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Keeping the Faith During Long-Term Struggles

GRAMMY award-winning singer/songwriter and best-selling author Laura Story shares an excerpt of her book, When God Doesn’t Fix It.

How to Heal When God Doesn't Fix It
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Taken from When God Doesn’t Fix It: Lessons You Never Wanted to Learn, Truths You Can’t Live Without by Laura Story Copyright © 2015 by Laura Story Elvington. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson. 

The call that changed my life happened around noon in February 2006. I was in St. Louis attending a conference with two of my coworkers. They sat in the front seat of the rental car with the radio on; I was in the backseat checking my phone messages. As we headed to Panera Bread for lunch, I noticed a voicemail from my husband, Martin, and I called him back. That’s when he gave me the news that dramatically changed the course of our lives and the lives of those closest to us.

“Hey, I’ve got some news. I have a brain tumor pressing against my pituitary gland, which is why my hormones have been messed up. That’s why I’ve been so sleepy.”

Martin had seemed perpetually exhausted He’d started falling asleep during church where I was the worship leader and even at social events. I had been embarrassed and frustrated with him and I’d let him know. When he’d fallen asleep while driving and hit a guardrail, he’d started seeing a doctor. 

Martin had been getting tests run for a year with no answers, but with that one phone call, we both finally knew what was wrong.

Finding out Martin had a brain tumor flooded my heart with compassion and love for him. I felt stupid for being angry and embarrassed by his behavior when the whole time he had been suffering from a brain tumor.

“Martin, I am so sorry,” I said, letting the tears flow. His calm acceptance of the diagnosis encouraged me. He was determined to take that sucker out so we could get on with our lives.

We couldn’t have been more naïve.


While the surgery to remove the tumor through Martin’s nose was a success, about a week after the surgery, Martin contracted meningitis through the hole in his nose. Martin coded at the hospital and I and his parents were told to gather his family and friends to say goodbye because he might not make it through the night.

Thankfully, Martin survived, but will be on medication and in and out of doctor’s offices for the rest of his life due to brain injury. After years of praying and trying, we were finally able to conceive and now have three children, one girl followed by two twin boys—our greatest blessings.

Still, I pray every day that God would completely heal my husband. If you could overhear my prayers, they’d sound something like this: Good morning, God. Is today the day you’re going to heal Martin? Because if you heal him, I promise to give you all the glory.

It’s a hard truth to hear that our circumstances might not change and God might not fix the broken things in our lives. But I know personally that even when our situation doesn’t change for the better, we can change for the better.

Whether I’m leading the worship team at Perimeter Church in Atlanta, or out touring with my music ministry, I’m frequently approached by people of all ages who tell me about their broken circumstances, their seemingly unanswered prayers, and their disappointments with life. They want to know how I got to be “okay,” or how I “made it through to the other side.”

What I always want to say, but rarely have the time to explain in detail, is that I’m not okay. We’re not through to the other side. We’re still knee-deep in it and likely always will be.

If I had more time to talk to them, I’d say that despite the fact that Martin and I are still hanging on every day, what they see in us is how God has been evident in our story, time and again. He has used it in powerful ways. And He has used it, not because we were special, or famous, or even great examples of people experiencing brokenness in a way that God approved of.

I believe He used our story for the same reason He uses others’ stories: because we were willing for Him to use it. And in our weakness, we were willing to give Him the glory.

I believe He wants to do the same for you through your broken story too. Our marriages can get better. Our relationships with our children can get better. Our attitudes can get better. Our grief can get better. Our intimacy with God can get better. Though we’re still broken, it can be a better broken.

Maybe you’ve prayed to have something fixed, healed, taken away, given to you, restored, or repaired but you didn’t see anything change. So you prayed more. You pleaded. And then begged. But nothing changed; things remained right where they were before you prayed.

Maybe you thought God didn’t hear you.

But perhaps God heard you and His answer was the same as His answer to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you.”

If that is how God has answered your prayer, He’s not ignoring you. He’s not punishing you. He’s not demanding more from you. He just wants you to know He is sufficient for you and His power is made perfect in your weakness.

We can cling to Scripture, discover who God truly is, be willing to share our story even in the trials, and look for blessings in our brokenness.

That’s where our better story begins.

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