Have you wondered lately where God was? Why are bad things happening to me and my friends when we love Jesus and are trying to walk in a way that pleases Him. This is a question that all Christians face and work through. So don’t be afraid to pose the question.
When we are having these thoughts the problem is perspective. We are looking at the world through our eyes, not God’s. You see, as Christians our purpose is the glory of God. It is not living a comfortable, carefree existence.
Please be weary of evangelist that give the prosperity message. They tell us that we just need to focus on positives and draw them to us. This is not biblical. It gives us way too much power. Those that preach this way ignore much of what the Bible has to say about the life of a Christian. They focus on a few verses, taken out of context. The Bible needs to be taken as a whole.
The book of James speaks clearly to this.
James 1:2-4, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
So, in these verses we see that God is at work in our lives during the hard times. He is developing us. This could be because we have made poor choices. You might have heard a parent say, “I am doing this because I love you,” just before they discipline a child. As a parent, I know that disciplining a child is hard work, and it isn’t fun. The easy way out is to let your child have his way. This ends disastrously for the child. They become rebellious, wild, and undisciplined. If they don’t receive proper discipline from loving parents they will have a hard time accepting any authority figure. This means they will have run-ins with teachers, law enforcement officers, and most importantly they will have a hard time accepting God’s will for their life. So, just as an earthly father, our heavenly father will discipline the children he loves here of Earth. Because of this, we need to ask ourselves, is our current crisis due to wrong thinking or a poor choice I made. If so, we acknowledge it to God, ask forgiveness and work through the consequences. Just because we ask for forgiveness, doesn’t mean the consequences disappear. But God will be with us, even as we deal with them, giving us peace, and the strength we need.
The trial we are facing could very well have nothing to do with any sin on our part. In John 9:1-11 we read about an encounter that Jesus had with a man who had been blind from birth. His disciples ask Jesus who had sinned to cause the blindness, the man or his parents. Jesus says, that neither of them had sinned to cause the blindness.
John 1:3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
I think that most of the people we see suffering from disease did not contract that disease because of any specific sin in their lives. I’m not saying they have no sin. I’m just saying that is not the way I believe that God works. He doesn’t enjoy seeing his children suffering. Just as human parents hurt when their children hurt. We see many instances in the life of Jesus where he healed those he encountered that were ill emotionally and physically. Jesus says of the blind man --his blindness happened so that “God might be displayed in him”. Jesus healed him. The man born blind miraculously was healed. Jesus rewired his brain for sight. This brought glory to God.
Mark Batterson says in The Grave Robber that, “The will of God is the Glory of God.” I agree with this statement. Sometimes it is to God’s glory for a person to be healed from illness or disease. Sometimes God chooses to glorify Himself by not healing.
It is important to seek God out and ask for healing. We aren’t God, so our view of the purpose of the illness or disease will not be apparent most of the time. It will call for much prayer. What joy there is when God heals those that have no hope. Unfortunately, sometimes, those that ask for healing and receive it from God will often loose their faith that God was the source behind the miracle, and reason it was because of a new drug, good nutrition, or maybe even a mistaken first diagnosis. Careful here. Remember we are dealing with God’s favor. We are walking a dangerous line--not giving him the proper credit.
In the case of many diseases and illnesses, the glory of God is accomplished through the suffering of His saints. So you say, Debbie, I thought you said that God doesn’t like to see His children suffer? My answer here is that He doesn’t enjoy seeing them suffer, but He has a bigger plan than we can see. His ultimate goal is not our healing. It is His glory. He is God.
We have the example in scripture of Paul, possibly the most influential apostle. He asked God to heal him repeatedly, but God chose not to. Paul came to the understanding that he grew stronger in his character and his reliance on God through his affliction. As far as we know, Paul was never physically healed. This did not stop his witness for Christ. It made it stronger.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 “To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness….’”
It boils down ultimately to trusting God. We will have difficulties in life. It is a given. 1 Peter 4:12 tells us not to act surprised when we undergo painful trials.
“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.”
If you are going through a difficult time and God isn’t performing the miracle you want him to perform, fall back on what you know about God. God is good. Study about God’s character in scripture. Focus on who He is not on yourself. Remember not to let your circumstance come between you and God-that is doubt. Instead, put faith between you and your circumstance, knowing that God is in control, and rest there.