As someone who was diagnosed with cancer last year as well as someone who heads up a group for people with chronic illness here at CB, I hear a lot about faith. A lot.
I'm going to be very, very frank here. It is hard enough to deal with a chronic disease even when you are walking it with God and a multitude of wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ as well as family and friends. Many people do not have that sort of support. However, I have to say it is even more difficult when brothers and sisters in Christ tell you it is your fault God has not healed you and you are sick.
It usually is not said like that of course. Usually we are told that we need to trust God more. If we trusted God more, we wouldn't battle chronic illness anymore, ever. Another suggestion is that we have sin that needs to be repented of. I'd like to say that I believe that most, if not all of the time such remarks are made with the best of intentions. We love someone and we want to see them healed. We want to do whatever we can to help them. I'm also going to say that occasionally someone does need to trust God enough to ask Him to heal them. Sometimes the "attic" does need to be cleaned out. We know that things such as unforgiveness/bitterness can actually cause physical stress which can cause the body to breakdown and not function like it should. However, we should be very careful in suggesting these things are the reason the individual is ill.
I have followed Christ for 41 years. During that time I have seen and experienced many miracles. Yes, miracles. Miracles of healing and deliverance and miracles of deliverance. When I was in college, I drove for over a week on an empty tank of gas. Yeah, it dropped below empty at the beginning of the week. I lived off campus outside of town and my roommate was broke too. We laid hands on my car and prayed because the needle on my gas gauge dropped below empty about nine days before I'd get any money. I'd run out of gas before so I knew...it was pretty much empty.
We prayed constantly as I drove us back and forth to school, around town on errands and back and forth to church three times. I must have put on about 200 miles or more on my '78 Dodge Aspen (V8 with a 318 engine and CA emissions) which got 15 miles to the gallon. We started getting really excited after the first 100 miles! I prayed when I picked up my check and cashed it and prayed as I headed to the gas station. Yeah....it was definitely empty...according to how much I'd put in. Besides, I'd driven over 500 miles since I filled up last. I had a 20 gallon tank. You do the math. Cars like that just did not get 25 miles to the gallon in town.
It would have been very, very exciting for God to have plucked out my tumor as they were viewing it. Wouldn't that have been something! Do I believe God could have done that? Absolutely! If I didn't have faith in God, I wouldn't be running a survivors group here which focuses on prayer and encouragement. I wouldn't write blogs about faith. Instead I probably would be telling people not to waste their time with God and probably would not be here.
When prayer requests for healing are posted here at CB, often the first people I see posting are those who I know battle chronic illness. These people don't have faith? If they didn't have faith in God, they wouldn't be doing it. You see, I happen to know that their faith, like mine, is not based on "healing", it is based on God. This means that if God says yes and instantaneously the person is healed, we praise God! If God says wait or not until you reach heaven, we praise God still for He is still the Lord God our Healer and He will give us what we need when we need it.
When I was a child, we used to sing this song called "Living By Faith":
It is one thing to have faith when you see the final outcome. It is another thing to have faith while you're still walking in the darkness.
May we all live by faith...no matter what!
That's right K! There's encouragement that builds faith and judgement that tears it down. The latter comes in the most well meaning guises (the former, from a heart of love and compassion). We really cannot presume to judge that we know why someone is sick or how someone can be healed. We can really only know the Healer.
Unless it is truly by prophetic discernment or a gift of knowledge, anyone who has ideas about how and why someone has a chronic illness running through their head really ought to take those thoughts captive. No one plans to be ill, sometimes it just happens and unless we have been in the same shoes we really cannot truly appreciate how it feels to be in that battle. We don't know what it takes until we've been tested and we don't know whether we can get through it unless we have been through it ourselves. How do you know you'd pass if you have never been tested?
Those who have been victorious over the darkest circumstances (such as you) have only done so through total dependence on Christ - now that's Faith! And you are now being a comfort to others facing the similar circumstances and that brings glory to God. Keep it up sister!
I agree with Kreynolds and Kiwibird that we should not judge why a person remains sick or in a difficult situation.
I would add that I would cease praying for a miracle or for a resolution which I believe God can do , when
I know it is against the will of God for that person i.e. the person knows that it is God's will for him/her to be in that situation with a lesson to be learnt and tells me so, or they know it is time to leave this earth for their work here is completed or they have had enough of pain and suffering and would like to be released from life here. Here I will pray for the grace of God to be upon them.
the party(ies) concerned e.g. for marriage reconciliation or for family issues to be resolved, themselves refuse to pray and turn to God. In that case, I will pray instead for their salvation first even against their wish, because many have been the miracles, healings, deliverances, resolutions I have seen resulting from fervent and answered prayer once they accept Christ.
There is so much we don't understand in this life that it behooves us to walk in trust and live by faith. Even those of us who have studied the Bible for years are at a loss to explain why certain things happen to certain people and not to others. All we can do is walk the best we know how and look to people such a Job to as an example at times.
The book of Job is a very long and difficult book to understand, yet God saw fit to put in in the middle of the Old Testament, right before the Psalms, to help us get through periods of suffering. Even when there appears to be no answers as to "why" things are taking place; our absolute faith and trust in God will and can carry us through.
Sooner or later we all are going to depart this life so logically sooner or later the effectual fervent prayers for the sick won't work. But, until then, thank God He has seen fit to provide the avenue for seeing healing many times take place and that is through prayer.
Very deep and important subject and thank you for bringing it up. In all things dealing with this subject, compassion and love are most important and not so much the zeal for immediate results. Sometimes healing just takes time and there is no way to speed it up.
yeah.. there are miracles when it come to the lord. And someone very nice told me today on this blog that the lord does not forgive based on conditions but he forgives. FULLSTOP. He can see past our words, and our deeds. He has faith in us and love and anything can happen if you have him in your heart. Its true.. I experienced a miracle today because of him. He sees each tear that falls and hears us when we call. He is our saviour, our guidance to life. And with faith, hope, love, peace, justice, forgiveness in your heart you just keep heading on. The lord will always be there for you no matter what happens.
Ah Yes, How many times have I been accused of not having enough faith for healing concerning my son.
Actually this teaching of faith=physical healing is very distressing at times.
I remember once when my friend lay dying in hospital, we were told that if we had enough faith she would live... she died! For years I honestly believed that a lack of faith on my behalf was the cause of her death. Whereas the truth was, that God had a different plan. But through that teaching we were totally unprepared for her death and the spiritual fallout from it.
But does my son suffer through my lack of faith? Once when we were in a very dark tunnel, I sat at his bedside in hospital. I held his hand as my son sat on the edge of life,and prayed for his healing, and i prayed not my will but yours.. and I worshipped.
Yes, even when the world is dark, when the outcome is not as we would want, its faith that takes us through and its faith that causes us to say.. you give and take away, blessed be your name.