Special to 0-A News
from Walter Albritton
for Sunday, Oct. 3, 1999

Lord, I'm tired of being sick all the time

Life is filled with many mysteries. One that intrigues has to do with sickness, and the issue of praying for the sick. What can we expect of God when we offer prayers for the healing of those who are sick?

Some people are reluctant to pray for healing. They say, "God knows I am sick; if he wants me well, then he will heal me."

Others say, "There are some things God will do only in answer to prayer, so we should ask him in earnest prayer to heal those who are sick." The implication is that unless we pray, then the sick person will remain sick or die.

When I was six years old I almost died with scarlet fever. My parents told me years later that they prayed all night for God to save me. One doctor gave up on me. Another doctor tried a new drug and I recovered. Did the medicine save me or did God heal me? Or did God guide the second doctor to know what drug would save my life?

In her mid-thirties my wife had major surgery. Her recovery was not certain. The doctor said to me, "Your wife is a very sick woman." I prayed for her healing.

A few days later my wife's countenance suddenly changed. She appeared radiantly healthy and was soon discharged from the hospital. Her doctor seemed surprised.

Weeks later she shared with me a remarkable experience. Alone in her hospital room she realized that she was quite ill. For more than 10 years, since childhood, she had lived a very sickly life. Quietly she began to pray for health and strength so she could go home and tend to her children. She prayed, "Lord, I'm tired of being sick all the time."

That afternoon the weather was hot and muggy; the window in her room had been raised slightly to let in some fresh air. As she prayed, her eyes closed more from fatigue than reverence, she suddenly felt the presence of someone in the room. Opening her eyes she was surprised to see no one there, yet the sense of someone present remained.

Moments later she was aware of a gentle breeze flowing across her bed. The cooling air seemed so refreshing, as though her whole body was being invigorated. It felt so good, she said, "it was as though someone had tenderly wiped my brow with a cool washcloth."

She closed her eyes again in prayer, confident now that there was someone with her, someone whose presence gave her a deep sense of peace.

Telling me about this experience later, she said that for several minutes the cooling breeze and the calming presence remained in the room. Then as quickly as it had come, it was gone.

But she felt different. For the first time in weeks she felt good. She knew that she was well, physically and spiritually. She believed that her health had been restored and there was now a quiet peace in her spirit. She knew beyond any doubt that she had been visited by God himself.

Later that day her doctor, quite surprised and pleased by her sudden healthy radiance, informed her that she could go home the next day.

As you reflect on this experience of one woman, what questions come to mind? Was this a dream? Was she confused by medication? Would she have recovered any way, whether or not she had felt the breeze and the presence? Or perhaps, why did God heal her and allow others to die in that very same hospital?

I have no pat answers to all these questions. I have more questions than I have answers. But I can tell you that I had been her husband for years while my wife endured continual sickness.

All of our married life she had been a very sickly person.

I can also tell you that I have been her husband since the day of her hospital "visitation," and for more than 30 years she has enjoyed amazingly good health.

After all these years, can we explain what happened? No, but we still believe that sometimes God heals the sick in answer to prayer. And sometimes he does not. Why some and not others, we do not know.

Mysteries remain. But that does not stop us from celebrating the good things that happen when Someone enters our lives like a gentle breeze on a hot and muggy day.