Updated: Mar 15
White spots clouded the sanctuary. Cataplectic weakness loosened every screw and bolt in my body. Clouded lightheadedness, followed by unwanted tears, started a scene in the 8th row. A wave of nausea. A maskless audience staring with concern. My purple tie-dyed face mask was stuck to my lips as I desperately inhaled cotton mask air. The oxygen wasn't coming fast enough. Tears itched my contacts. My body went numb. Suffocating hyperventilation. Dry-heaving and gagging, I ran down the aisle to the double-exit doors that guaranteed escape.
Rewind: Sunday, 11:25 a.m.
Pressure hit the crevice in my shoulder blade. My heart skipped a beat and I began to walk faster. Then acrylic nails gripped into my shoulder and enacted a backwards pull. Startled, I pivoted 180 degrees.
"Excuse me," a woman with brown hair, NO mask, and patchy foundation chirped, "your dress is a little high in the back." She was so close we could have been breathing the same air. Thank goodness I decided to wear a mask today, I thought.
After looking back and forth between her, her hand, and my forearm, I gave a stare that said (in a tiktok Siri voice), "how-dare-you-touch-me-you-are-a-stranger-I-don't-even-know-if-you're-vaccinated-please-leave-me-alone."
After a few seconds it was clear she wasn't receiving the message I was sending. She was still trying to breathe my air.
I turned around and walked briskly to the sanctuary. Finding a seat in the 8th row to the back, I shut my phone off and stowed it away in my purse. The assistant pastor did a little welcome shhpeel and the worship songs began.
Besides the maskless woman, it was all fine until the last song. The last song they chose was a fight-or-flight initiation ceremony.
The Last Song
"God is the medicine,
for what I feel within..."
My body was frozen, my mind was locked, and my eyes were fixated on the words magnified on the big screen. I took in every word. Every lie. Every untruth formulated into lyrics.
I'm going to be real with you: I can't remember the exact words that came after that first part of the song. Nevertheless, I did understand them. The lyrics were a story of how nothing but God can cure our mental ("feel within") ailments. Not medication. Not doctors. Not therapy. Just faith. Just reliance and dependence on someone bigger than our universe.
Maybe you know as well as I do that there is a fine line between relying on God for healing and God-ordained intercession.
The Difference Between Reliance and Intercession
Before you get offended and exit this page, allow me to clarify what you just read. Reliance on God for healing is an important element of strong faith. That is truth. It's truth because it's what He says (Exodus 14:14 ; John 15:4-5 ; Matthew 11:28-30 ). Not because I know it to be true, or because you trust what I say, but because He said it in sincerity.
Intercession is a term that is strangely unfamiliar to most millennial and GenZ Christians. Intercession occurs when you pray on behalf of someone or something else. It is understood as a form of intervening through prayer. Prayer warriors intercede all the time.
From my experience, knowledge, and relationship with God, I am confident in saying that therapists, psychiatrists, friends, social workers, medications, SSRIs, and prescriptions are intercessors that God uses to heal our pain. He uses these worldly things to intervene with worldly pain while simultaneously interceding for our spiritual gain.
"He uses these worldly things to intervene with worldly pain while simultaneously interceding for our spiritual gain." - AK
Though I don't have all the answers, it gives me peace of mind in knowing that God put these things in this world for good. Just because we can't touch His cloak and be healed doesn't mean that He won't continue to heal us through physical things.
Goodness, that was wordy. You might have to read that one 5 times over and say it in the mirror to fully grasp it.
Disclaimer: I just had to say that sentence out loud 5 times over to make sure I was writing what I was thinking.
Another disclaimer: it sounded a lot more clear in my head.
All the Peace,