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Chronic Illness - Chronic Pain Articles

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When the Prayers About Our Chronic Illness Aren't Answered

By Roy White

A thirty-nine-year-old man who has lived for over ten years with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome shares how he has hung on to Christ, through pain and unanswered prayers… and why.

Pray for what? For healing? I have prayed fervently for healing for nine years - NINE YEARS… Long, agonizing prayer times. Begging... weeping... arguing... listing all the obvious, good reasons why I should be healed. "My kids need me etc." Good reasons...

I am sitting completely desolate and empty before the Lord, completely bewildered by His silence in this area, by His refusal to heal me. I go to church and listen to someone stand up and gush, "I had a cold this morning and I prayed and God healed me, He is so good." I feel beaten down even more by these words of God's apparent fickle nature. Does He heal those around me of these tiny little problems they have just to torment my mind even more? Just to, like a power mad dictator, lift up the curtain and show a starving man a steak and lobster dinner, only to laugh and slam the door in his face?


"Is anyone among you suffering? Let Him Pray," says the book of James, and yet at times prayer seems like the very last thing I want to do. Why should I pray? Why should I serve Him? He does nothing for me. He does not step in to help. With the smallest gesture of His mind He could bring health to me. An omnipotent God does not have, 'a limited supply' of power. It would cost Him nothing to heal me. I am the smallest of all problems before Him. My illness is not a mystery to the 'Great Physician.' And yet, my judge stands, looking, watching, with inner help only, waiting to see if I will stand or fall.

Jesus said, "The kingdom of heaven is within you." I never try to pray 'upwardly' to the Father. I find the door to my own heart and discover that this is the door to the kingdom of Heaven. It is on the inside of my being that I discover His presence... It is forever true that He sits high and enthroned far above my reach in heaven. He is the Alpha and Omega. The beginning and the end.

John chapter one says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the word was God... And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld his glory full of grace and truth." Jesus the almighty God has his own way with this world, yet He dwells deep in your soul far beyond your minds reach.

To connect with him takes patience and faith. Every day I FEEL as if my faith is draining out of me. It's like I have a huge vent in my soul and, like a lake through a ruined dam, my faith just rushes out and rushes out and rushes out. I deal with a fairly constant fear that one day I will be all dried up like a wineskin in the smoke, shriveled and weary... done... finished... no more faith left and all that will be for me is bitterness, faithlessness and anger over my suffering. Yet every day for ten years I've experienced the miracle of more faith, more water flowing through the unhealed pain and sorrow in my life.

And I know that this flood of life from God will never stop!

The book of Acts says, "Through many tribulations we must enter into the kingdom of God." These pangs of childbirth you and I feel are normal and an every day occurrence for God's people. Don't be afraid. Don't be dismayed. He will never dry up. God will never stop supplying us with the glory of his own self. The infinite Jesus, whom the book of Colossians says "By him all things were created whether thrones or dominions or principalities and powers... He is before all things and in him all things consist..." What a mighty Savior He is! I give him Glory! Will certainly supply you with a faith so you can conquer. Even if it doesn't feel like it!

My pain is huge...

It's as simple as that. I so want to be done. Yet, to live is Christ and so I go on bending all the way to the ground in worship like a tree before a hurricane. If the wind continues to rip the leaves of comfort and pleasure from the branches of my life I know those torn leaves will dance wildly in the sky, whirling, circling in the wind to praise Him. I will remain bowed and bare but still loving Him with all that I am.

If you feel this way be sure to read When You're Tempted to Speed Up the Trip to Heaven.

My existence after all is an option for God. I am His poem (see Eph. chapter two, "We are his workmanship." The original Greek literally reads 'poema.') and if He stops speaking me even for a moment I will simply cease to be. Somehow I've discovered a place, a lonely solid rock deep in my heart that Jesus keeps above the waves. It doesn't take a single ounce away from my experience of pain. Oh I'd give everything I own to be out of this.

But through the word of God I have been discovering that my mind can be healed from panic, and fear, and despair. And I'll tell you, I've had my share of hopelessness. Believe me. My heart goes out to you as you suffer. I feel the spirit of intercession landing on me for you.

Oh precious Jesus, reveal your face to anyone reading this in his or her desperation and fear and agony. Let your life and glory rise up within them in order to staunch the hopelessness and despair... Let them catch a glimpse of the sufficiency of your word to heal their minds and then give them the tenacity and faith to steep their minds in your word like a tea bag left in the water for hours until the water of their heart is the very color of the heart of Jesus...

I am sighing in my soul for you.

I believe that in this path there are only two choices, only two possible outcomes: bitterness and despair, leading to near or true insanity. Or, a deep Christian connection with Jesus that will release One-ness with God. This One-ness will release amazing ministry in the lives of others.

I was praying today and the Spirit, the wonderful Third Person of the inscrutable Trinity of God began showing me how much He loves me... "If you love me so much," I replied in my spirit and in the bitterness of pain, "Why wont you heal me?"

Gently in my inner being He replied... "It is because I love so many others so much and I want to reveal my heart to them like I have done in you... I want them to learn from your journey with me so that they can connect with me in their hearts. I'm waiting deep within them, waiting for them to descend into their own inner beings so that they can receive much needed rest for their minds and souls... I do not break the bent reed... I do not snuff out the smoking wick..."

Much of what I suffer is for your sake and for others like you... God laid it upon me to write for you. Maybe he is speaking through me, maybe not. I've been strangled by suffering for almost ten years now. Every day the monotony of pain, yet pain never really is monotonous is it? It always engages my attention completely.

Give it time. I don't mean to come off like I have arrived, as though I am the guru dispensing gems. I'm just a "beggar" trying to point the way to others whose hungry cry I feel all the way through my bones in empathetic shared suffering. It's true I don't know you, but I do understand your pain-- I really do.

My one desire is to point to the meat that will sustain you until you finally arrive in the glory of light and receive that new body, that temple, instead of this failing tent we live in now. Alas, so pray…

I have discovered that the reason He calls us to pray, is for the prayer itself. For the privilege and rare joining of my soul and His. For the simple blessing and joy of communion itself.


Roy White lives in Oregon with his three boys, ages 12, 13, & 14 and his beautifully supportive and loving wife who has honored her wedding vows (in sickness and in health) far more than she could ever have foreseen. "Through the fire and despair of illness and pain," shares Roy, "I have learned that God is more present to me than pain, more present to me than food or drink, more present and loving and precious to me than anything this earth could ever hold including perfect health itself. In the midst of the trials and tribulations God is teaching me more than I thought I could ever learn."

Reprinted from ...And He Will Give You Rest
monthly support newsletter, Volume 5, Issue 1. ©

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