I'm listening to the New Testament on Audio and working my way through the Gospels, and one thing I'm noticing is how often Jesus healed people and delivered them of demons. In fact, I can't find a single place where He refused to heal someone. Yet, today, when I look around at my fellow Christians, I see so many of them sick and dying. It doesn't make sense to me. I mean, look at what the Scriptures say about healing the sick:
Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. James 5:14
And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well Mark 16:17-18
I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. John 1:12
I've been talking to God about this and asking Him to reveal to me what's going on. Here's some ideas that have come to me as I've meditated on this question.
- Much of the church in America preaches that the miracles of the New Testament ended with the Apostles (though I can find no scriptures to validate that) Consequently, people lack the faith to truly believe God can heal them.
- God can use an illness to get a person's attention if they are straying from Him or getting involved in something that will cause them much pain.
- God may give someone an infirmity in order to humble that person (This happened to Paul in 2 Corinthians 12)
- God can allow someone to become ill as a means to usher them into Heaven (not such a bad deal)
- God can use a sickness for His glory when the person endures it with faith, patience and joy. (Although I cannot believe God would allow this illness to continue during the person's entire life)
- God can allow someone to become ill so He can heal them, thus bringing others to Him who witnessed the miracle. (John 9:3)
- If a person lives a lifestyle where they don't eat right and don't exercise, they will suffer the consequences of those choices with poor health. In that case, they should not expect God to heal them. This is an important distinction and one we all should take to heart. There are consequences to all our actions and God often allows us to suffer them.
What do you think? I'm curious to hear other's opinions. Have you witnessed a healing miracle? If so, I'd love to hear about it.