Is anyone among you sick? He should summon the presbyters of the Church, and they should pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up. // James 5:14-15
The first time I received the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, I was huddled in a confessional, my face awash with tears as I prepared mentally and spiritually for a serious surgery. The second time I received it, I stood in the back of the church, trying to drink in the grace as another surgery for the same condition loomed on the calendar. The third time I was anointed, I stood in a wind-whipped parking lot with a tender, pastoral priest who was praying for a different years-long sickness that stubbornly persisted.
In this constant suffering, the questions grew heavy: Am I lacking faith, God? Doing something wrong? Am I asking too much? Not enough?
Why haven’t You healed me?
Through years of tears and wrestling with these questions, God led me to a small but powerful seed of His truth: while the fullness of suffering is always a mystery, God is, in fact, always offering His healing when we ask.
It just often looks different than we expect.
In every instance of anointing I received, I had begged God for physical healing, yet undervalued the deep and lasting grace of soul-healing that He continued to offer.
Our God wants nothing more than to heal us from the inside out—permanently, not temporarily. God seeks our salvation and understands that creature comforts that can’t save. He doesn’t discount our bodies, but also knows what we so readily dismiss: the eternal importance of our souls.
Our bodies don’t need to be free of infirmity to get into Heaven—but our souls do.
As our Scripture today reminds us, the prayer of faith is meant to save the sick person—not just on earth, but forever. While we hyper-focus on the health and comfort of our bodies, often at the expense of our souls, God sees the sickness of our souls and prioritizes the kind of health and healing that leads to eternal life.
What temporal healing are you longing for? What deeper healing might God be inviting you to? Ask Him for the grace to receive it today.God is always offering His healing. // Megan Hjelmstad Click To Tweet