When I was five years old, I was diagnosed with a seizure disorder – absence seizures. When I was first diagnosed, I was having hundreds a day. It made making friends at school very difficult for me. It was hard for them to have a conversation with me when I would constantly “space off” and not remember what was being said when I came to.
Oh, but I desperately wanted friends. At church, we would sing this song, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”. I asked Jesus into my heart around this same time and I remember my parents describing prayer to me at my level, explaining that I could talk to Jesus like I talked to them, or a friend. All those things brought comfort to my lonely heart, and I remember sitting in the top bunk of the bunk bed I shared with my younger sister after everyone went to sleep. I’d look out the window and up at the starry night sky and talk to Jesus like a friend. I would tell Him about my day at school, my sisters, my parents. I chuckle a little when I think of those prayers, and I’m sure that He did too. “Jesus,” I would say, “today I got SO mad at my sister, she kept messing up the game I was playing.” Other times I would sit up there and weep. I wept for friends, for healing, all sorts of things that I couldn’t put into words at five years old. But the Bible says, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” (Romans 8:26-27 NIV). Though I was only five and had no idea of the concept of praying for healing in my life, the Lord knew the desires of my heart. 1 Peter 5:7 says, “Cast all your anxieties on the Lord, for He cares for you.”
The Lord listened. He was patient when a seizure would interrupt my prayers. He was always listening, always there, and He brought joy to my heavy heart. Spending time in His presence was the dearest part of my day.
I still pray this way to this day. The Lord invites us into an intimate relationship with Him. He invites us in as His children. We don’t need to pray loud adorned prayers. When Jesus prayed, He always addressed God as, “Abba” – Father and when He taught us to pray, He instructed us to do the same. What a precious, amazing gift to be given, that deep intimacy with God.
When I was eight years old, I had another routine EEG scan. I was declared seizure free and I was able to get off of all medication. With the possible prognosis always being that these seizures could turn into full epilepsy with frequent grand mal seizures as I got older, this was a miracle that I am forever grateful for. When we walked out of the doctor’s office and toward the car, I remember my mom saying, “You know, Kate, Jesus healed you.” Her voice broke when she said this and I recalled all of the times I’d walked past her room over the last three years on my way to the kitchen for a drink of water late at night and see her in her bedroom with the door ajar, on her knees weeping before the Lord as well, contending for my healing. “Yes Mom, I know!” I said. And I looked up to the sky and I remember saying to the Lord, “Thank you!” in a voice just barely above a whisper.
While those few years in my life were difficult, the Lord worked them together for my good. He wins every victory! Even if I’d never been healed on earth, He still took an earthly ailment that’s part of the death, disease and destruction that sin wrought and used it for my good. I learned so much about prayer, about spending time in His presence, and I sought Him out and found Him, just like He promised. If you’re feeling alone today, whether it be due to separation because of the quarantine or other personal circumstances, please let me assure you that you are not alone. You have a friend in Jesus. The song rings so true:
“What a friend we have in Jesus
All our sins and griefs to bear
And what a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer
Oh, what peace we often forfeit
Oh, what needless pain we bear
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer”