The ideas expressed here may be controversial for some - they're intended to be.
The idea is to get you thinking about why you believe what you believe, and generate a bit of discussion.
Many blogs offer devotional inspiration, I want to offer theological inspiration.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Sick and Tired of Healing?

I'm what you would call broadly evangelical. Liberals would regard me with suspicion and the extreme right-wing would think I'm a wishy-washy liberal. I certainly believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the healing power of God, but the 'believe-and-you-shall-receive' wing of the Church don't understand or cope very well with illnesses that don't disappear the instant hands are laid on them. Usually, the sufferer is the one who takes the blame.

For any evangelical Christian, suffering a long-term illness often adds an extra burden of guilt and questioning. 'Why aren't I better? Don't I have enough faith? Do I have some hidden sin? Is God trying to tell me something? The questions go on and on and can leave you feeling a bit of failure as a Christian. For me, now, these are non-questions. I almost hear God saying to me, "Tim, what on earth are talking about? You're trying to find answers to questions that don't need asking. I am no less with you when you are ill that when you are well - what else do you need?"

We've got so obsessed with health and healing that there is an unsettling perfectionist, almost eugenic feeling to it. It's as though to be a proper Christian with real faith you must be in perfect health. Anything less than perfect implies a lack of faith, spiritual weakness or worse, sin. What message does that say to an amputee, someone suffering a mental illness, facial disfigurements, or any of the congenital illnesses that are often conveniently ignored by faith healers.

The trouble is, the health-prosperity gospel often turns a blind-eye to the realities of what it means to be a fallible human being, whereas I believe what the Gospel shows us is that God doesn't. I had three years of Charismatic evangelical teaching at a Bible college straight after becoming a Christian, but it's taken me all the years since then to learn what it means to be a vulnerable, imperfect human being in a relationship with a loving God who completely understands our frailty and flaws. It's taken me all that time to realise the simple truth that sickness does not necessarily equal sin or lack of faith. Sometimes people just get ill - one look at the number of faithful preachers and ministers who have died of cancer ought to tell you that.

I look at suffering and healing in a completely differently now. I understand it in the light of the Grace of God balanced with the need for humans to have free will and live in universe where free will is possible. I praise God for every miracle of healing that takes place and will continue to pray for and lay hands on the sick and suffering, but, for me, the difference being a Christian has made in my illness is the certain knowledge that God is with me THROUGH my illness. Knowing God is with me, every single moment, even when I can't pray, or think and all I can manage is watching day-time TV, is a genuine source of strength, peace and hope.

This is the miracle Jesus offers to every Christian, sick or healthy. It's the miracle that all you need to do to know the presence of God in your life is simply to trust that He is there for you, unqualified and without condition.

2 comments:

  1. MUITO BOM! Eu acredito que Deus criou o homem e deixou o manual de
    instrução, a “BÍBLIA SAGRADA!” A bíblia é a divina revelação da palavra de
    Deus e não produtos enlatados, eu costumo dizer que: “As pessoas precisam
    parar de comer tudo o que dão. E começar a questionar! ” Alguém escuta
    alguma coisa de alguém, e saem falando, sem questionar, sem saber se é
    verdade ou não. As pessoas precisam se perguntar! Será que a minha crença
    esta de acordo com a lei de Deus? Será que a religião que eu nasci sempre
    me falou a verdade? Quando uma pessoa morre pra onde ela vai? Ela volta? A
    bíblia apóia o homossexualismo? Quem não herdara o reino de Deus? O que
    devo saber sobre idolatria, imagens e escultura? O que devo saber sobre o
    único batismo? Será que tem uma seqüência para salvação? A quem eu devo me
    confessar, quem pode me perdoar? Religião salva alguém? Essas e outras
    perguntas e respostas em:
    www.aunicaverdadeemsuapropriabiblia.blogspot.com
    Você pode dizer, eu já sou salvo amém! Vamos atrás de quem não esta, “Se
    você quer se dar bem com o mundo seja hipócrita, mas se você quer se dar
    bem com Deu seja verdadeiro!” divulgue este site, porque: “Eis que vêm
    dias, diz o Senhor Jeová, em que enviarei fome sobre a terra, não fome de
    pão, nem sede de água, mas de ouvir as palavras do Senhor. E irão
    vagabundos de um mar até outro mar, e do norte até ao oriente; correrão por
    toda parte, buscando a palavra do Senhor, e não a acharão." ( Amós cap 8
    ver 11 e 12 )Fale para outras pessoas, por que “O Senhor não retarda a sua
    promessa, ainda que alguns têm por tardia: mas é longânimo para convosco,
    não querendo que alguns se percam, senão que todos venham a arrepender-se.”
    (II Pedro cap. 3 ver 8) e “Que quer que todos os homens se salvem, e venham
    ao conhecimento da verdade.

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  2. Hi Tim, I read you post on 'Sick and tired of healing' . I understand where you coming from. I probably have similar strands in my past experience with tranditional/charismatic churches. Forget about healing for a moment: the real question is what do you base your faith on? Experience, the bible, the understanding of the bible or a mixture of the two. The bible says there is no condemnation for us who believe. So to be clear even if we don't get healed because of our lack of faith, God still loves us, look at us with pleasure and joy. On the other hand insight into the word and the work of Christ will show you clearly that God, wants us well, (are not willing) but has ALREADY healed us in Christ. We by faith appropriate it as we appropriate forgiveness, provided by His Grace, so we appropriate healing provided by His Grace. I know this might be difficult to swallow, but it's biblical and does not put God in a (human perceived position ) where He heals one person and skips another. I would greatly suggest you listen to Andrew Wommack's teaching on this as few people have a truly bible based understanding of this - where ever they stand. www.awmi.net
    kind Regards
    Gabriel Kolbe

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