- Who is Faith with Grit for?
In the United States, 6 out of every 10 people are living with some unhealed physical condition. We commonly call those chronic illnesses. Four out of every 10 people are living with more than one unhealed physical condition. For some people, those things might not be life-altering, perhaps requiring only a low-impact adjustment, and the person might not even think about the health issue because it hasn’t really taken too much from them. But there are many other people in that number whose lives have been turned upside down by not being healed. If they were to list the areas of their lives that have been deeply affected by being unhealed, the list would be pretty long. These are people for whom healing would produce a sea change in their lives, because not being healed has affected their lives so profoundly. If that’s you, I think this book is likely for you.
I also think that if you are the spouse or other family member of a person whose life has been deeply changed by some unhealed physical condition, this book may be helpful for you, too.
- At the very beginning of the book, you talk about a spiritual issue that causes so much pain for many unhealed people who are Christ-followers. What is that issue?
However we got it, many unhealed people have an idea that if we personally just have enough faith for own healing, that God will heal us. And so, when we ask God for our own healing, believing that he can do it, and then we are not healed, we get into a painful spot. The issue is, what do we do about the fact that things don’t appear to be unfolding the way we thought they were supposed to? We had an idea about how this was supposed to go, so when it doesn’t go that way, we have a problem. In that situation, some people cool off their relationship with God. Some people decide that it wasn’t God’s will to heal them. Some people decide that their own faith just must be defective, and they don’t know what to do about that. And there are many other possible routes that people take. Many of those routes may sound like answers, but they don’t sit well with us in the deepest parts of our hearts and spirits. They may leave us feeling like God doesn’t really love us too deeply, or that he doesn’t really care about our pain, or that he isn’t interested in helping us with whatever part of this deal is on us. A person can get stuck in a certain spot along one of these routes, and not see a truly good way forward for themselves and God.
- There is a lot of talk about Paul’s thorn in the flesh. In Faith with Grit, you come at that issue from some different angles. Why is that?
I once planted some barberry bushes in front of my house, because I liked their pretty red color, and I thought that they would be enjoyable to look at. In truth, barberry bushes have sliver-like thorns all over them, and every time I went to trim those bushes, even when I wore heavy leather gloves or double gloves, I would end up with at least some painful thorns in my fingers that would take their time coming out. They were so slender that it was nearly impossible to pluck them out. I would usually have to wait until the area around the thorn became swollen, and then soak the finger or thumb in Epsom salts to draw it out. The whole process usually took a couple of weeks, and the whole time, that thorn was irritating the nerve in the finger and causing pain. A tiny little thorn, in the flesh of my hand where it did not belong, caused a disproportionate amount of pain and suffering.
Whether Paul’s thorn was a physical condition or some other type of suffering in the flesh, it troubled him enough that he called it a “torment.”
Did God really want that? Was it God’s will for Paul to live with a disproportionate amount of pain and suffering until he died? What did God really want for Paul?
I think that we may have been so conditioned to think that it is God’s will for sick people to be sick until they are dead, that we forget that this is the same Paul who was given the gift of unusual miracles to heal people by just sending them handkerchiefs and aprons that he had touched (Acts 19:12). Well, which is it? Does God want to heal people? Or is it his will for them to continue to be sick and suffer until they die? And if he wants to heal people, then why didn’t he go ahead and heal Paul, and why doesn’t he go ahead and heal me or you?
In this book, I spend time looking into Paul’s situation and some others from various angles, because I think we have been too quick to decide what God was and wasn’t up to when Paul didn’t get healed. And I think it’s time we brought some of these ideas into the light because I believe God wants us to know that he wants to heal many more people than we are now seeing be healed, but he also wants us to understand that there is way more involved here than just his will to heal and the faith of the sick person. Way more.
- In Faith with Grit, you discuss the idea of how God uses sickness and suffering. If God is using sickness and suffering, are we working against him if we pray for healing for ourselves and other people? How do we know when he wants to heal and when he doesn’t?
If you read through the entire Bible, Old Testament and New Testament, and record every occasion in which God either talks about healing or actually heals someone, and record every occasion in which God talks about not healing someone or else clearly passes by an opportunity to heal someone, the results are pretty revealing. I think we can learn a lot about God’s nature and the way he wants to interact with people when it comes to healing by reading this book of what he has already done and already said on the topic.
In Faith with Grit, I look at what God has said and what he has done about healing, as recorded in the Bible, and I present it in such a way that if you haven’t yet had time to look at every case of healing or non-healing in the Bible, you can get a pretty good overview of what is in there. So—spoiler alert—God generally wants to heal people. There are obstacles to his will being done, some of which I discuss in Faith with Grit, so that people he would like to heal are not always healed as soon as he wants them to be. Now, what is he going to do when some obstacle gets in the way of his will of healing for a particular life? Is he just going to throw up his hands and say, Oh, well, I guess I can’t do anything with that life. No, of course not. He is God. He is going to make lemons out of lemonade. He is going to bring good out of bad, just as Romans 8:28 says he is doing.
So, no. We are not working against God if we are working and praying for the healing of someone he wants to heal, even though he may be making lemonade out of lemons in the interim when the person has not yet been healed.
And if you ever have a question of whether or not God wants to heal a particular person, just ask him. He can make it clear to you.
- It can be tough for people whose lives have been greatly disrupted by unhealed physical conditions to see a larger vision for their lives. But this book gets real about how our own problems don’t remove us from the Christian life. We are still called to love and serve others. Talk about that.
On your toughest day, when you can’t leave your house, and you may not have the physical ability to even take care of all of your own basic human needs, you may be very tempted to think that you have been sidelined from the Christian life. That there is no way you can be of service to others, no way that you can minister to another person or to love another person.
I am here to tell you that that is not true. Don’t buy the lie that you have been sidelined from the Christian life. Romans 11:29 says that God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable. Therefore, on your toughest day, when you cannot see any possible way that you could serve another human being, try this: Remind God that you are willing to serve today in any way he puts before you, and ask him to put a need before you that you can serve. And then do not be surprised when, before the day is over, he places just such a need before you, in a way that you—even as limited as your body or your resources may be—can meet it. And then do two things. Do the thing he has put before you, and thank him for working through you to show his love and compassion to another person.
- There are many other things that are real struggles for unhealed people, and you take a unique approach to those things in Faith with Grit. Talk about that.
Unhealed people are people. We have all the problems and issues that people in good health have, plus we have another set of problems that come with being unhealed. When unhealed people feel that someone sees them—really sees them, I think there can be a lot of balm in that. And if you feel that God really sees you—and cares, then there can be tremendous comfort and even a measure of healing in that.
I hope that as people read this book, they will know beyond the shadow of a doubt that God sees them and loves them, and that he is not done caring about them or working in their lives.
- When you sign this book, there is a Bible verse that you often write above your signature. What is that verse?
It’s Romans 15:13, and it is my prayer for every person who reads Faith with Grit:
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Faith with Grit for the Not-Yet Healed by AmyLu Riley is available now at Amazon.com and wherever books are sold online.