While many frequent clubs and other places of interest, many warriors frequent hospital. There is a kind of a love – hate affair between us and hospitals. So we are always certainly around a hospital premises no matter how much we try to avoid it. Be it when we are down or just for the normal routine checks, I personally am yet to have a year I can proclaim my hospital free year.
And so, because of these frequent hospital trips, I have had a lot of questions about faith or the lack of being sent my way. I have had to constantly deal with people who feel my frequent hospital trips stem from a complete lack of faith.
And that has always kept me wondering. How do we measure faith or a lack of?
In an era where many are embracing atheism and questioning the existence of God, many more are embracing the prosperity and no sickness kind of gospel. To this group of people, just the mention of sickness and the hospital sounds so alien that you ask yourself if you suddenly committed a faux pas to even talk about being sick. According to my understanding of this school of thought, based on personal encounter with those who hold this view, it is just an abomination for a worshipper of God, whoever they may perceive him to be, to be sick.
Sometime ago, I had a debate with a well meaning person who felt my frequent sickness could be because my faith was weak. I have had people ask me if I pray hard enough and if I have ever had prayer warriors pray for me. Well, na here ah di ever scratch my head prayer warrior na who again nor? The response to this question has been varied but one recurrent one is ‘someone who prays a lot’ and I had to wonder what the definition of praying a lot is? How can someone just up and feel I don’t pray enough simply because I go to the hospital? Even when I feel so overwhelmed that my thoughts and words confuse me because they sound gibberish to me, I know my God Jehovah listens because he knows and understands my worries and what I am trying to say always. These frequent questions about my faith or a lack of made me dig up a post I wrote once which I decided to share here…
Is Being Sick A Lack Of Faith?
“By his stripes you are healed”.
I can’t count the number of times I have heard these words from well meaning people over the years. In fact, a discussion today sparked this reflective mode.
Different people understand these words differently. To some, it means zero sickness. If you are sick, you probably do not have enough faith in his stripes… When people tell me ‘by his stripes you are healed’ and insists on saying only believe and all will be fine, it has often made me wonder if sickness is a result of a lack of faith?
Sometimes, we fall sick because our body is telling us ‘ I need a break’. We do well to heed those warning signs and take a break. Other times, we get sick because we ‘inherited’ a defective gene which makes us sick now and again.
It is a good thing to have a positive mind set because it helps keep a lot of negativity away. But it is a fallacy to think because you believe, you can never be sick.
Sickness is not a lack of faith neither is it punishment from God for some unknown sin. So what do I understand by these words? A lot but I will keep it simple here.
To those who believe, being healed by his stripes means a lot of things whichever way you look at it. In a simple way to me, it means opening possibilities. These possibilities include the ability to look beyond the present and see a future free from what we experience today, a future free from pain and all which make life miserable… I call that Faith.
Miracles do exist and I do believe in miracles because I serve a living God and I see evidence of his power around me daily. I don’t mean the preacher man kind of miracles I mean simple situations that happen in my life daily.
Beinghealed by his stripes means I have reason to hope and trust that my God will be ever watchful, giving me the strength to fight on, making sure the countless medicines produce the desired results and helping me escape the side effects.
Being healed by his stripes doesn’t rule out doctors or hospitals or medicines. I have seen many die because they were told these words by their pastors and many discarded their medicines preferring their pastors and prayers over medicines and doctors; only to be rushed to the hospital at the last minute, expecting doctors to perform miracles in which case, they are called incompetent when a patient dies.
Prayers backed by faith works. Faith moves you to seek solutions to your problems, confident that God will bless your efforts.
Being healed by his stripes is that assurance which stirs our ship through the turbulent waters in the battle for survival and gives us reason to still smile and find joy. It is what keeps… according to the words of a sister Frisha Gold Ngu… #faithablaze!
My being sick doesn’t measure my faith or lack of. And my being healed by his stripes doesn’t rule out the fact that as long as I live, Drs and medicines will remain my loyal companions BUT it assures me of divine grace and gives me Two things I need in my fight for survival FAITH and HOPE.
And that quiet assurance that I remain precious to my God.
I am yet to meet a sickle cell warrior who doesn’t believe in God. Maybe there are some out there I don’t know but none in my acquaintance claims atheism. The reason is simple… In this quiet battle for survival, we know we cannot fight it alone and in addition to the love and support we get from family and friends, God remains our surest anchor during those dark stormy clouds of pains, injections, you name it. It is hard dealing with stigma and discrimination because of a lack of knowledge about what we face as warriors. It is harder when, because of this fight and the hospital trips and all, your need is interpreted as a huge deficiency in the faith department.
Keep reading, keep sharing and keep commenting. We are inspired by your comments, thank you.
ARREY E. AGBOR-NDAKAW.