Preparing the Heart:
“What He opens no one can shut, and what He shuts no one can open.” Revelation 3:7b New International Version
Every doctor’s door I opened—feeling hopeful—closed without remedy.
For five months, I suffered with sever sinus inflammation, head pressure, ear -popping, and migraines. No one could locate what caused my debilitating health problems which left me feeling hopeless, and I feared I’d die from it.
During this time, I led a group of over 100 women through a Bible study called, “Me, Myself, and Lies” by Jennifer Rothschild. Some in my study noticed that I struggled with anxiety and the inability to focus, and they prayed for my healing. One day after another doctor’s doors closed, I cried out to God. I begged Him for peace and understanding as to why He shut every door giving me no remedy for my ailments. Once home, I opened my Bible to a passage in Matthew 7:7 (NIV) “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
“I’m asking for revelation God;” I prayed. “nobody knows what is going on with my head, except for You. I need Your revelation. Please show me what to do.”
That particular day in Bible study, Jennifer referenced Daniel chapter 10. During the Hebrew exile, Daniel received a troubling vision. He sought revelation and understanding from God. He mourned and fasted for three weeks. Afterwards, the angel Gabriel appeared to him and brought a divine answer.
Immediately, I sensed God calling me to fast like Daniel. The truth is I had never fasted for spiritual reasons before, and I didn’t know how or what to fast from; yet I was desperate for a discovery from God. Daniel became my fasting model. In Daniel 10:3 (NIV) “I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over.”
For the next 21 days, I ate only fruits and vegetables, and drank only water. I. gave up coffee! Coffee had been my go-to all day, comfort drink. Serious business. In addition to abstaining from certain foods and beverages. I felt led to fast from dousing myself with perfume and bath sprays. Like coffee, smelling good ranked high on my daily regime. The final area I denied myself was watching tv. Yes, I gave up my favorite shows. In studying Daniel, I learned the spiritual warfare weapon of fasting and prayer.
For the first time in my life I understood that fasting was not so much about abstaining but rather, indulging. We as Christians get hung up on the foods we deny ourselves, rather than focusing on the joy of intimacy with God.
For three weeks I poured my heart out to God in prayer daily. First, I praised Him for Who He was, focusing on His attributes and His goodness. “Dear God, You are Jehovah-Rapha, and I praise You because You are the God Who Heals me.” Next, I confessed my fears and inadequacies and asked him to forgive my sin. “Lord, You. Know I’m scared that this illness is going to be the death of me’ please help me to trust You. Forgive me for worrying.” Then I petitioned Him on the behalf of others in my life to do what only He could do. “God, my son Christian is struggling with nightmares. I ask that you give him peace, so he can be at rest.” Lastly, I thanked Him for being so faithful and for answering my prayers ahead of time. “Thank you Lord that you have heard my cry, and I know you are working even now to do what’s best in my life.”
In the mornings when I craved a cup of coffee, instead, I found my comfort in the pages of His Word. As the day wore on and the hunger for something other than broccoli or bananas hit hard, I learned to feast on the Bread of Life, by digging into my Bible study. It was there that I found both physical and spiritual nourishment for my soul. By day 10 the cravings for coffee lessened and my desire for God increased. It wasn’t long before God’s peace filled me, and I knew no matter what He chose to do about my health I would be alright.
Isaiah 58:8-9 “Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and He will say: ‘Here am I.’” (NIV)
By God’s providence—not coincidence—my primary care doctor had ordered a Cat scan and a full panel of blood work during my fast. Around day 17, I received a personal phone call from him.
“Liz,” he said, “we received the results of both tests’ I know what’s wrong with you. You have Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism. Can you come into the office so I can discuss treatment with you?” We finally had an answer! I felt perplexed by this newfangled terminology. I had no idea what it meant, or if it was life-threatening. Before he ended the call, he assured me it was a thyroid disease which was treatable and not to worry. As I hung up the phone, praise erupted from my lips, “Thank you Jesus! Thank you God; You are so good.”
In my doctor’s office, I learned that when my endodontist pulled one of my upper molars, it perforated my sinus cavity, which caused severe infection. Due to the fact that I had undiagnosed Hashimoto’s, the damage to my sinuses wouldn’t heal like a healthy person’s would.
“Your body is not producing the thyroid hormone and therefore cannot heal itself properly.” My doctor explained. “It’s no wonder you’ve been in so much pain. Your thyroid is your second brain. Before the discovery and treatment of this disease, most people died from it. Your blood work revealed off the chart records for Hashimoto’s. Let’s get you treated.”
Often I wondered why God didn’t reveal this sooner. Why did He continue to shut so many doors that could have helped me? Eventually, I discovered God closed the doors to redirect me into His perfect will and timing. Knowing God’s love and learning to trust His timing is paramount. Without the extreme discomfort of being left untreated, I wouldn’t have initiated the discipline of prayer and fasting. God also shut the doors so that He could provide something greater, more beautiful, and more powerful than anything I could have planned or imagined for myself. When it seemed God said, “No,” it caused me to seek Him more earnestly through fasting and prayer. He taught me a powerful spiritual discipline that would bless and benefit me the rest of my life. A greater “Yes” came when I realized God was more than enough, even when He shuts the door.
“I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may. Have power together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory…” Ephesians 3:17b-20 NIV
Blog post by Elizabeth Hammond a team member of The Hallelujah House. Elizabeth can be contacted at Elizabethhammond8@gmail.com. To see Elizabeth’s full bio click on the “Team” link above.