Is it wrong to pray for healing rather than embrace suffering?

We often pray for the healing of those who are sick or suffering, but we’re also called to ‘offer it up’ and see the value in suffering. Instead of asking for our difficulties to be taken away, should we just embrace the cross we’ve been given? This question was on the mind of a listener, who called in to Father Simon SaysTM this week.

“I am conflicted about suffering. I have recently over the past few years lost most of my vision and there’s been suffering for me and the people around me due to it. And I’ve received wonderful graces; I don’t wish to undo what’s been done to me, but that being said, I’ve been praying for a miracle to restore my vision and thousands of others have been praying for me. And now I feel I’m insulting to God—he gave me this gift. And now I’m saying, take it back,” said John.

“No, no, no, keep praying for a miracle. The Lord healed the sick and if healing was a bad thing he wouldn’t have done it. He didn’t say, oh keep suffering!” says Fr. Richard Simon.

“Our attitude is that when suffering comes, we take it as grace. But it isn’t God’s ‘plan A’. Ecclesiastes says that it was through the envy of the Devil that death entered the world, and by extension, any kind of illness. This isn’t God’s plan A, but God can take—I love the line in the Book of Exodus that the first Joseph says, ‘You mean it for my harm, God meant it for our good.’ God has taken your vision problems and done great good with it, but he can do great good with your healing, too.”

He encouraged John to continue to pray. “Our prayer is always, if it is your will and if it is good for me and my salvation and good for those around me, I would love to be healed, Lord. I like seeing your beautiful world,” said Fr. Simon.

“We don’t look for suffering. Now, there are some exceptional people called victim souls who their lot in life is suffering. But most of us aren’t called to be victim souls,” explained Fr. Simon.

“I’m not that good,” said John.

“Neither am I,” laughed Fr. Simon. “But to take our suffering and our difficulty with grace and understand that this can be a blessing from the Lord; I think your attitude is exactly the proper one.”