With my osteoporosis diagnosis a few weeks ago, I was caught off-guard, sending me into a few days of unbalance and confusion. I absorbed this news about myself, confronting the ways my body appeared to be failing me, while contemplating what this meant to me in terms of my immediate future and the rest of my life. Would this be just a hiccup in my path, or would it constitute something that would affect my quality of life and my activity level moving forward? I didn’t know, and it took a little time for me to come to terms with what was happening to me. As I had done when I had cancer 17 years ago, I was eager to confront this invader and take action to eradicate the problem from my body.
As a Christian and a religious person, my first instinct was to pray. But what should I pray for? What role did God play in this new aspect of my life? I didn’t know for sure. I recalled stories of Jesus healing the leper and the blind man, and even raising Lazarus from the dead. But what did all of this have to do with me and my bones losing their density? How should I pray about this? What would I ask God to do on my behalf?
I received my answer from several avenues. One very loud voice actually came from a friend of mine. Soon after I found out about my bone problems, I was texting with a fellow writer, an extremely fundamental Christian, a speaking-in-tongues and hallelujah-shouting kind of guy. He tried for several months to get me to go to a worship services at his church, and I always found an excuse not to go. It’s not that I am judgmental about his style of worship – it’s just not my preferred way. I am more traditional in how I like to worship, complete with organ music, lovely choir anthems, classical music, and quiet and reverent prayers. Thankfully, he stopped inviting me. I guess he knew my answer wasn’t going to change. At any rate, during our text messaging, which was primarily concerning a children’s book I have written, I told him about the osteoporosis and my concerns regarding my health, and enlisted his prayers.
Upon my request, he jumped at the opportunity to get me to see the light as he saw it. Instead of telling me yes, he would pray for me, he immediately went into full gear, wanting me to go with him to a healing service at his church and telling me all about how wonderful his preacher was and how he had witnessed a number of healings at the hands of this man. I responded that at this time what I wanted mostly was prayers. I thanked him – politely, I thought – and told him that prayer on my behalf was what I needed. He left me with the feeling that if I didn’t go to his healing service, there was something lacking in my faith in God. I haven’t heard back from him.
This caused me to tackle a new line of thought about my condition. I don’t consider osteoporosis to be an illness or disease such as cancer is. I definitely believe in God’s healing, and am looking for my bone density to stop deteriorating, and to instead grow stronger. I am sure that God could heal my bones and make them strong again, and I pray to God for guidance in following the right path for staying healthy.
An issue arises with me, however, about this whole matter. Bone density is determined by the way our bodies renew themselves through natural processes that are built into our DNA and accomplished by the fact that we are human organisms. My bone density has gotten into trouble because there has been something lacking in allowing this process do its job. I could ask God to heal me, and he might. But then, where would I be? If I don’t take care of my body through a nutritional diet, exercise to strengthen it, and a lifestyle to minimize stress, what good would the healing do? My bones still need daily nutrition to keep them healthy and strong. It’s not a one-time thing.
This is where I differ from my friend, I guess. I believe that God used me, my curiosity, my expertise in research methods, and my relationships with other people to begin learning how to heal my bones. I could have gone to a healing service at a church, have a minister lay hands on me and pray over me, which might have had excellent results. The same results either way, perhaps, but does one path prove my faith in God more than the other?
I have corrected some nutritional mistakes I have been making over the past few years, have begun paying closer attention to how much exercise I am getting on a daily basis, and have made an effort to reduce my stress level through prayer, reading, writing, and meditation. By keeping God in my life in all aspects, I believe that my body, and bones specifically, are healing.
I won’t know for a year if my bone density is improving, but I have faith that it is with each day that I live healthily. I believe that God’s hand is in this as much as He is in a church healing service.
I wish my friend could understand this.