Has God ever given you a disguised blessing?
I received an unwanted “gift” from God recently. The blessing in disguise came in direct response to my own prayers, but I didn’t recognize the blessing.
Probably because I ended up in urgent care.
I wrote about my miraculous healing testimony in a previous Mid-Week Miracle titled, Remembering the Good Things. Before God healed me that Sunday morning, I had suffered for several years from two chronic diseases. One of them caused similar symptoms to a common, easily treated infection. Whenever that disease flared up, my specialist would order a routine test to rule out an infection. He always ruled it out.
A couple weeks ago, I became convinced that God had reneged on my healing. For several days, I ignored the symptoms and refused to accept the lies Satan sent to plague me. Voices in my head whispered incessantly that God hadn’t healed me. That I’d only been in remission. That I’d been foolish to credit God when he hadn’t performed a miracle after all. That I’d better get used to suffering like this again.
As the days passed and the pain increased, I began believing the lies. My body screamed that something was wrong. I wondered if my former specialist still practiced medicine after all these years.
I retreated to my prayer chair and cried out to God. “I thought you healed me! What’s going on?”
In my spirit, I heard three words in response. Before I tell you those three words, I need to describe the tone of the voice in my head. It sounded quite different from the critical voice that had been berating me for believing I’d been healed.
Instead, this voice intoned what you might hear from a loving father who is shaking his head, sighing incredulously, and maybe even rolling his eyes.
The three words my loving Father God spoke immediately soothed my fears and canceled my doubts.
“It’s an infection.”
“I have an infection?” Now it was my turn to sound incredulous. Then I burst out laughing. “Oh, for heaven’s sakes.” I stood up and headed for my purse. “I guess I’d better get over to urgent care for an antibiotic, then.”
The shelf behind the check-in counter at the nearby urgent care facility held a plaque with a Bible verse printed on it. I don’t remember which verse it was, but I do remember that seeing it prompted me to repeat a prayer I’d been lifting up to God for at least a couple of weeks. “Lord, use me to spread the good news of your salvation and grace. This world is growing darker and I want to help make it brighter.”
I wasn’t sure how to shine the light exactly, but felt an urgency to do something. I told my family that I was tempted to head over to the outdoor mall and approach total strangers to ask if they knew Jesus or if they needed prayer. My children were legitimately concerned I’d end up looking like a crazy lady on someone’s viral social media feed.
As I moved from the waiting room to the exam room, my thoughts latched onto something I’d learned the previous week during a lunch meeting I’d set up with an old friend who was involved in prayer ministry. When I told her my crazy idea to approach random people at the outdoor mall and ask if I could pray with them, my friend did not try to dissuade me like my children had. Instead, she told me that a man from my church had actually rented booth space at the weekly farmer’s market at that mall and regularly set up a prayer tent there. She suggested I reach out to him to see if I could volunteer to serve alongside him in the tent.
“That’s right!” I told God as I waited in the urgent care exam room. “I’d planned on going to farmer’s market this week to speak with that man about volunteering, but instead I’ve been writhing in pain at home. Why didn’t you heal me from this infection? Why did I have to waste my time coming to see a doctor?”
Just then, the answer walked in the door.
The doctor who came in to confirm my diagnosis and prescribe my antibiotic started to introduce himself. But I already knew who he was.
“I knew you were a doctor, but I didn’t know you worked at this urgent care,” I said to the man from my church who hosted the prayer tent. “I’ve been wanting to speak with you about serving as a volunteer.”
That’s when I learned he hadn’t been at the farmer’s market for the past several weeks because of the hot weather. “As soon as the temperatures drop back into the 90s or lower, we’ll be out there again,” he said.
The doctor wrapped up the exam and sent me on my way with a prescription. As I walked to my car holding the little piece of paper scrawled with the praying doctor’s handwriting, I smiled up at heaven.
“You really do work in mysterious ways, God.”
I wish I hadn’t allowed the enemy to lie to me about my Father’s goodness. Sometimes the blessings God gives us are in disguise, but the gifts he gives—even the unwanted ones—are always good for us.