A friend of mine shared the plight of her friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer, underwent a mastectomy, but was still wracked with cancer, then AIDS and has been abandoned by friends.
How that this girl still holds on to the likelihood of healing (because she is convinced that she still has “work” to do for God).
Then it occurred me again as it has severally in time past that the Nigerian Church has not been very effective in grounding its members in the purpose of suffering within the context of the Christian life. That we don’t explain clearly what “the issue” could be, if God doesn’t heal us, in spite of our “faith”.
I ventured to help her in this, and the following was my attempt. I would appreciate your feedback.
There is so much to sort through in terms of what God really wants from and/or for us.
Most of the time, we have to work “backwards” to who God really is, because I think therein lies the crux of the matter, for if our view of God is twisted, then our view of his will, will be twisted.
There are many pitfalls in that journey of discovery. In fact, “discovery” isn’t an apt description; because discovery connotes a “prior” searching on our part but the Scripture says “no one seeks for God” (Romans 3:11)
What are we therefore to make of this indictment?
Well for one, it must mean all attempts at “searching” for God must be viewed with suspicion – with suspicion until and unless…
If it is true that no one “seeks” for God, it must mean that God has come up with ANOTHER WAY for us to have to confront the matter of who God is. And that way is, “Revelation.”
The Scriptures say that God is a “speaking God” and that for a long time, and at several times using diverse ways, he spoke to “our fathers” (well actually the Jewish Ancestors) through his prophets; but that all this speaking came to a “head” to a point when he “spoke” through the Son (Hebrews 1:2-3)
What he “spoke” through the son was clear, undiluted and unambiguous, so much so that the “Son” could say without equivocation that “if you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father” (John 14:8-11)
The Holy Apostles testified to this by calling him the “very image of the invisible God”. (John 1:18; Colossians 1:15).
So then, God is known and known clearly; so that, we are without excuse, if we , in spite of “overwhelming evidence”, choose to “misrepresent him.
Now God’s Son, that “exact image of God” has been CLEARLY revealed in one place and one place only- The Scriptures – Which is a collection of writings inspired by the Holy Spirit as he moved 40 or so men, from various walks of life, over a 1500 year period on 3 continents and in three languages.
(I said “clearly revealed” so as not to repudiate non-scriptural historical accounts that do not contradict the Scriptural historical accounts)
These Scriptures (writings) are the authoritative revelation of the Son of God, who is the exact image of the Father.
And there is NOWHERE ELSE that Christ is so clearly seen as in the Scriptures. (Luke 24:44-45; John 5:39; 2Timothy3:16-17; 2Pe 1:19-21)
So then, it is the responsibility of the saint to “rightly divide the word” (2Tim2:15) and reject every “misrepresentation of who God is, and what his will is (Matt 24:4)
I said ALL that to say this:
“There are several things God teaches us in Scriptures about his will, but one thing is clear, and that is the fact that God’s actions are not done in isolation of each other.
When God heals (and he can) it achieves an end that is much bigger than the “healing”. True for the man born blind, True for Lazarus, True for the man whose friends had to break a roof to bring to Jesus.
In the case of the man born blind, it was “So that the works of God might be displayed in him” (John 9:1-3)
In the case of Lazarus, so that “the people standing there may know that the Father sent Jesus” (John 11:40-44)
In the case of the paralytic, “so that the (Jews) may know the Son had authority on earth to forgive sins” (Matthew 9:1-8)
And when he doesn’t heal, it is not because the one desiring healing does not have sufficient faith; or is living in sin but there is a “bigger picture” God is presenting to us and we only need to trust him in the midst of the seeming “non resolution”. God’s acts in our lives are always for reasons that transcend us; let’s not miss the opportunities to “see” and glorify God in our “circumstances” (joyous or painful) by making those acts solely about us.
I know God can heal your friend, but I would rather we help her see the beauty of Christ who is “right there with her in the midst of her pain” and is waiting to receive her on the other side like he has done with countless faithfuls before her.