Editor’s note: Today’s blog is written by Kurt Pflegl, a recent graduate of Journey Spiritual Direction 2. Kurt is the pastor of Elevate Church in San Luis Obispo, CA. We invite you to join him on his journey with Jesus living with a neurological disorder.
I struggle with a disease called Inclusion Body Myositis. It’s a neurological disorder which attacks and deteriorates the muscles in my legs, arms and throat.
I’m surrounded by people who care for me and often ask if they can pray for my healing. I’m always happy to have them pray for me. Yet I often notice that as they pray, they focus only on my physical healing. And it seems they expect God to manifest the fullness of that healing all at once. When it doesn’t happen immediately, they seem disappointed either with me or themselves, or both.
Recently, I felt the Spirit leading me to meditate on this constant occurrence. As I meditated, I journaled the following:
“If we focus only on praying for people’s physical healing with an expectation of immediate results, doesn’t this seem to be more in line with the world’s mindset? Does our post enlightenment culture primarily pursue the physical in order to fulfill its desire for immediate gratification?
Yet Jesus talked about eternal life as knowing God and loving Him with our whole being: heart (spirit-will), mind and strength (body), and soul (our whole integrated self). This is the fullness of healing God offers to those of us who willingly join His kingdom. How does this kingdom reveal itself in our lives? How many stories does Jesus tell of its coming via agricultural terms? Growing life in the soil of the earth takes time. So does developing life in the soil of my soul.
If I have received no other gift in my struggle with Inclusion Body Myositis, this one is enough – “the gift of slow.” Just a few years ago, I was a bundle of energy and could get so much done. I was always rushing around, busy doing things I thought were important. And some may have been.
As I have grown physically weaker, I’ve been forced to slow down to carefully watch every step I take, lest I lose my balance and fall. As I’ve slowed down physically, I’ve also found myself paying more attention to what’s happening around me and inside me. I’ve given God the opportunities to reveal painful wounds in my heart and mind which have festered over the years and become diseased.
Surprisingly, my physical disease has become a scalpel in the hands of our loving God. He is using it to cut out other diseases, ones hidden and unnoticed deep inside my mind and heart.
Will God allow this disease to remain as a scalpel across the entirety of my life? Only He knows. But I am content in the process, trusting in His best for me like never before.
What about people’s prayers for me? I believe God works powerfully through each one to produce life from the soil of my soul, in His time.”
So let’s trust His timing as we pray for each other’s healing. It will help us fight against disappointment and condemnation, either in regard to our faith or the person for whom we pray. Let us together receive “the gift of slow” God offers, allowing Him to do His work in His timing. There’s great power in it for our whole being.