By: Cynthia Butler
Jackie had looked an enemy in the eye before. She had heard rockets whizzing past while under attack. She had seen God deliver her from combat. But this foe was different. This foe was inside of her, and it didn’t show its face. Test after test had been performed to diagnose it. They were no help at all. They only added to the confusion. But some part of Jackie already knew this battle had been won. Perhaps God did not want there to be a human answer because she needed to find out that He was the only solution.
When the migraines first started, Jackie blamed them on stress. She had been working long hours out of town on a complicated job, missing so much of her girls’ lives. It was no wonder that this lifestyle was starting to take its toll. But these were no ordinary headaches. The pain was overwhelming; as if someone was stabbing her behind the eyes. She tried to cure herself with dietary changes, but she got worse rather than better. She visited a dentist and an optometrist, but they found nothing wrong with her eyes or teeth. When she finally went to the VA hospital, the medical staff only added to her frustrations. There was no doctor that seemed to know what they were doing and no medicine that could help her. It became more and more evident that God was the only one she could trust. Prayer became a way of life; a means of survival. She had to rely on the Lord just to make it to work each day. Her vision was so blurry that driving to a power plant, climbing up a reactor- all the things that were a normal part of her job- were a challenge. She had to place her life in God’s hands on a daily basis. It was this state of spiritual dependence that prepared her for the news she would receive.
A CAT scan had revealed a malformation in Jackie’s brain. Swollen gray matter was pressing against the cranium and trapping spinal fluid. What was causing the brain to be enlarged, though, was still a mystery. It could be nothing, in which case Jackie’s brain was inexplicably larger than her cranium and she would have to have part of her skull removed. On the other hand, if there was a cancerous growth, her life could be in danger. The best-case scenario was that it would be a benign tumor that could be eliminated without any damage. Regardless, she’d have to endure brain surgery.
Jackie was not eager to go under the knife, and she hoped that whatever the doctors found wasn’t life-threatening. But somehow she was at peace with whatever was to come, even if her days on earth were numbered. God was in control.
Not many people knew about Jackie’s condition, but her family and church friends who did know were fervently praying for her. The day after Jackie’s MRI she would receive an answer that would surprise everyone. The malformation had inexplicably disappeared. The doctors couldn’t make sense of it. The fluid was gone and her blood was back to normal. Everything was changed.
Jackie soaked in the news. Was the ordeal really over? It sounded like a miracle. The only problem was that she was still having headaches just as before. She didn’t understand. Confused, Jackie told her pastor about the issue hoping he might have an answer. He had been praying with her from the beginning, and he knew the whole story. He had rejoiced with her after the doctors’ latest report. Was there something she was missing? Looking her in the eyes he asked her, “Do you believe that God heals people?” “Yes, of course,” she answered without hesitation. “Do you believe that God would heal you?’ He continued. “Well, I don’t deserve it,” she admitted, “but I believe that He would do that for me.” “It sounds to me like maybe you just need to claim it,” He concluded. His words rang true in her spirit. She could see the fingerprints of God on her life. Even the doctors were perplexed at her spontaneous recovery. So Jackie put her hand up and proclaimed, “In the name of Jesus Christ I accept this healing.” Jackie’s affirmation was all it took to seal her cure. In that moment, the pain went away.
Now Jackie has a defense against even invisible enemies: “the shield of faith” (Eph. 6:16). God never promised her that she would not come under attack. But He did say, “no weapon forged against you will prevail. . . This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me.” (Isaiah 54:17) From time to time a headache will tempt Jackie to doubt the healing she received from God. But she knows that this is just a tactic of Satan. So she reminds the devil, “I’m a child of God, and God has given me this healing. You can’t take it away.” As before, the pain subsides, once again confirming her faith.
Jackie doesn’t wonder why she had to go through such distress. It was during this time that she learned what it really meant to live- to be “thankful in all circumstances” (1 Thess. 5:18). That was something no human could have showed her.