As a physician with years of experience in the healing ministry, I have witnessed the healing of thousands of grateful patients. The vast majority of these would be classified as assisted-healing, resulting from medications given or surgical procedures done by me or one of my colleagues. A small number of patients whom I observed were super-naturally healed in such a way in which no scientific explanation for their healing could be given. There were some who remained sick; however despite the best efforts of the physicians involved and the fervent prayers offered by spiritual friends and pastors. The over-riding question is this: “Why does God choose to heal some while others remain sick?” That question becomes intensely personal when I am the one who is ill or it is a loved one who remains sick. I can become bitter and angry toward God who appears to have abandoned me; or I can trust in His sovereign love for me and purpose to allow Him to teach me His will in and through this sickness. This is a critical crossroads of faith, and the lessons to be learned are better received in the light of good health rather than the dark shadows of an illness. How can I be so certain my Savior the Lord Jesus Christ loves me; He knows how badly I am hurting, and He wants the best for me? I must be prepared to take a stand on His inerrant Word and trust what He says in His Word He will accomplish.
The rapid advances in medical science, particularly over the past 10 years, have caused many to believe there is a scientific explanation for every illness. Further, we are confident a cure will result when the correct diagnosis is made and the proper treatment given. There is little credibility given, at this point, to the sovereignty of God over our health; at least not until there is a treatment failure. In prolonged illness I have heard many say, “Where is God now that I need Him?” There are many passages in the Word, such as Jeremiah 29:11-13 and Hebrews 4: 5-16, in which God plainly declares His never-failing love and concern for His children who are ill. He tells us to come boldly to His throne of grace for help when all else has seemingly failed. Regarding His presence, He promises in Hebrews 13: 5, that He is always present and He never forsakes us. When we are caught in the despair of failing health, and the uncertainty of our future, it is comforting to know our God is not only present, but is in control, and wants only the best for us.
There are truths about our lives and health which we will never fully understand. For instance, why am I being afflicted with an intolerable illness, when I have purposed to love and serve God, while others who seem to mock God, are perfectly healthy? Why do I seem to be facing so many closed doors when an open door to good health would bring me such happiness? Do I have so much sin in my life God is punishing me to teach me a lesson, and He simply just doesn’t want me to be happy? It is here I must trust in Romans 8:28-29, with confidence that God is at work in my sickness. He will work it out for my good; and what seems like a closed door to me, is really an open door for Him to work in and through me.
It is possible to have a rejoicing spirit toward God and an attitude of praise in this difficult place. In II Cor. 12:7-10, the Apostle Paul relates, “The thorn in the flesh given to him” was an opportunity to glory in God’s goodness to him, because the strength of Christ could then work through his own weakness. God’s promise is He uses every event in our lives to help us grow stronger and have more of the character of Christ. He further reinforces this truth in II Cor. 4:17-18, stating “our light affliction which is but for a moment,” is working an eternal purpose in us. We are challenged to keep our eyes on the eternal purposes of God and not on the temporal afflictions which have happened.
It is not an easy thing to be sick and to suffer heart-ache with no apparent relief in sight; but our God who lives in us and loves us more than we can imagine will bring comfort and peace to our wearied minds. At the same time with no extra charge He will put a new song in our heart and on our lips, and many will hear it and give glory to Him who desires the very best for us! (Psalm 40: 3)