When it is God's Will to Suffer

As someone who has experienced Christ's healing power in my life at several occasions, I am a believer in God's healing power for today.

Working with many denominations over the past years of ministry, it seems very few Christians question whether or not God's healing power is still active today - the difference of opinion usually resides in how frequently those healings or miracles take place today.  Bottom line - no matter how much any Christian disagrees that God still heals today, in their moment of need they are praying that He will.

In the charismatic and pentecostal streams of the Church, multitudes claim they have personally encountered the miraculous in the Name of Jesus and become convinced.  

There can also be abuses, however, for these camps.  Some who God has used to heal the sick teach that all should be healed.  This would be wonderful, and in eternity ... will be so for those who trust in Christ, but the Bible shows us differently:

Isaac, one of the fathers of our faith, was so blind towards the end of his life, that he gave the wrong son the birthright.

Jacob was given a perpetual limp via a broken hip by none other than an angel of God.

Elisha received a double portion of Elijah's anointing, but eventually suffered from an illness in which he died.  Later, interestingly enough, his bones raised a dead soldier back to life.

Job doesn't need to be elaborated on.  The whole point of his Biblical story was that the righteous may at times suffer for no other reason than to please God.  The other point of his story is that whatever we go through, it will be worth it all in the end, and God will make it up to us.

Many of Paul's companions were sick (probably because of eating foreign foods & drinking foreign water) during their missionary travels.  Paul left Trophimus sick in Miletus.  He encouraged his chief mentee Timothy to drink more than water because of his stomach and frequent illnesses.  He himself suffered from a "thorn in his flesh," although scholars debate whether this was a physical ailment or not.  We can be assured that Paul, who had seen great miracles and healings, and his team prayed for companions like Timothy and Trophimus..  However, their are times when God's Sovereignty rules against His miracle power through the righteous prayers of His people, because he has something better in store - something eternal.

Out of the Twelve Apostles of Christ (those most dear to Him), eleven were martyred and died terrible deaths rather than deny their Lord Jesus Christ as the Way to the Father.  Only the Apostle John was delivered twice from martyrdom and died of old age in his nineties.

And if only for Jesus, our Lord, Who gave His life for us in cruel execution on the cross.  He calls all who follow Him to carry crosses daily.  Some of these crosses may be at times physical pain, persecution or sickness.

The Apostle Peter explains: "Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God ... Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And,"If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?" So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good." (1 Peter 4:1-2, 12-19, NIV).

Consider that all those who are healed in Jesus Name will eventually die.  God gives us His healing power to show us His love for us and to draw souls to greater faith in His saving power in Jesus for eternity's sake.  Yet, when we are still sick after prayer, we can trust that He has good reason and knows what's best for us.  We should remain humble and dependent on Him.  We should continue to pray for His healing power without wavering, yet with a childlike trust that He will Sovereignly care for all our needs, whether or not we see the miracle realized in our lifetime.