Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Is it god's will that we are healed?

OK blog friends. I'm really struggling with an issue here. So as I have often done, I'm going to throw a theological question out, and ask that you answer according to your beliefs.

Is it ALWAYS God's will that we are healed?

I came from a church that said it is ALWAYS God's will that we are healthy and prosper. If it's not the case, it's because we didn't pray in enough faith. It really put us in the position of performance.

I remember a devoted member of the church and mother of three was dying of cancer. Our pastor stood up and addressed the congregation and said "those of us not being healed must step up to the plate with our Faith....... If we are not being healed it's our own fault". This woman prayed and prayed, yet lost the battle. The church responded that God did his part, she must have not done hers. OUCH. Can you imagine the pressure she felt? She didn't have enough faith to live? I pity her children who are left to think Mommy died because she didn't pray hard enough.

Still, I KNOW God heals. He healed me. I had to walk out in faith to claim that healing. I called out verses that claimed God's will that we are all healed. Yet I still wonder...

I found this statement on a pro "it's God's will you are healed" website:

Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth (3 John 2). This verse clearly tells us that it is the will of God for His children to be in health. Since it is His will for us to be in health, it cannot - at the same time - be His will for us to be sick! It is God's will to heal you!

In James 5:14, God asks, Is any sick among you? To whom is He referring? He refers to any person who is sick! ANY - the same word He used when He said He is not willing that ANY should perish but that ALL should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). If salvation is for all who will repent, then healing is for all who will believe and act upon God's promise in James 5:14,15. Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith SHALL save the sick, and the Lord SHALL raise him up!

Bless the Lord, 0 my soul, and forget not all his benefits; Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases (Psalm 103:2,3). These benefits are for both soul and body - salvation and healing! Christ forgives ALL sins and He heals ALL diseases! So don't just remember some of His benefits, but claim all of them. Healing is the will of God for you!

It sounds good right?

Then I read from a web site that claimed that God sometimes heals... but only if it's in his will (which it's not always). Does God sometimes allow us to be sick, or poor, or martyred because the end result will best accomplish his will?

I do not agree that 'Jesus desires us to be healed of all our sickness'. His purposes are far higher than our desire for a quick fix to our problems. Having said that, it is also sometimes definitely the will of God to heal us and He still does so wonderfully today. But that is why He is our Heavenly Father, faithful through good and hard times. He knows what is best for us, even when we don't.

I think God has given us the book of Job to show that even for those whom He calls 'blameless and upright', He still allows them to suffer (and Job's suffering included physical sickness) if it is part of His plan for the individuals greater good. There are many other examples we could look at - even from the New Testament.

The Apostle Paul - it was because of a 'bodily illness' that he ended up preaching to the Galatians. There is no hint that it was against the will of God that this happened or that if Paul had just had more faith he wouldn't have got sick at all! (Gal 4:13)

Timothy - He suffered from frequent stomach problems. Again, when this is addressed by Paul, he doesn't say 'Timothy, you are out of God's will! Just believe and it will go away!' No, Paul takes a very practical stance in the matter and simply says 'Stop drinking only water and use a little wine.' (1 Tim 5:23)

Other examples could be mentioned like Tropimus (2 Tim 4:20) or Epaphroditus (Phil 2:25-30). But never is there anything in these examples to suggest that they shouldn't have been sick! Unfortunately, because of all the faith-prosperity fakes around, there is confusion on this issue within the church.

I'm confused. I don't know WHAT to believe. Both sides have such compelling arguments... both backed up with scripture. What do you think?


Mrs. Darling said...

This is a tough one which I have addressed several times on my blog. I did a book review for the book Does God still do Miracles? You can read the discussion by pasting this addy in your browser.

Mrs. Darling said...

OOps I clicked too soon. This book also spawned another discussion on my blog that you can read here:
In the comments are some very thoughtful answers. Hope you find something that answers your question!

Anonymous said...

That is too bad for that family that lost their mom. As if the sickness wasn't hard enough. I do believe our hearts need to be in the right place (ie. submitted to God) I believe God in His rich mercy uses illness to bring people closer and more like Him. He is far more interested in our relation between Him and the person than he is person to person. I am not saying he doesn't want us to "live at peace with all men". There are so many righteous people that suffered. But God seeing the big picture knows the benefits far out weigh the temporal. I believe it is God's desire to bring us to a place where we are completely dependent on Him alone. It is only after he brings us to the end or ourselves can He then live THROUGH us. Everything we have is "in" Christ, which Paul said through out his letters. When we are still full of others, stuff, cares of this world, fear, etc... we can't be used fully. My son went for his 4 year old check up. Upon examination, my dr felt his spine and said it is very curved and his shoulder blades were uneven. I had never noticed. She quickly sent us for x-rays. They confirmed the severity of his curve and I received a call the same day. They told me to get him to a specialist. Of course he couldn't be seen for 2 weeks so we prayed,anointed with oil, etc... My heart prayer was Lord if you chose not to heal Him, still I will praise you, but I will need your help in dealing with the pain. God did chose to heal him, but I truly believe the heart needs to be in the right place. I am sorry this is so long. It's not easy to answer in a couple sentences. I am looking forward to your other responses.
@hsb SeekingJesusnTeachingKids

Stacey said...

I don't believe anyone doesn't have enough faith to live--because in saying that, one would have to say my beautiful and faithful sister didn't have enough faith. No, that's not true, I know this.

Interesting topic, and what I'm reading from the website you linked and some of the discussion, it's a timely topic for the site I just plugged on my Because isn't it time we stopped trying to fit Scripture into our lives, stop trying to fit a verse into where we need it to work and actually step INTO Scripture and let it mold us, not mold the Scripture for us.

I'm not versed in all things biblical, I don't know where many of the books are, actually. I'm learning as I go. But one thing I am sure this: God doesn't want us to be sick, He doesn't want us to hurt, He doesn't want us to suffer. But He also knows when we are in our suffering, we turn to Him, our Father.

Halfmoon Girl said...

I absolutely believe that the Bible must be taken in whole, not verses taken out of context. I strongly believe that the health and prosperity movement does that. Frankly, I believe that they are wrong. wrong, wrong. The Bible does not support their opinions, not if you take those verses they use and put it into the context of the Scriptures as a whole. You brought up the same examples I was thinking of- Paul, Job, etc. God's ways are not our ways, neither are His thoughts our thoughts. I get royally ticked off when Christian leaders abuse their power and decide that they know how God is at work. In Romans, it says that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. God does not lay guilt trips- I hate that people are being told to have more faith in order to receive healing. Are we supposed to grow in our Christian walk? Yes. Can we do what ever we want? No. We are to confess our sins and strive to mature in Christ Jesus. We are to present our prayers and petitions to Him. Sometimes that includes asking for healing. Often He will grant those requests, other times He will not. We do not know His purposes or plans. I wish that more people would keep Jesus and the Word the main thing in their lives instead of condemning others for their walks. I do believe that pastors are meant to say things from the pulpit that are tough to say- when it is God inspired and falls in line with the Word. What you described the pastor doing in your post was clearly not of Him, and He will have to answer to God for that. Pastor's are held accountable for what they teach, according to Timothy. Apparently, I am not going to conclude this comment, but feel the need to go on ranting... I will stop now. Good post- obviously stirred up some stuff in me.

We decided to put our kids back in school in January as well. Your posts on your decision really spoke to my heart and got me praying and asking God about the same issue regarding what we were meant to do. We'll see what the future holds- it is in God's hands. I hope that I can leave it there.

His Girl said...

I agree with all the things halfmoongirl said. It was exactly what I had composed in my head before I read her post.

I have only one thing to add. All suffering that believers face on this earth is temporary. One way or another each of God's children will be healed. That comforts me all the time... especially when I'm wrestling with questions like the ones you are pondering.

Last point. Here's what I know for sure. God is good. He is not capable of doing anything less than what is Good. So, even if we don't understand, we can rest in the fact that He is on the throne.

javamamma said...

Wow, there's some good stuff in these comments. I don't have time to expand but I believe it's all about God being glorified.

I believe we should always pray and believe in faith for God to heal - because Jesus went around 'healing all who were oppressed'.

But we have to leave room for God to be glorified in WHATEVER WAY He can be. Sometimes that is through death or grace to live in the midst of pain and suffering. I believe God is a mystery - His ways are so much higher than ours and we will never figure Him out!

candi said...

You never disappoint with the hot topics!!
I believe that woman from your church was healed. We live in a fallen world, where sin and sickness exist, but we have a promise of a better place, where there will be no more sickness, no more tears, no more pain. When the bible speaks of faith and healing together I believe that it is speaking of heaven!! If we never got sick or had anything more than we can handle, why would we seek God? His power is made perfect in my weakness. Sometimes my faith is weak, often my faith is weak, and from that God steps in and displays his perfect power. Does he still heal?? ABSOLUTELY!! Should we still seek him for healing? ABSOLUTELY!!! Who's fault is it if we do not see that healing here in our temporary home? NO ONES!! God is in the business of drawing us to him, displaying his power and glory through us. It is his decision when and how to heal us. I will always believe that God purpose in my life is for good and prosperity, but I must remember that this is not my home. We live so often with such a small view of eternity. This is only a blink of all that God has for us (thankfully!). In such a "I want it now" society, it doesn't surprise me that people listen to those preachers, they feed them what itching ears want to hear. It really boils down to wrong theology. Not seeking the true God, but rather a god of our own understanding, which is idolatry.
Ok enough rambling. I will recommend a great book on theology. It is called, "Knowing God" by JI Packer.
I will end with a great quote by CS Lewis
“[If] you do not listen to Theology, that will not mean that you have no ideas about God. It will mean that you have a lot of wrong ones—bad, muddled, out-of-date ideas.” (C.S. Lewis; Mere Christianity).

EEEEMommy said...

Halfmoon girl really nailed it!
Truly, it's all about understand God's Word in the proper context!!!!!!
I believe that God is a God of miracles who still heals people today! And I believe that we should pray boldly according to God's will. But I have known some tremendous people of faith who have not been healed on this earth. And God has used their lives and their deaths and their funerals to draw people to Himself. God is in the business of sanctifying us. His promise is that, "All things will work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose..." Why? So that we would be conformed to the image of His Son. (Romans 8:28-29) The good that is mentioned here does not always look good on the outside. We can't always see the good in sickness, but the good is when we become more like Christ through the sickness. When people see that, they marvel, and God is glorified. It's a powerful witness, and God can use it to draw others to Himself. When you're focusing on the healing, you might just miss the miracle of transformation into the image of Christ. How sad! Man looks at the outside, and such men stand in judgment because the external results don't fit with their opinion and twisted interpretation of Scripture, but God looks at the heart. I'd rather trust in Him than them! Woe to them for condemning a dying mother and planting those lies in her husband and children's hearts!

"Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.
For momentary and light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison,
while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal." (2 Cor. 4:16-18)

Someday we will all be healed completely until then, we must trust that God has a wonderful plan for our lives and submit to His perfect will for us individually!

Scott said...

I suppose heaven would be a ghost town if people were always healed and never left this earth (died).

It's a huge topic, one with which I still wrestle. This life is just a prelude to the next. Kind of like those "waiting" areas at Disney World where you watch the videos and stuff until it's your groups to turn to enter the REAL ride. How sad to cling to the waiting room as if that's the more important part.

On the subject of prayer, though, to the untrained eye it appears that either God hears the prayers of only the most faithful and earnest, or else he's going to do what he wants regardless of our prayers. I don't know that I subscribe to either one. But I do know that he loves us and cares for us. When better do people sense God's love and comfort than in trials and tragedy?

Cindy-Still His Girl said...

So many great thoughts already here you probably don't need mine, but I'll dish them out anyway. :)

I've been told the same thing; that if someone dies of cancer it is because they didn't believe enough. I don't believe it for a second. We are ALL going to die sometime and the majority of us will die of something God could have healed us from. Because sin entered the world, we are a broken people, and sickness is one of the results.

Clearly, we are to pray fervently, and I pray for healing for people constantly. But I also know HE is the one who can choose whether or not to heal. It ISN'T our decision or in our power... it is by HIS power. Why would we need a God if we had the power over life and death?

He can use ANYTHING- including death- for His glory. Watching my friend die this fall after THOUSANDS of prayers, I am 100% confident that she did not die because she didn't have enough faith. That's ridiculous. And her death---which really is her ULTIMATE healing--- has brought forth incredible fruit.

Anonymous said...

Great comments already but I wanted to let you know that I've seen God accomplish mighty things through people dying. We've had some godly men and women die of Cancer at our church and their witness as they lived through this was amazing. A father of 2 (ages 8&6) just died of non-hodgkins lymphoma last week. He found out during the summer and passed a week ago. He was sharing Christ with the Dr.'s and hospital workers! He asked visitors who came to see him what he could do for them or asked if he could pray for them! How many lives were touched and changed by his dying? He is "home" for Christmas this year (as my pastor said) but what an impact for Christ he left behind. Remember that Paul was afflicted with the thorn in his side and it was not taken from him. God isn't a magic genie there to fix things when we rub the lamp hard enough or long enough. We have to go through things sometimes that don't make sense to us. I do know that when I am in the midst of trial that He seems closer and is more in focus for me. The distractions fade away because at the bottom all you can do is look up.

ByHISgoodGrace said...

Hello. I love everyone's comments. I am in agreement so far...
I went to a charismatic church for years and believed the "health and wealth gospel" for far too long--until I started studying the Bible!! When I found out that "by his stripes, we are healed" was actually talking about taking away our sins, I was blown away. I can't tell you how many times I've heard that verse used when people thought the power to heal could come out their hands!
I think when people say others' faiths weren't strong enough--you have to ask, "do you believe in God's Sovereignty?" Because--if you do, you would know that nothing my miniscule little mind could ever think or desire could ever change His Sovereignty. I am nothing, He is everything. How dare I even think that my faith could control God. I do believe He hears my prayers, I do believe our prayers are effective. But, God is not a puppet, He's not there to move at my disposal and if and only if I say the right words with the right attitude. In His Mercy and Grace, He chooses what to do. If He chooses to heal, amazing! If He chooses to take someone home--so be it, but it's Him who defines it. I believe in miracles--I had a cousin who was told he would never ever walk at age 19, six months later he began to walk.
I don't believe in "healing ministries" but I do believe that God answers our maybe they should just be called prayer ministries...Karli, I always take up way too much space on your comment's page!!! This is one of those subjects I'm passionate about because I was deceived for so long, I am so thankful to know the truth...

carrie said...

My Belief is that God WILL heal us. Ya know why? Because in heaven there is no sickness, no death, etc etc etc. So yeah, eventually we'll be healed. That is where any of the scriptures lead to that talk about healing. I believe He does heal while we walk the earth, but I don't think it's an always kind of thing. I mean, for example if someone has cancer, and they have to go in for treatments, if they have an atheist doctor or nurse who sees that this person isn't sad and sobbing and all "oh poor pitiful me" because they KNOW that God wants more for them, then maybe THAT illness will be used for GOOD because it'll reach ONE MORE PERSON. And that person might not be reached if it weren't for that person being sick.

I'm bipolar. I hate being told to have more faith so that I can be healed. I want to beat people that tell me that. I have asked God to heal me and asked and asked and about 5 years ago, after the birth of my son, when the depression nailed me full on again, I cried out to Him. "Father God WHY???????" His response was clear as day, "I am. I am all you need, and I can use you no matter what." At that point I knew what to do. I just have to hang on to Him at all times. When I'm up I can praise Him, when I'm down I praise Him, or at least I try to remember He IS in control. And I get to know people who I wouldn't know if I weren't bipolar.

Was that long enough? hehe...

carrie said...

Despite the scriptural evidence that God always heal and prospers and all that, we should always look at godly people in scripture to see if that's the case.

There have been loads of examples of sick believers that even died from illness. I've know several in my lifetime whose faith couldn't be greater that have passed on from cancer. And what about all the poor in destitute countries that are so on fire for God that they put us to shame: we who have more stuff than they'll ever see in one lifetime?

I'm not much for quoting scripture, but I have been to churches that preach claim this and that and if you get sick or poor it's your fault. Well, it's just not true. To say all that would be putting a restraint on Almighty God that would depend on us for Him to work.

I don't think so.

Gayle @ thewestiecrew said...

Without reading the other comments first (because I may lose my train of thought) I will say that the argument that we will be healthy if we are faithful enough seems to be doused immediately with the fact that we ALL die! You have to be sick to die, right? Not everyone is healed. Why don't we call into question the faith of the 86 year old man who has served Christ with fervor when he finally dies of old age? Is His faith somehow more than that of the 30 year old Mom who dies of cancer?
It seems as if this is a works based theology. If I abc, than God is obligated to xyz.
That leaves out grace and the sovereignty of God in my opinion.
Ok, off to read the other comments.

Kimmie said...

Does God desire to heal us, yes, it is always his plan for us (or his will), no.

He desires us to be obedient to him, to follow him, to know his voice (his sheep know his voice), and he desires to use us to bring him glory. (this is not an exhausted list, but some of the big ones, that came to mind).

Karlie, I know you are a girl who hears from God...have you asked him this see what he has to say? It won't contradict his Word-but he might be able to 'bring it home' to you, so that you can not walk in confusion, but rest with confidence in His peace and understanding.

Really, it always about Him and not about us. Do we trust him-even if he doesn't heal us- will we follow him regardless? Will we chose to give him glory even if it hurts?

Let's face it...if anything is left to us...we are in trouble and certainly God knows that much better than we do ;-), right?

big hugs;
Merry Christmas!

mama to 6
one homemade and 5 adopted

Paul Tuanakotta said...

My wife just recently died of cancer on Christmas Eve.

We've been strugling with the disease for 8 years. And it was during those years we found God and learn so much about Him and His grace.

There were times when we strugle with issues like this topic but I convinced that in the end, God knows what best for us.

She died at the age of 36. We have one adorable nine years old daughter. And I'm very much praise the Lord that she's very strong throught this troubling times. She keeps on praying and keeps on saying to me that she knows that we have to be strong and keep the joy in our hearts.

You can visit my blog to see photos of my daughter, one of the photos was used on my church's monthly magazine.

There's one thing I want to ask though, we know that Isaiah 53:4 talk about healing from the disease of sin, but what about Matthew 8:17?

Regards from Indonesia...

Mike said...

Thank you so much for this post. I just found you on Google. I have been in discussion with another blogger at Imrah Ministries. I find your post excellent and balanced.