Ministry Without MiraclesA friend recently recounted to me how a member of his stake had given tearful testimony about how she was miraculous saved from a serious injury due to divine intervention. He wondered why the Lord saved her and not so many others.

Currently one of the women I visit teach is working through the long recovery (with medication and therapy) after surgery for adhesive capsulitis (or “frozen shoulder”).

About five years ago, I also suffered from frozen shoulder. It is one of the most painful, debilitating things I have experienced. Wikipedia describes it thusly:

The normal course of a frozen shoulder has been described as having three stages:

  • Stage one: The “freezing” or painful stage, which may last from six weeks to nine months, and in which the patient has a slow onset of pain. As the pain worsens, the shoulder loses motion.
  • Stage two: The “frozen” or adhesive stage is marked by a slow improvement in pain but the stiffness remains. This stage generally lasts from four to nine months.
  • Stage three: The “thawing” or recovery, when shoulder motion slowly returns toward normal. This generally lasts from 5 to 26 months.

When this occurred, my youngest son was still a toddler and I had six kids and a home to care for. Even the slightest movement of my left arm caused excruciating pain, which made walking, dressing, showering, holding child, lifting, carrying — anything — unbearable. I was beside myself, not just due to the incredible pain, but the fact that the pain literally prevented me from moving or doing anything useful.

Now for the rub.

After a number of weeks of doctors appointments, medications, X-rays, etc., my husband gave me a blessing and I was completely, almost instantaneously healed. 

I wasn't healed because I have incredible faith, because I'm super righteous, because I have more trials than anyone else, or even because my husband has an unusual gift of healing. Truth is, I have no idea why I was healed. I do know it was God's power, but I do not know why — that particular time — it was offered to me.

It's not that I feel guilty for being healed. There are plenty of times in my life when I wasn't the one with the miracle. But I don't know how to reconcile that healing with my friend's lack of healing. More to the point, I don't know how in the world to minister to her.

If you've had an unusual or misunderstood condition,  you know that it doesn't garner the same sympathy or show of support as something more well known, even though it may be more incapacitating. But since I'd experienced this condition, I knew how awful it really is and wanted to let her know I

When I found out what she was dealing with, I blurted out, “Oh, no! I had that many years ago. That's horrible!”

Unfortunately that led to what should have been obvious. She asked me how I recovered.


Initially I diverted the conversation to find out what she was doing and how it was helping, but this last week she asked me directly again. I confessed — somewhat apologetically — that I had been cured by a blessing.

How do we acknowledge God's hand in our lives appropriately? How do we do so without harming those who have different answers to prayers — or seem to have no answer at all? How do we help someone struggle through a difficulty that we did not have to endure?