Occasionally I meet Christians who profess that believers should never get sick. In their view, illness stems from either sin, or natural causes unarrested by weak faith. You may have experienced sickness or prolonged disease and had someone imply your inability to get well was due to your lack of faith or unconfessed sin. Well let’s see what the New Testament has to say about this subject.
John 9:2,3—His disciples questioned Him: " Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"
"Neither this man nor his parents sinned," Jesus answered. "This came about so that God's works might be displayed in him.
At least forty-four times the New Testament references Jesus healing people whom He encountered. Sometimes the healing was so dramatic, like the man in John 9 who was born blind, that the skeptical religious leaders could only mutter, “Throughout history no one has ever heard of someone opening the eyes of a person born blind.”
On at least two occasions Jesus taught that the sick needed a doctor and He used a hypothetical illustration of being sick to judge the actions of those who either helped Him or ignored Him (Mat. 9:12; 25:36-44). Twice Jesus revealed that sickness was part of God’s plan either to reveal God’s power, as in the case of the meditation passage above, or to glorify Christ as in the raising of Lazarus from the dead (John 11:4-6). In at least two other instances, we discover that sickness at times can be directly attributed to God’s discipline for sin (1 Corinthians 11:29,30 and Revelation 2:21,22).
Jesus delegated authority to the disciples to heal people who were sick (Mat. 10:1,8). This authority continued after He returned to heaven (Acts 8:7). Healing also served as a sign demonstrating the power of God at work by His followers (Mark 16:17-19). Unfortunately, some use this passage in Mark improperly as a proof text for people to engage in questionable behavior to prove their legitimacy. The Bible also reveals that authority to heal is validated by faith on the part of the one needing healing. The implication is that if one does not believe healing is possible, that unbelief may prevent God from working. Clearly faith is an important aspect to healing (see Mark 5:28 and James 5:14,15).
However, just because someone remains sick does not prove insufficient faith. Not everyone ill in the Bible was healed as in the case of Timothy who was strong in faith yet suffered from stomach problems, and Trophimus, whom Paul left ill in Miletus (1 Timothy 5:23; 2 Ti. 4:20). God may allow sickness in a believer for a number of reasons: to show His power through our weakness; because germs, illness, demonic attacks and injury are a natural part of living in a fallen world; or because of sin and possible judgment.
When I am sick, I pray for God to heal me believing that His operational will is for me to function in good health. But I also am sensitive to discerning if it is possible that I am sick for a reason. I remember an instance in Thailand where after visiting a Buddhist Temple, I became so sick I was completely immobilized for a day. My teammates and family prayed for me and I recovered—but I believe that sickness was clearly a demonic attack brought on by my being in a place of spiritual darkness. My severe nearsightedness is a genetic reality and I need to wear contacts or glasses. While I would like the Lord to give me good eyesight, He has chosen to let me be legally blind. I have prayed for people to be healed and watched God miraculously heal them. I have prayed for people to be healed and yet as far as I could tell, nothing happened. In conclusion, there are many reasons for sickness. I believe our responsibility is to be humble, to believe that God can heal, to lay hands on and pray for those who are sick under the leading of the Holy Spirit, and to ensure what we believe is in line with what Scripture teaches. Never take one passage out of context from Scripture as a whole. Sickness happens. If you have Jesus you have eternal healing.
“It can never be God’s will that I should be sick.” If it was God’s will to bruise His own Son, why should He not bruise you?—Oswald Chambers in My Utmost For His Highest
©2010 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)