I have for some time now found myself burdened. Mentally and emotionally and even more importantly spiritually burdened. Actually, if I am completely honest, I find that I am, despite my best efforts, rapidly losing my joy. And in so doing I find myself being tempted to isolation once more.
Not because of my mental health issues or my lack of good physical health – although I openly accept that these do of course play a part in it all – but because I am truly saddened when something as wonderful and as amazing as the gift of healing is corrupted, misunderstood and erroneously applied or taught.
Do I believe in praying for healing? That God does and can heal? Yes absolutely I do! I don’t think you can fully understand and know Christ or be a Christian without believing in healing.
But do I believe that He will heal every time a Christian prays for healing? That it is every Christian’s divine right to be healthy this side of heaven? That God desires believers to be healthy 100% of the time whilst we are on this earth? Absolutely not!
“And by His stripes we are healed” Are words taken from Isaiah 53:5 and which are so often spoken in this regard. They are also words that I have heard so many times over the past few weeks. Words all too often spoken immediately prior to the “you know God loves us all and desires for us all to be fully healthy” statement. A statement which saddens me so very deeply.
What then, if – as is all too often suggested God wants us to be immediately healed of our current or long-term illness – what then, when the prayer and the healing is not immediately granted? What then do I take from this?
That somehow God does not love me because He has chosen not to heal me?
That there is something wrong with me? Or with my faith?
That the prayer or the person praying or I myself am somehow unacceptable to God?
That my illness is somehow bigger than God?
NO! Of course not! Although they are each totally understandable conclusions given the original suggested erroneous premise that God always wants us immediately healed and healthy.
What of Job? Who was visited with boils and sores and whose wife asked “Dost thou still retain thine integrity?” and who suggested that he “curse God, and die.” (Job 2:9 KJV) Yes, what of Job who responded, “Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10 KJV)
And what of Paul who had a thorn in the flesh and who prayed for it to be removed three times and who received the answer, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” and who responded, “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9 KJV)
And there within lies the truth does it not? And there within lies such beauty and such grace! For in both Job and Paul’s responses there is; humility, and service, and faithfulness and God is trusted and served and glorified.
As I said at the start of this post, “I have for some time now found myself burdened. Mentally and emotionally and even more importantly spiritually burdened. Actually, if I am completely honest, I find that I am, despite my best efforts, rapidly losing my joy. And in so doing I find myself being tempted to isolation once more.”
But I know that isolation is not His will for me either, and so I fight against it and I do all that I can to hold onto the Joy that He has granted me.
But here’s the deal! If Christ is truly sovereign than He must be sovereign both in my health and in my sickness. Will I be healed? Absolutely I believe that I will and I absolutely trust in Him for both the realization of that and the timing of it!