In 2006, I went through a bit of a spiritual crisis when I felt like the Bible I was reading didn’t make sense. I had been told that so much of it was for Israel (and not for me) that I was starting to wonder if any of it actually applied to me personally. It felt like things contradicted each other, but in my mind, it seemed that God’s Word must be consistent and truthful, or else He couldn’t actually be a god at all.
It was all or nothing to me, so one night, with feelings of deep despair, I told God that I would give Him one more chance. I would read the entire Bible through from cover to cover, to be sure I was being fair and giving Him an honest chance, but if the Bible did not make sense, I told Him I was done. I was going to live my life in whatever way was most fun and fulfilling, with no more trying to follow rules and please people.
Keep in mind that I was a published Christian author and speaker, publicly involved in our church and ministry. I realized that my life was going to probably change drastically, but I was so desperate for a God of truth that I just didn’t care.
I am happy to report that He is a God of truth! My thirsty reading of God’s Word, where I began to highlight every command or instruction, helped me see that His Word is consistent. It did change my life drastically, but not by denying my Messiah and turning to a life of hedonism. I learned that holiness is understandable, not mysterious, and that His commands give life and joy. I learned that I have been grafted into His people Israel, and that all of His Word was written about me and to me.
I’ve talked about all of this before, and you can read more about my story and what I learned elsewhere on my blog. Eleven years have gone by, and now I am again a published author and speaker, publicly involved in our local Sabbath-keeping congregation and in ministry.
Over the past year or so, I’ve been studying the promises of God to His people, Israel. I want to know specifically what His Word says to us, living at the end of the ages, so to speak, out of the Land of blessing (Israel), dispersed to the uttermost parts of the world because of the sins of our ancestors (Deuteronomy 28, Leviticus 26).
I keep noticing the same promises, over and over again. They go something like this (and if you conduct your own search, you’ll see these are repeated many more times):
YHVH your God will make you abound in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your land for good. For YHVH will again rejoice over you for good as He rejoiced over your fathers, if you obey the voice of YHVH your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this Book of the Law, and if you turn to YHVH your God with all your heart and with all your soul (Deuteronomy 30:9-10).
God’s Word reveals that He gave His laws to His people for their good. The law gave life.
You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, which if a man does, he shall live by them: I am YHVH (Leviticus 18:5).
Now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the judgments which I teach you to observe, that you may live, and go in and possess the land which YHVH God of your fathers is giving you (Deuteronomy 4:1).
You shall therefore keep His statutes and His commandments which I command you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which YHVH your God is giving you for all time (Deuteronomy 4:40).
Now this is the commandment, and these are the statutes and judgments which YHVH your God has commanded to teach you, that you may observe them in the land which you are crossing over to possess, that you may fear YHVH your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, you and your son and your grandson, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged. Therefore hear, O Israel, and be careful to observe it, that it may be well with you, and that you may multiply greatly as YHVH God of your fathers has promised you—‘a land flowing with milk and honey’ (Deuteronomy 6:1-3).
And YHVH commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear YHVH our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive, as it is this day (Deuteronomy 6:24).
And now, Israel, what does YHVH your God require of you, but to fear YHVH your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve YHVH your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of YHVH and His statutes which I command you today for your good? (Deuteronomy 10:12-13)
Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of YHVH your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that YHVH your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of YHVH your God… (Deuteronomy 28:1-2).
Deuteronomy 28 goes on to list the specific blessings, which are material, with blessings to our families, to our health, and to the Land of Israel itself. It also goes on to list the specific curses YHVH would bring on those who disobeyed His commandments, and I have had this verse marked for years:
YHVH will strike you with consumption, with fever, with inflammation, with severe burning fever… YHVH will strike you with the boils of Egypt, with tumors, with the scab, and with the itch, from which you cannot be healed. YHVH will strike you with madness and blindness and confusion of heart. And you shall grope at noonday, as a blind man gropes in darkness; you shall not prosper in your ways; you shall be only oppressed and plundered continually, and no one shall save you (Deuteronomy 28:22a, 27-29).
The companion passage in Leviticus 26 is similar, with blessings and curses:
If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments, and perform them, then I will give you rain in its season, the land shall yield its produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. Your threshing shall last till the time of vintage, and the vintage shall last till the time of sowing; you shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely. I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none will make you afraid… For I will look on you favorably and make you fruitful, multiply you and confirm My covenant with you (Leviticus 26:3-9).
But if you do not obey Me, and do not observe all these commandments, and if you despise My statutes, or if your soul abhors My judgments, so that you do not perform all My commandments, but break My covenant, I also will do this to you: I will even appoint terror over you, wasting disease and fever which shall consume the eyes and cause sorrow of heart (Leviticus 26:14-16).
In 2006, the same year I started to discover the Torah, I was diagnosed with Addison’s disease. Here are the symptoms I’ve experienced:
- muscle weakness
- joint or muscle pain
- weight loss
- changes in mood or personality, such as irritability, anxiety, or depression
- loss of appetite
- darkening or reddening of the skin (called hyperpigmentation)
- lightheadedness or fainting when standing up, due to low blood pressure
- cravings for salty food
- sudden, severe pain in the abdomen (lower stomach), lower back, or legs
- confusion or slurred speech
- sluggish movements
- high fever
- severe vomiting and diarrhea (which will lead to dehydration)
- unconsciousness (fainting)
- high levels of potassium and low levels of sodium1https://familydoctor.org/condition/addisons-disease/
Do you see how similar these symptoms are to Leviticus 26:16?
I will even appoint terror over you, wasting disease and fever which shall consume the eyes and cause sorrow of heart (Leviticus 26:16).
I’ve seen this verse for years, and many times I’ve prayed and asked for God to heal me. All I could figure is that:
a) He would not heal me until the Messiah returned, when we would all be gathered again back to the Land. I blogged about this in May 2016.
b) I must have some unconfessed sin in my life, some way in which I was not being obedient to the Torah. I prayed about this often.
Over the past month, our family was struck with a fairly yucky case of bronchitis. On the Sabbath before we were supposed to leave for our much-anticipated family camping trip, a gentleman at our congregation heard us sniffling and asked if he could pray over us, that we would feel better for our vacation. He put his hands on each of us, asking the Father to restore us to health and finishing with the Aaronic blessing: “YHVH bless you and keep you; YHVH make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; YHVH lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace” (Numbers 6:24-26).
It was very sweet, and then a woman who is new to our congregation asked if she could add a prayer. Before praying, she said, “Anne, don’t you have some weird disease? We should pray for healing for that!”
Now let me tell you what I was thinking. 🙂 First, many people have prayed for my healing in the past 11 years. So far, no matter how sincere they were, God has not yet chosen to heal me. Secondly, my Addison’s disease was feeling pretty good that day, despite the sniffles. I didn’t understand why she would choose to pray about that. And thirdly, what did she expect me to do? How was I even supposed to know I was healed? Was I supposed to just suddenly stop taking my cortisol four times a day, to see if God would heal me, even though if He didn’t, I would quickly die?
Nonetheless, these friends did pray, and the next day we left for our camping trip.
And we were SO SICK. It really wasn’t that fun, because we just ached all over and wanted to do nothing but sleep and cough.
On Wednesday afternoon of our trip, Kraig took the kids to go sightseeing, but I stayed back at the campsite alone so I could rest and try to get well. Instead of sleeping, I had a long talk with God.
God, I don’t understand why we’re so sick! Why won’t you answer those prayers? Don’t you care about us? Are you even there?
I was back to 2006 all over again. Was God even real? Was His Word true? Was it all a giant lie?
I wondered if I should just return home from vacation and shut down my blog, take all my books off the market, and close down HomeschoolingTorah. How could I teach about a God who was fake? How could I deceive people like that?
I was feeling pretty low.
However, I got on my smart phone and went to my blog and re-read my post with all the reasons why God would probably not heal me until Yeshua returned. I knew He could, but obviously He had chosen not to.
It helped a little. Besides, Yom Teruah (the Feast of Trumpets) was only a week away, so I began to pray that Yeshua would return on this important feast day, and at His return, I could go up to Him, touch His tzitzit on the hem of His garment (Matthew 9:20; Matthew 14:36), and receive His healing. It would be okay.
The following week, on Thursday evening as the sun went down, our local congregation gathered at a home for a fun Yom Teruah celebration. We had severe thunderstorms, so all 65 of us gathered in their large dining room and kitchen, to sing and hear my husband teach. The teenagers led the singing, and even though I was still coughing, it was a great time.
Until the last song.
Like a bride
Waiting for her groom
We’ll be a church
Ready for You
Every heart longing for our King
Even so come
There will be justice
All will be new
Your name forever
Faithful and true
Yeshua is coming soon
I just broke down crying! The sun had gone down hours earlier in Jerusalem, but He had not returned! I would not be healed!
To add insult to injury, my teenage daughter rushed over to give me a “stress dose” of cortisol, which is the prescription I must take four times a day to stay alive. She had seen me crying and was concerned that the noise of over sixty people singing had been overstimulating and was causing me to get sick.
I wiped my tears and shoved my thoughts down, but I was feeling pretty angry inside.
Later I spoke to a friend on Facebook Messenger. She has been trying to decide if her family should obey the Torah, and of course, I’ve been trying to do everything in my power to convince her. On the other hand, she is from a more charismatic denomination and is always trying to convince me that I can be miraculously healed. I’ve sent her lots of links to my blog posts, especially the one on why Yeshua will heal me for sure when He returns, but she keeps persisting. And for some odd reason, without my bringing up the subject, on Yom Teruah she brought it up again.
She said that I did not have faith. I told her that I could not have faith in something that the Bible did not say.
She asked me why I didn’t believe the Bible promised healing. Ay yi yi! Somewhat to get her off my case, I promised her I would look it up again, and IF I FOUND A CLEAR PROMISE IN HIS WORD, then I would ask Him to heal me again.
I kept my word. And here is the verse the Spirit of God took me to:
So Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea; then they went out into the Wilderness of Shur. And they went three days in the wilderness and found no water. Now when they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter. Therefore the name of it was called Marah. And the people complained against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” So he cried out to YHVH, and YHVH showed him a tree. When he cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet.
There He made a statute and an ordinance for them, and there He tested them, and said, ‘If you diligently heed the voice of YHVH your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am YHVH who heals you‘ (Exodus 15:22-26).
I noticed something I’d never seen before. This was promised to the people of Israel after the Red Sea, which was many years before they entered the Promised Land. Yeshua wasn’t reigning on earth as Messiah and King.
And I got very frustrated all over again!
God, I know I’m not perfect — far from it! But you know my heart, and you see every action. You know that for these 11 years, I have diligently listened to your voice and tried to do what is right in your sight. I have paid attention to your commandments and tried to guard your statutes, even when others rejected us and we paid heavily for this choice.
Yet You have allowed me to have Addison’s disease, with symptoms listed as curses in Deuteronomy 28.
Oh, yeah, I cried. Then I went to Deuteronomy 30, which remains one of the most precious passages in the Bible to me.
“Now it shall come to pass, when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where YHVH your God drives you, and you return to YHVH your God and obey His voice, according to all that I command you today, you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul, that YHVH your God will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the nations where YHVH your God has scattered you. If any of you are driven out to the farthest parts under heaven, from there YHVH your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you. Then YHVH your God will bring you to the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it. He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers. And YHVH your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love YHVH your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.
“Also YHVH your God will put all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate you, who persecuted you. And you will again obey the voice of YHVH and do all His commandments which I command you today. YHVH your God will make you abound in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your land for good. For YHVH will again rejoice over you for good as He rejoiced over your fathers, if you obey the voice of YHVH your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this Book of the Law, and if you turn to YHVH your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
“For this commandment which I command you today is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend into heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it” (Deuteronomy 30:1-14).
I knew that I lived in Michigan, one of the farthest places from Israel that I could get, and that He has not yet gathered us back to His Land. But I also saw that He would have compassion on me and give me life, if I would obey.
And I knew I was obeying!
And then I saw that there were only two choices: life or death.
“See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love YHVH your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and YHVH your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess. But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them, I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess. I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love YHVH your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which YHVH swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them” (Deuteronomy 30:15-20).
I could choose life, and this choice was made by loving Him, walking in His ways, and keeping His commandments.
Or I could choose death. This choice was made by allowing my heart to turn away from Him and be drawn to worship other gods.
I knew these verses were for me, today, in our time. (See also Deuteronomy 29:14-15.)
So here I was again. Either God was true and would heal me, in fulfillment of His Word, that He would give life and blessing to those who would keep His commands, or the whole thing was a fake, a charade, a gigantic scam.
But then I remembered. The only way I could know if I were healed was to STOP taking the cortisol I faithfully take at 7 am, noon, 5 pm, and 11 pm each day. And I knew that if I stopped taking it, I would die.
But yet — those verses said I would only die if I was drawn away to worship and serve other gods! Which I was not!
So the next morning, at 7 am, I did not take my cortisol. It sounds so foolish to even write this, but I was determined to test God in His Word, not by hardening my heart and walking in disobedience (Psalm 95:7-11), but by walking in a faith I had never tried before, a belief that His Word must be completely and fully true (Malachi 3:10).
I knew from previous test results that I made absolutely no cortisol in the mornings, so without my morning dose, I figured I had only a couple hours before I would either start vomiting, begin shaking uncontrollably, or pass out.2https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/addisons-disease/addison-disease-treatment Yet the day went on, and my noon and 5 pm doses went by, and I was still alive, although frankly, terrified!
Thankfully, my heavenly Father was good to keep encouraging me. First, my friend Christine (who has been healed twice of cancer) had already taught me that I would need to keep the promises of God forefront in my mind, that this is spiritual warfare, lest I be overcome with terror. Second, I knew that terror itself was on the list of curses given to those who disobey, which gave me a lot of peace. Third, over the next few days, He confirmed over and over again that He was indeed speaking these things to me.
- For instance, a friend on Sabbath suddenly felt led to pray specifically for the health of our family this fall — and she did, right out loud!
- My husband (whom I had not told what I was doing, for fear he would not believe me) preached on how God has conquered death (1 Corinthians 15:25-26).
- We had a discussion about the Red Sea and how the Israelites must have been terrified by the walls of water before them and the Egyptian army behind them — yet they stepped out in faith.
All this time, I knew what I had done. I knew that I was, by this time, already a walking miracle, even though no one at our Sabbath fellowship knew it. I led the worship that day, singing and playing the piano, without feeling any fatigue. I prayed aloud. I discussed theology. We had record-high temperatures (and heat usually makes me sick). We were there for over six hours.
And I felt fine.
Even more so, on Sunday we had a daughter need to go to the emergency room, and it was honestly scary. Yet with all the adrenaline, I continued to be fine.
By Sunday evening, I knew I needed to tell my family. I asked them all to sit down, and I told them what I had done. At first they just stared at me. They knew what it meant for me to not take my cortisol! And then they started to grin.
Since then I have slowly been telling people. I continue to be fine, even though I have had no cortisol since Yom Teruah.
And I have cried many more times, but this time tears of joy!
I do not pretend to understood why He healed me. It is beyond my ability.
However, this one thing I know. I serve a Risen and living Savior! His Word is true and for me today! And He has compassion on me, so that I may live. I’m confident, because His Word is eternal, that He feels the same way about you.
They wandered in the wilderness in a desolate way;
They found no city to dwell in.
Hungry and thirsty,
Their soul fainted in them.
Then they cried out to YHVH in their trouble,
And He delivered them out of their distresses.
And He led them forth by the right way,
That they might go to a city for a dwelling place.
Oh, that men would give thanks to YHVH for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
For He satisfies the longing soul,
And fills the hungry soul with goodness…
Fools, because of their transgression,
And because of their iniquities, were afflicted.
Their soul abhorred all manner of food,
And they drew near to the gates of death.
Then they cried out to YHVH in their trouble,
And He saved them out of their distresses.
He sent His word and healed them,
And delivered them from their destructions.
Oh, that men would give thanks to YHVH for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving,
And declare His works with rejoicing…
The righteous see it and rejoice,
And all iniquity stops its mouth.
Whoever is wise will observe these things,
And they will understand the lovingkindness of YHVH.
(Psalm 107:1-9, 17-22, 42-43)
All Scripture in this blog post taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.