To Live IS Christ (10): Testimony 5


Previously, I asked:

So why do we so often make excuses and try to find reasons to justify ongoing sickness?

A possible reason is that sections of scripture, even the New Testament, can be cited as examples that seem to suggest that God doesn’t always choose to heal.

As you know, it was because of an illness that I [Paul] first preached the gospel to you, and even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn (Gal 4)

Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses (1Tim 5)

Erastus stayed in Corinth, and I left Trophimus sick in Miletus. (2 Tim 4)

Epaphroditus, my brother, co-worker and fellow soldier… longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him.(philippians 2)

Surely those examples of sickness in the lives of Paul and his companions offer countering evidence to the idea that God always desires to heal?

It seems so – but do they?
Firstly, none of those illnesses led to death. They recovered.

At best those examples can show that God doesn’t always heal miraculously or instantly, (but He didn’t leave them sick), while the last one actually credits God mercy with Epaphroditus’s recovery, so is not a good example of God not being willing to heal.

And then there’s the favoured anti-healing reference to Paul’s thorn in the flesh; often linked to the illness mentioned in Galatians, but with no real justification for doing so. According to Paul the thorn was not an illness, it was a satanic messenger (angel) sent to torment him because of the great revelation he had received (and was sharing).

I addressed this issue here many years ago : Thorny Thoughts so won’t go over it again here.

Compare those four references and one dubious thorn interpretation to the many cases detailed in Jesus’s healing ministry and the continued ministry of the church throughout Acts, and the provision of healing gifts distributed by the Holy Spirit, and the instructions given by James , and Peter’s reaffirming of Isaiah’s prophecy  and where does the overwhelming New Testament evidence point regarding Gods will and willingness to heal? (examples here).

In closing this post I have two suggestions.

Firstly it might be more productive to take note of that overwhelming evidence of God’s willingness to heal than in trying to find reasons why He doesn’t. Which of those practices do you think would be most effective in building the faith required to pray in genuine faith?

Secondly, also considering that overwhelming evidence of God’s willingness, we ought to expect that IF God’s will is not to heal a particular believer in a particular case,  then that outcome ought to be considered SO out of the ordinary that He would give a specific and personal unmistakable direction to that person regarding the denial of healing.

In other words, instead of trying to find if it’s God’s will to heal, be confidently assured of healing according to what He’s clearly revealed in His word. And if He has some reason to withhold healing in a rare particular exemption, expect Him make THAT known through some form of personal revelation.

Expect healing unless personally advised otherwise by divine revelation.

10 thoughts on “To Live IS Christ (10): Testimony 5

  1. I like this post. So then people would die either as martyrs or — possibly — in accidents, or simply in old age (often, but not always, in their sleep). One of my grandmothers was pretty healthy and active right up through the day she simply dropped dead while waiting for a bus to or home from church. That was my dad’s mom. My dad’s dad died, also quite healthy, shortly after overstraining himself by continuing to paint one side of the house every summer.

  2. Hi Marleen, personally I think my next post, coming in a couple of days, couldn’t make the issue of God’s will in this matter clearer, containing a clear command from God.

  3. I’m curious what you think of healing that involves pain, or something like that, but which alleviated situation wouldn’t have killed a person. I had a few examples of that.

  4. Man’s methods of healing (such as surgery and some medicines) often includes pain.
    Even the natural;, God given healing process of our immune system can cause discomfort as it fights an unnatural invader from our bodies.
    Sickness in any form is ultimately present in the world because of man’s sin, so was never part of God’s intended creation.

  5. I have a “cousin-in-law” who is going through various treatments due to pancreatic cancer. One of the medicines kills nerve cells. They say the medical personnel tell you about the side effects but don’t really tell you.

  6. Man’s treatments are very limited and at times damaging.
    Unfortunately God’s ways have been rejected even by believers who run to doctors seeking help even after they’ve determined it might not be God’s will to heal them.

    Through my recent investigation, I’ve concluded beyond doubt that it IS God’s will for us to live in health and enjoy a full life span. Any failure to achieve that is a failure of man, not God.

    Health and life are conditional upon obedience and faith. Too often those conditions aren’t met.

  7. Whoa! That’s a bold statement! I was thinking of responding to a previous post by asking: Why should people die of any sickness at all—even in old age?

  8. Bold statement or the revealed will of God from scripture?
    Perhaps the truth is they don’t need to die of illness – but we all have an expiry date after a full span of years. We’ll all die at some time, but it doesn’t need to be prematurely (unless by martyrdom) or because of sickness.

    People die of illness because they’ve been conditioned to see illness as part of God’s plan for His people. As a result it is impossible for them to pray the prayer of faith, or even HAVE faith in God to heal.
    How can anyone have faith in God for something they consider may not be His will?

    Compare to:

    If we ask ANYTHING according to His will HE hears us. And if we KNOW that HE hears us – whatever we ask – we KNOW that we have what we asked of Him.

    and

    If you believe you WILL receive whatever you ask for in prayer

    and

    Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you HAVE received it and it will be yours.

    Compare these to the expectations of the majority of believers with regard to healing.

    I suggest there is a big contrast – but why?
    Again I make a suggestion – its because professing believers cling to their church tradition, and their personal experience, and the observed experience of others ABOVE what revealed through scripture; instead of basing their beliefs (their FAITH) on the word of God.

    If I have misunderstood something in my attempt to address the issue according to scripture, please show me where the misunderstanding is -but it needs to be addressed from scripture, (as I have tried to do) not experience or someone else’s teaching.

  9. Another important reference related to faith that needs to be considered:

    And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. (James 5)

    If a prayer is offered and a sick person is NOT made well – what can be concluded?

    1) that the promise in this reference is false?
    2) that God only sometimes keeps promises made in scripture?
    3) scripture isn’t always true
    4) A prayer may have been prayed – but it was not prayed in faith.

    Or in other words:
    1) God withheld what He had promised for some unknown/unrevealed “sovereign” purpose, effectively breaking the promise.

    or

    2)Those seeking healing failed to fulfil the conditions of the promise.

  10. Pingback: Choose Life 2: To Live IS Christ (13) | Onesimus Files

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