The Healing Question

The Healing Question

Psalm 16:8-11 (NIV)

I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”

I live in a constant dichotomy between yearning for Leah, wishing that she was here with me and knowing that where Leah is now, she is safe and loved to perfection by her Heavenly Father.

Recently the question of healing has come up several times in conversation with different people and I have been asked for my opinion.

I believe in divine healing and I believe that God still heals today. I also however believe that God is sovereign and that He alone decides who will be healed, not us.

There seems to be a huge emphasis on healing in some Christian circles these days. That’s great if you or your loved one receives healing, but what’s it like for those who move in these circles and who don’t receive healing for themselves or their nearest and dearest? Then, they not only have their illness or bereavement to contend with, they may also be left feeling like second class Christians, or worse still, like spiritual outcasts or rejects.

In 1985 a lovely friend of mine called Sandra was diagnosed with cancer. She was a pretty, popular girl, in her early twenties. A group of us immediately started getting together to pray for Sandra’s healing. Then, one young man announced that God “had given him a word” that Sandra was going to be healed. There was much excitement and rejoicing.

Except for me.

I felt like the odd one out.

I was so uneasy and uncomfortable.

How could I speak up?

How could I say what I really thought?

They would think I had very little faith.

They might even think I wasn’t a proper Christian.

Eventually I could stay quiet no longer.

I addressed the young man in question and I nervously said, “Has God really told you that Sandra is going to be healed, or can you just not believe in a God who would let Sandra die?


Sadly my question was partially answered on the 12th August 1985 when Sandra went to be with her Heavenly Father, four months after receiving her diagnosis.

Before Sandra died, I visited her in hospital. I went in the hope of being a blessing, but I was the one who came away blessed. Sandra was weak and ill, but she just radiated peace and joy. The presence of God in her hospital room was almost tangible.

Why do some Christians become so fixated on healing as being the only possible option for their loved one?

Is it due in part to their inability to believe in a God who would let their loved one die?

Yet, for the believer, death is not the end, it’s a new beginning.

Yes the pain of missing Leah is awful.

Yes I cry every day.

I grieve for the fact that she wasn’t here to collect her Girl’s Brigade Queen’s Award recently.

I grieve that she isn’t right now sitting her AS exams.

I grieve that she isn’t heading off on an Exodus Team this Summer.

I will continue to grieve for every age and stage of development that we don’t get to experience with Leah.


Yet, I know that Leah is safe, I know that she is loved beyond my comprehension.

The Bible says that as believers, we need not grieve as those who have no hope. (1 Thessalonians 4:13 )

I don’t grieve as those who have no hope.

I do have hope, but it still hurts.

Every day it hurts, really, really badly.

I’m learning not to fear pain, I’m learning to live with pain.

I’m also learning that He is sufficient for my every need.


Christmas Greetings

Christmas Greetings

Every year for as long as I can remember, I used to write a “round robin” Christmas letter. Mine was not your typical “we’re all living happily ever after” kind of letter though – I always tended to write a “warts and all” version.

So much so, that after one very difficult year, the friend who used to print it for me handed it back and asked if I could make it sound a little more upbeat!

Being authentic has always been important to me – and showing the source of my strength.


Every year when my dear mother used to read my Christmas letter she  used to respond by saying “Vicky, some day you are going to write a book.” I always laughed at such a ridiculous notion.

I have never recovered from the disappointment of getting a ‘D’ in higher level English in my Irish Leaving Certificate Examination. I went to see my english teacher in tears. Miss Wallace was very austere, but she kindly told me that if marks had been awarded for effort I would have gained an ‘A’ – I had studied so hard, but I just didn’t have the ability.

Maths, physics, biology and of course Irish, were my strongest subjects at school, but I have totally lost my mathematical ability. I struggle when helping Miriam with her Primary School maths homework.

Last year the children pleaded with me to write our Christmas letter as per usual. They wanted things to be as normal as possible. I did write it but I never sent it. I just couldn’t.

No matter how many times our Belfast haematologist smiled at us and told us how well Leah was doing, my heart told me a different story. I resolved to enjoy Christmas and then face whatever January would bring, I was struggling emotionally.

Christmas 2012, before we knew that she was unwell, Leah wrote her own contribution to our Christmas letter for the first time. Here is part of it:

This past year has been filled with many eventful times; some not so good while others were amazing. What has really kept me going is knowing that I have amazing friends and family who support me through everything but what’s more is that I have an amazing God who never fails to amaze me!

I’d like to finish with a Bible verse that I love, “If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, He’ll help you catch your breath” Psalm 34:18 (The Message Translation).

I hope that you have a wonderful Christmas and that this upcoming year is amazing for you.

Leah’s words, written two years ago, are as close as you’re going to get, to Christmas greetings from our house this year.

Her favourite band, Rend Collective, have released a Christmas album this year called Campfire Christmas – Leah would have loved that.

Here is their version of O Holy Night