We need to be aware that human impossibilities are God's opportunities. Nothing
is impossible to God, not even to heal the most impossible disease!
Jer 32:17 "Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you."
Luke 18:27 "Jesus replied, "What is impossible with men is possible with God.""
The best example of this is Jesus during His ministry on earth. It is clear that He had both the power and the authority to heal any infirmity, and He gave that power to His followers:
Luke 9:1-2 "When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick." NIV
There were situations where Jesus could not perform many miracles.
Matt 13:58: "And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith."
Jesus could not perform miracles in Nazareth because the people there lacked faith!
There were also situations when Jesus' disciples were unable to heal:
Matt 17:19-20: "Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, "Why couldn't we drive it out?" He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, `Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.""
Here too, it was due to lack of faith, though not from the receiver's end this time, but from the giver's end: the disciples themselves. So, it is possible that healing cannot happen if either the healer or the one to be healed lack faith in our all-loving Heavenly Father.
But does this mean that all those who are not healed lack faith? Not at all! It is not always God's will that everyone be healed. The Bible is quite clear on that subject. Many Christians and non-Christians were never healed in the Bible. Here are some examples:
Paul had the ability to heal: Acts 28:8-9: "His father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him. When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured."
Yet in spite of this, not everyone who was sick was healed by Paul. For example,
2 Tim. 4:20-21 "Erastus stayed in Corinth, and I left Trophimus sick in Miletus."
Another example was Timothy, Paul's spiritual son, who had problems with his stomach and other ailments. Paul's remark to Timothy?
1 Tim 5:23 "Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses."
Paul himself was plagued with a "thorn in the flesh", and he reports that learning that trusting in God was more important than being healed (this is a lesson we all need to learn!).
2 Cor 12:7-10 "To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
This may seem a contradiction to our other articles. God has healed you, however it isn't always to one's advantage to be relieved of the sickness symptoms immediately. We are all ultimately healed in Jesus, thanks to what He did for you 2000 years ago (1 Peter 2:24-25 "He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed." NIV), and will benefit His rewards for sure in heaven.
Why are people like Joni Eareckson Tada quadriplegic for life? A diving accident in 1967 had left her unable to use her hands. Although an ardent believing Christian, she never recovered from these symptoms and learned how to paint with a brush between her teeth. She has been an inspiration to all of us and especially to those who are handicapped. Suffering is not reserved for the unsaved only!
When Jesus was asked about current events, Jesus always answered with compassion. Once He was asked about the political oppression from certain Roman soldiers who slaughtered members of a religious minority. His answer was to the point:
Luke 13:2-3 "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish." NIV
He made people aware that suffering is not caused by people being "worse sinners" than others. Suffering can befall on anyone living on this sinful planet. He also never answered fully the question about the cause of suffering. However He pointed out to eternal truths relevant to anyone listening to Him "unless you repent, you too will all perish!" and followed this with a parable about God's restraining mercy.
When questioned about a catastrophe that killed 18 people, he answered again with the same eternal truth.
Luke 13:4 "Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them-do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish." NIV
None of us have any advantages over anyone else. We all live in a sinful world, and we can all suffer from the catastrophes of this world. In fact, all of us are facing the ultimate doom of this life: death! And unless we repent and accept God in our lives, we will "all perish"! A tragedy should alert us of our current condition. A catastrophe is a call to repentance to all of us touched by it, and reminds us how short our lifespan is.
Be aware that God's creation suffers as well.
Rom 8:21-23 "The creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now." NKJV
It longs to be free from suffering, and awaits Jesus' coming!
Suffering makes us aware that there is something terribly wrong in our world. We need outside intervention for this problem. The answer is found in Jesus who died on the cross, so that anyone who believes in Him will have eternal life. You can have the solution as well my friend.
If you have Jesus as your friend, you will be able to say with the apostle Paul:
Rom 8:18 "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." NIV
How did Jesus feel about suffering? When hearing about His friend's Lazarus' death and experiencing people mourning for him, John 11:35 "Jesus wept." NIV John 11:33 "He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled." NIV
My friend, when you are suffering, Jesus is suffering as well. When you are weeping, He is weeping as well. When you are suffering, He is not abandoning you. In fact, He is closer to you than ever. His promise stands: Matt 28:20 "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." NIV
Trust in our Lord, even if death is at your door. Communicate with your Savior and know that He will never abandon you, and remember the advice found in James 5:16: "The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective."
Let us conclude with a quote from Philip Yancey's book The Jesus I Never Knew, p. 274:
"Because of the cross, I have hope. It is through the Servant's wounds that we are healed, said Isaiah-not his miracles. If God can wrest such triumph out of the jaws of apparent defeat, can draw strength from a moment of ultimate weakness, what might God do with the apparent failures and hardships of my own life?
Nothing-not even the murder of God's own Son-can end the relationship between God and human beings. In the alchemy of redemption, that most villainous crime becomes our healing strength.
The fatally wounded healer came back on Easter, the day that gives a sneak preview of how all history will look from the vantage point of eternity, when every scar, every hurt, every disappointment will be seen in a different light. Our faith begins where it might have seemed to end. Between the cross and the empty tomb hovers the promise of history: hope for the world, and hope for each one of us who lives in it."
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