see that your faith is sufficient that I should heal you.
And it came to pass that when he had thus spoken, all the multitude, with one accord, did go forth with their sick and their afflicted, and their lame, and with their blind, and with their dumb, and with all them that were afflicted in any manner; and he did heal them every one as they were brought forth unto him.
10 And they did all, both they who had been healed and they who were whole, bow down at his feet, and did worship him; and as many as could come for the multitude did kiss his feet, insomuch that they did bathe his feet with their tears."
Can you imagine living at that time? The Nephites, several days prior, had just experienced terrifying destruction. They lost cities, homes, friends, family, neighbors and loved ones. They were in complete and utter darkness for 3 days, weeping and wondering how to pick back up and continue on with life. And then Christ came and visited them bringing light and His everlasting gospel. And filled them with hope. With love. With compassion. What began as unimaginable devastation, turned out to be the most wonderful miracle and blessing of their lives. 4 Nephi 1:16 says, “and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.”
When Christ lived on the earth, he taught everyone who would listen to him. And he healed all those who believed. However, many of the Jews, the very people He was sent to heal and liberate, did not believe that Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah, the Prince of Peace. They did not recognize Him for who He was. They found fault with him breaking the rules- picking food on the Sabbath, touching and being around “unclean” and unworthy people, forgiving sins, and healing the sick. They accused him of being of the devil. However, many people also flocked to him, to hear him teach. And many flocked to him to be healed.
Why did they want to be healed? Why do we look to be healed?
They were sick and tired of being sick and tired.
They wanted relief from their suffering.
They wanted to be restored to their full, functioning selves.
They wanted to live life and care for their families.
They wanted to be accepted by their families and society.
Christ healed people that no one else would approach:
A "crazy" person possessed with unclean spirits
A woman with an issue of blood for 12 years-- ostracized from Jewish society because she was “unclean.”
A dead child
Many of these accounts say He had compassion on those people. And they, or their loved ones, had FAITH that they could and would be healed.
The leper said, “If thou wilt, thou canst make me whole.”
The Centurian said, “I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof; but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.”
The crazy man asked to stay with Christ.
The woman plagued with the issue of blood said, “If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.”
Jairus and his wife pled with the Savior, “I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.”
Each of these people had unwavering faith in Jesus Christ. They knew, without a doubt, despite others around them saying it couldn’t be done and laughing either them or Christ to scorn, that Christ could heal. They recognized the Savior. They knew he had power to heal. They knew that they could find the relief and healing they needed to continue on with their lives.
In some of these cases, Jesus Christ charged the people to tell others about their miraculous healing, and in other cases he told them NOT to tell anyone. Why would He do that? It depended on whether the miracle would help or hinder His teaching. People flock to miraculous healing and want to know how it’s done so that maybe they or their loved ones can benefit from a similar miracle. Some instances made it impossible for him to come into cities and teach; it hindered His teaching. The purpose of healing those who believed was to bring them closer to God. His willingness to heal the temporal infirmities of those who had faith was a type and shadow of God’s ability and willingness to heal our spiritual infirmities and “diseases” if we will have faith in Christ. In addition to seeking temporal, physical healing, we should also be seeking spiritual healing. Our focus should be on the healing miracle of salvation and not just relief from temporal discomfort and pain.
Being ill or injured or unable to do the things you once were able to do can by extremely trying, scary, frustrating, and discouraging. But those times can also be opportunities to draw closer to God. Because we are limited in what we can do, it frees up more time to draw closer to God. Being sick or afflicted often brings us back to examine our lives and take a good, hard look at what is most important in our lives. These times can also give us frequent or constant reminders to pray to God because we aren’t as distracted as much by the cares of the world or because we realize that we need strength beyond what we are currently have.
Whenever we are facing trials, tribulation, sickness, injury, depression, anxiety, or whatever it may be, we NEED to have faith in God. Ether 12:12 states, “If there be no faith among the children of men, God can do no miracle among them.” You have to believe that life CAN be better. You have to believe that you CAN be healed and are WORTHY to be healed. You are a child of God, and He cares DEEPLY about you. He wants you to be happy. He wants you to become what He knows you can become, which is often far greater than what we think we can be on our own. He gives us and allows trials to help us learn and grow, stretch and expand.
Being sick is uncomfortable. I hate being sick. I hate being injured. I hate being unable to do the things I can normally do. Those who know me know that I try very hard to care for my health. I take it seriously because I know that I am much more capable of doing the Lord’s work and raising my children when I feel good. I don’t expect miraculous health from the Lord if I am not doing my part on a consistent basis. And following the Word of Wisdom, especially focusing on all the “DO’s” and not giving fad diets too much credence, has allowed me to stay pretty healthy. However, I have also faced set-backs.
I remember very distinctly several years ago when I dealt with a chronic staph infection which hit me particularly hard after running a marathon. Over the next 13 months, in addition to that staph infection, I dealt with shingles, debilitating fatigue, multiple painful and nasty ear infections, and more. It was a seriously stressful time for both myself and my family as I struggled to homeschool my oldest child and care for two small toddlers. I met with multiple doctors, each with a different opinion of what I should do. In addition, I researched. A lot. I tried pretty much everything.
I also spent a lot of time begging God to heal me. Immediately. I was doing everything I could on my side and knew I could be healed. I had 2 priesthood blessings. Although neither of them pronounced me whole and completely healed, I was blessed with peace and an assurance that the Lord knew me. He was mindful of me and knew what I was going through. I was told to be patient, keep trusting, and to keep working through it. Sometimes my patience grew thin, and sometimes I wondered if I would ever feel normal again. But my faith in God’s ability to heal me never wavered. I felt guided in learning how to heal myself and in choosing which protocols to follow. Eventually, over a year later, I was back to feeling almost normal again. I do not ever wish to repeat that experience. But the knowledge and compassion I gained during that time are invaluable. I have used so much of what I have learned to help others, and it has given me compassion and empathy for others who struggle with their health.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks said in his 2010 General Conference talk, Healing the Sick, “We must always remember that faith and the healing power of the priesthood cannot produce a result contrary to the will of God.”
D&C 42:48 says, “He that hath faith in me to be healed, and is not appointed unto death, shall be healed. “
We do all we can for our own healing or the healing of a loved one, and then we trust in the Lord for the outcome.
In Mark 4:37-40, we read the account of Christ and his disciples on a ship in the midst of the sea during a storm. Christ was asleep and everyone else was afraid they would die, and rightfully so, since the waves were crashing over the deck. They woke the Savior and essentially said, “Master, don’t you care that we’re going to die?” Jesus awoke, rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, “Peace, be still.”
I promise that as we demonstrate faith and turn to the Savior during times of trial, whether it be physical or emotional, short-term or long-term, that He will rebuke the “wind and the sea” in our lives. We may experience immediate relief. Or we may be given a calm assurance that “this too will pass.” Or maybe it won’t pass, but that all these things will give us experience and be for our good. Our ways are not always God’s ways. Our thoughts are not always God’s thoughts. But as we seek to understand God’s will and purpose, we will be strengthened in the very storms that seem to threaten our destruction and way of life. In addition to physical or emotional healing, let us also seek for spiritual healing and the greater lesson.
I know that God lives. I know that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, the Savior of all mankind. I know that they have a plan for each of us. And I know that we can be healed, both physically and spiritually, and allowed to fulfill that plan as we exercise faith, take an eternal perspective and turn to them in our times of need. I know that our faith CAN make us whole. Undamaged. Unbroken. Complete.