Ben and I were nearly two months married when suddenly I started to feel intense pain in my face and head. For eight weeks I had no relief and had been seen by various doctors who performed all the tests they could think of, with not many questions of the cause or cure being answered. During the time of suffering and adjustment to a pain-filled lifestyle, I can testify that Jesus became sweeter and more important to me than I ever thought. Not only did I feel Him most real and close to me and over my face, but He showed me depths of my own heart; not all of them, because the realization would probably kill me, but the depths He deemed fit to expose at this time.
One morning during this season I sheepishly opened my Bible for a word of encouragement. The pain was insufferable. The Word of God in John 5 screamed at me, I thought I was hearing a voice. Jesus asked the invalid at the pool of Bethesda, “Do you want to be healed?”; the answer He received was not a ‘yes’, not even a straight ‘no’, but a rant of a complaint. I realized that was also my answer to God asking me the same question about my own well being. My flesh and sin are so thick, that it surpasses even natural logic: who does not want to be healthy and comfortable? Someone who is sick in the very core of their heart, me. I wanted to give Jesus a straight-forward and desperate ‘yes, please heal me now’, but I could not. That morning, in pain, I could not fathom my own sober realization.
What followed after was a long and ongoing process of repentance and humbling before the Lord God, my Creator. Jesus Christ is ‘cleaning up house’ in Simona Gibbs’ heart in areas that are unknowingly not surrendered. I knew I felt redemption when I could just simply look at Jesus during the head pain and chaos of my heart and sense a peaceful, obedient, joyous submission to whatever the Lord deemed right for Ben and me: if I were to be healed (through known or unknown means) or suffer continuously or periodically from the same pain – it did not matter. I wanted to be in His will, whatever He is glorified in. If my heart is glorifying to Him during pain and suffering, I wanted to want that and accept it by looking at Jesus Christ, the Owner of my eternal soul. I do not want to be hardened against Him! Rather, day by day I want to turn softer and softer toward Him through the transforming power of His word.
I am so humbly thankful that His Holy Spirit uncovered all this. The petty physical pain in my head and face (as compared to the torturing that the audience of Hebrews and now the church in Iraq have gone through) created the circumstances where I would just wait and listen, become more humble and real. I felt loved because Jesus is the only one who loves me enough to break me because it’s for good. And as a result, I found myself becoming engaged toward those who suffer – physically, emotionally, mentally, because that is the terrain where transformation of the heart happens- in suffering.
After the church leaders laid hands on me and prayed for healing, but ultimately for God’s will in the name of Jesus over me, I was delivered from all pain in less than 24 hours. The cause to the pain remains unknown to me and the doctors, and there is no guarantee that it will not be back; however, I feel free that no matter what will happen, Jesus died and resurrected that I may live here on earth and in eternity only for Him.