I've been praying for the sick on and off (mostly on!) for the past 12 years. During that time I've had some AMAZING highs. I've seen God heal multiple back, knee and shoulder conditions; I've seen two couples have children who were having difficulty conceiving; people's necks have been healed as their vertebrae have literally moved back into place; legs have grown and migraine's have gone. As I reflect on what God has done I am totally overwhelmed.
I've also experienced COUNTLESS lows. Many of the people I've prayed for have not been healed; a good friend of mine just recently died of cancer even though we were contending for her healing; but perhaps the most difficult lows for me have been my own experiences of sickness that haven't been healed.
In Januray of 2007 I had to have a major operation to remove a large cyst from one of my ovaries. It was at risk of being cancerous and I had to consent to the surgeons giving me a hysterectomy if they deemed it necessary during the surgery. I was desperate for God to break in and heal me miraculously without needing the operation, but He didn't. I'm incredibly grateful to Him that the cyst turned out not to be cancerous and that I am still able to have children, but the trauma of going thorough the surgery and recovery has had a lasting impact on me in many ways.
I was at a conference last week where Bill Johnson (a guy I respect massively in the area of seeing breakthrough in healing) spoke for about 10 minutes during one of his teaching sessions on how he personally deals with disappointment. It was so incredibly helpful to hear and so releasing to realise that he experiences disappointments too. His own dad died of cancer - a condition they see healed regularly at their church in Redding California - so he knows what he's talking about. Here's what he said about how to work through disappointment:
1) Be brutally honest with God about how you're feeling. This may take several hours or days. Never accuse God, but tell Him how your circumstance makes you feel.
2) Go the the Psalms. Read them through until you hear your own voice in them, then camp there; reading it through and declaring it to God.
3) Hold your pain as close to you as you can and then from that place start to praise God and declare His goodness. As you give this offering of praise and thanks (something you'll never be able to do once you're in heaven where there will be no more pain) He will draw near
4) Give up the right to know why? The only way to get peace that passes understanding is to give up the right to understand.
5) Don't go introspective or take on any kind of guilt or shame. No-one ever comes out of times of introspection in a better place - it just doesn't help. Trust God to bring up anything that needs to be worked through in your life. Assume all is good unless God says otherwise.
I spent Saturday night working through the disappointment I was still carrying to do with my operation and it was so incredibly helpful. I can definitely feel God closer now than I did before and I feel like I'm able to trust Him more. Someone once said that the biggest barrier to God breaking in to the UK is undealt with disappointment. I hope that what Bill suggests and what I've now experienced will help those of you reading to work through any barriers of disappointment you're carrying in your own life so that God can do all that He longs to do in you and through you. Let me know how you get on!