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HIV/AIDS Blog Central

People Always Trying to Tell Me That God Can Heal Me of AIDS

By Rae Lewis-Thornton

January 24, 2013

This piece originally appeared in Rae's blog, Diva Living With AIDS.

People are always asking me, "Do I think that God can heal me of AIDS?" Here's my answer.

I don't hate much, but it's safe to say I HATE it when people start their conversation with me, "the Lord told me to tell you." Call it what you want: arrogance, Christian elitism, whatever! But this strong feeling of dislike became worse after I went public with AIDS. Everybody had the solution to my problem. Often they'd start the sentence with, "You know the Lord can heal you of AIDS."

Many times they'd come rushing up to me after I finished speaking with their revelation. I'd stand there graciously, but what I really wanted to do was scream at the top of my lungs.

I know, I know. I sound like one ungrateful woman. I do understand that they are only trying to help ease my pain. But curing me? Gee, thanks. Don't judge me first, just try living in my shoes and see how you would feel. In the early days of my ministry, I became really frustrated with people telling me what God could do for me, like they knew this for sure. I read the same Bible. And now, having gone to seminary and earned a Master of Divinity degree, I detest it even more. I mean, why do you think that I don't already know about faith? My life is an example of faith, don't you think?

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But in those earlier days of my popularity, so many people approached me about being healed that I started to wonder, "Had I missed something in my Christian walk?" Just the thought of it bothered me. With all the experts I had encountered on my miracle, I thought that maybe I was doing something wrong. So like with most things, I took my concern straight to the source. I started to have long conversations with God about it all. It went something like this:

"Hello God, these people say that you can heal me of AIDS. So, what do I have to do to get this particular miracle? I mean, they keep quoting the scripture, 'Ask and you shall receive.' (Mat 7:7) I asked, but I still have AIDS. Do I need pray a certain way, or at a certain time, maybe like Hannah at the altar?" (1 Sam 1-20) No joke, sometimes you just have to lay it out to God, and I did.

It was all so maddening. I know that there are miracles in the Bible of both the prophets in the Old Testament and Jesus in the New Testament. And that made matters worse. With all my Biblical knowledge, and people pushing their faith onto me, I was frustrated. One day a person even told me, "You should stop taking your HIV medication so when the Lord heals you, people will really believe that the miracle was of God." I stood there with a blank look on my face. "I don't think so buddy!!!!" is what I wanted to scream at him. So, I kept talking to God, waiting on the answer. I even changed my prayer. "Lord, just give me something to say to these people about my healing."

Then people started to cure me in my mail. I received 25 copies of this little booklet, "By His Stripes We Are Healed." I screamed, "Pleeeease GOD tell me what I'm missing." And that wasn't the half of it. I received long letters with scripture that I was instructed to repeat every day, tapes, oil and prayer cloths. People were determined to heal me anyway they could.

Then one day after what seemed like an eternity, God gave me the answer I had been seeking. I was in Washington, D.C. speaking at a church. That particular night, there was a lot of press covering me.

Rae Lewis-Thornton with microphone

No sooner than I laid the mic down, a woman rushed up to me, "You know the Lord can heal you of AIDS." I got that look on my face, "Here we go again." I stood as she rambled and rambled on. "And it would be an awesome thing. With all these TV cameras and the press you get, you could go around the world and tell people how wonderful God is because He healed you of AIDS!" In an instant God spoke to my spirit, "I am a wonderful God, even if I never heal you of AIDS!" The testimony is: Hallelujah anyhow!

WOW! I was so overwhelmed tears started streaming down my face. Of course the woman thought that her prophecy had moved me to tears. But it was nothing short of God sitting center stage in my spirit, giving me the answers I had longed for. The easiest testimony on the planet is when God has done the thing you most wanted in your life. But can you love God in the midst of your pain? Can you love and praise Him when you are bearing your cross? I understood that day that my love for God was not predicated on my healing from AIDS. God is wonderful and sovereign without the extra that He gives to us.

Back to the healing, I had missed it all along. The miracle wasn't the thing that people had been trying to force on me, but something even greater. In some ways, healing me of AIDS was an EASY testimony, almost expected of God. But living with AIDS was an INCREDIBLE testimony. God gave me the greatest gift of all: the ability to live and thrive with an illness that should've taken me out of here many a day. And believe me when I say I should've died 16 years ago.

Rae Lewis-Thornton, age 19

When I made a transition to AIDS 19 years ago, the life expectancy was three years. And before advancement in treatment, I was staring death in the face. My T-cell count was 8, my viral load was 397,000, I was a size 0. You could see how frail I was in every picture that was taken of me back then. There is no doubt, my health was failing.

I had three bouts of PCP, the number-one infection that killed people with AIDS at that time. You cannot tell me that I am not a walking miracle. I get it! I also get that we spend so much time expecting God to do what we want, we miss the wonderful things that He has done. I'm content with the miracle of my life. So what if it's a hard life, He continues to give me all the tools I need to maneuver through the wilderness.

PostScript: By the way, God didn't heal everyone. The Apostle Paul is one clear example. Paul had a thorn in his flesh. He asked God to heal him three times and each time God said, "No!" Christians are quick to quote from this text that the Lord told Paul, "My Grace is sufficient." But God also told Paul,"My strength is made perfect in your weakness." I know from this that when I am at my lowest point, God will do His best work. (2 Cor. 7-10)

2013 Post Script: Repost. One of the first blogs I wrote. As of 2013 I've lived with HIV for 30 years and AIDS for 21. I know that I know that I am a walking miracle.

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See Also
Ten Things You Can Do to Enhance Your Emotional Well-Being
More on Getting Support From Religion / Spirituality
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Reader Comments:

Comment by: Stephanie (uk) Fri., May. 31, 2013 at 8:34 am EDT
testimony
There are many testimonies of cure of HIV and AIDS but there is not even one case of a cure that is independently and scientifically validated. It is possible that healing miracles can happen but when they do occur, they leave behind them trails of physical evidence that can be independently and scientifically validated. However, where no evidence is found, then the purported claim did not happen. Presently, there is no reported case of cure of HIV/AIDS by drug, vaccine, prayer or a combination of the three. All the claims of cure of HIV/AIDS till date stem from misdiagnosis, nature of the assay method (immuno based or gene based) used, suggestion/hypnotism on the part of faith healers, autosuggestion/self hypnotism on the part of the infected, denial on the part of the infected, outright fabrication by the faith healer or his ministry etc. I believe that God can heal a person with HIV or AIDS but when such happen, then [b]scientifically verifiable evidence will be found in the cured person that authenticates the miracle. [/b]So far, no such genuine healing has been reported. Besides if one is actully gifted with healing ability, such a person will naturally work with medical sicence instead of being suspicious or in some cases even hostile to medical science. Hostility to scientific investigation is a clear sign that the faith healer is not called by God to heal but believes in imagined abilities or in some cases knows that he has no ability but lacks the humility to acknowlegge that for fear of loosing members who hold him in such a high esteem.
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Comment by: kenyatta (miami fl) Fri., Feb. 8, 2013 at 2:36 pm EST
GLORY TO GOD. BLESS YOU SWEETIE....
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Comment by: roger (Hollywood, FL) Thu., Feb. 7, 2013 at 7:31 pm EST
I read your story and I must say you are an incredible human being and an inspiration for others. I read your story and I understand what it means for those in hope of a miracle. Thank you for sharing your story with the world and may the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit be with you always.

P.S. the Lord can still heal you...the Lord uses love and compassion for healing...BELIEVE IN THE POWER OF LOVE...good night my sister...Roger :)
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Comment by: Diahanna (Florida) Wed., Feb. 6, 2013 at 9:36 am EST
I Thank the lord for your testimony...God is God all by himself...
I remember hearing a wonderful young woman testimony in Florida that had the entire church in tears!!! Yes God decided to heal her different, Instantly She stated she too had lived with the disease for 7 years and she is completely healed...You stated you are a woman of Faith... why would this upset you so much when these people say this..i'm just saying...The bible states according to your faith be it unto you!!! You are saying you are a miracle and no doubt you are...but it sure would be nice to not take the meeds and live the 70 years our lord promises us.....Love,
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Comment by: Anonymous Wed., Feb. 6, 2013 at 3:30 am EST
Beautiful areticle. It gives hope to all Christians who sometimes falter in their faith in God's wonderful miracles.
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Comment by: Florence Atieno (|Kisumu, Kenya) Fri., Feb. 1, 2013 at 10:26 am EST
Amen, Amen
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Comment by: Johan (South Africa) Fri., Feb. 1, 2013 at 7:57 am EST
I am so glad that i have read this mail it opened my eyes in a way you cant imagine i would like to add for every thing we do there is a consequence The Lord Grace is sufficient to forgive us should we choose to repent but we still have to pay the price of our actions
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Replies to this comment:
Comment by: Lindiwe (Pretoria, South Africa) Fri., Feb. 8, 2013 at 3:55 am EST
I fully concur with you Johan.


Comment by: priscilla (uganda) Fri., Feb. 1, 2013 at 4:28 am EST
oh my God! it such a wonderful testimony and thank u, i finally have something to tell ma petients who are throwing a way drugs for a miracle. thanx
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Comment by: Lee (Minneapolis) Thu., Jan. 31, 2013 at 11:23 pm EST
We were born Terminal and God has cured and answered ALL our prayers on the CROSS. You are healed. :)
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Comment by: Michael (California) Thu., Jan. 31, 2013 at 4:44 pm EST
I have been diagnosed with HIV/Aides for a little over 4 years and most likely had it several years before. I pastor a wonderful church and few know exactly what my health issues are. If I told everything I fear I would not be able to serve the church as I love doing now. After 3 months I agreed to treatment but with a long history of depression. the medication began to give me real problems and last June I spent 15 days in the hospital Mental Health issues. I then cautiously quit my medication and I am believing God for healing I still stay close to the Drs. and am tested and so far I am still negative. Regardless I am healed! I will accept reality but I praise the Lord for the spirit of a sound mind. I am not so far out not to accept help but I know Faith has a mystery and we will never understand it all. Thank God for great people who work with everyone without judgement.
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Comment by: Scott (Seattle) Tue., Feb. 5, 2013 at 8:56 pm EST
You're undetectable NOT negative.Once diagnosed you never go back to negative-except for the documented Berlin case.If you are really negative call the press!!


Comment by: Blessed (Washinton, Dc) Thu., Jan. 31, 2013 at 4:27 pm EST
Wow what a testimony, I can relate to your story I too have a testimony, diagnose HIV+ in 1988 I'm still here. (undetectable status and in good health)To God be the Glory giving Him the highest praise HALLELUJAH!!!!
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Comment by: Bobby Preston (Atlanta ) Thu., Jan. 31, 2013 at 3:40 pm EST
Ms. Lewis-Thornton:
Thank you for putting a voice to my feelings of faith. While I have been officially positive for over 15 years, I believe that I was infected 12 years before. Before I got tested, I had two lovers die and third one become sick (all positive before I met them). I was so healthily and safe sex, "how could I be positive". After getting the results all I wanted to do is die quickly, but I didn't. I lived. I asked why was I spared. The answer came as I found faith in God and learning to worship through thankfulness. I thank God every day for everything in my life - all the events and people that caused my joy and all of the events and people that ave caused me pain. I do not for 1 second that God can heal me of HIV or that God caused any of these events to happen. I believe my faith in God is the foundation of my responses to all these events. It is a struggle, but I am thankful for everything: waking up, going to sleep, and everything in between. I am especially thankful when I accomplish a difficult action: like swimming a mile; benching 200lbs; and responding with compassion to angry hurtful people. As I have gotten older (I'm 54), I yell out "thank God!" every time I have sex. What wonderful gift that I will not always be able to experience.

Thank you again for your testament of faith and for allowing me to share mine.
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Comment by: carlos (el paso, tx) Thu., Jan. 31, 2013 at 3:38 pm EST
wow this is amazing Jesus is a soverant God and even if it hasnt heal you , So what you are still gonna spend an eternity with him and you will be Heal on His time.
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Comment by: Michael Hester (Raleigh, NC) Thu., Jan. 31, 2013 at 1:31 pm EST
Amen, sister. Your story is my story. I have always been a devout faith-filled Christian and I struggled with the issues you mentioned. Except I was the one questioning why I wasn't healed, although I had following the Scripture perfectly. I prayed beliefing, I did ask and I did seek, but here I am still HIV+ since 1985 and AIDS since about 1992.
The fact that I still have the disease does not hinder my deep abiding faith and devotion to the one who gave me life and saved me from eternal damnation. Jesus truly is Lord! No matter what!
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Comment by: loola (Nigeria) Thu., Jan. 31, 2013 at 1:26 pm EST
Wow! This is awesome,mind elevating. I feel so much better or let me say peaceful about my situation after reading this piece. God bless you ma'am, more power to your elbow.
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Comment by: Brooke Davidoff (Seattle, WA) Wed., Jan. 30, 2013 at 10:36 am EST
Thank you for writing this. I get emails like that all the time or I need to go to YOGA to cure my HIV, it's really hard not to write back. Or accuse them of killing people with their stop your meds and pray idealism, but I don't. I read laugh and move on with my day.
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Comment by: Tim (Indy) Mon., Jan. 28, 2013 at 12:18 am EST
So touching and insprining I've only had HIV for a year and I must say your words are exactly what I have been dealing with. Thanks I am touched
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Comment by: GeeGee (Louisiana) Thu., Jan. 24, 2013 at 8:33 pm EST
Thank you for articulating my feelings, 19 years living this positive life and I know I'm a miracle!
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Rae Lewis-Thornton Speaks


Rae Lewis-Thornton

Rae Lewis-Thornton

Rae Lewis-Thornton is an Emmy Award-winning AIDS activist who rose to national acclaim when she told her story of living with AIDS in a cover story for Essence Magazine. She has lived with HIV for 27 years and AIDS for 19. Rae travels the country speaking and challenging stereotypes and myths about HIV/AIDS. She has a Master of Divinity degree and is currently working on her Ph.D. in Church History. Rae has been featured on Nightline, Dateline NBC, BET and The Oprah Winfrey Show, as well as in countless magazines and newspapers, including Emerge, Glamour, O, the Oprah Winfrey Magazine, Jet, Ebony, the Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune, to name a few. She earned the coveted Emmy Award for a first-person series on living With AIDS for Chicago's CBS News.

Rae is an active user of social media -- read "Long-Term HIV Survivor Discovers the Power of Twitter," an article on TheBody.com about Rae's social media activities.

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