How we look at sickness shows a lot about our personal view of God and the world in general. Many times we want to know why things happen to us. Yet, I find that we may never know the answer to that question. We see one person miraculously recover while another suffers in pain. Death seems to rain down on the “just” and the “unjust.” I recently had two interesting discussions with fellow Christians about two separate incidents involving sickness. In one situation, my friend “T” dealt with a bad case of kidney stones. Because he did not seek medical treatment at first (guys never like to go to the doctor) and got bad care from a physician when he finally did go, T suffered one of the hardest trials in his life. He tried every spiritual thing imaginable.
From intense times in prayer to Biblical meditation, he went on full spiritual assault. But nothing seemed to work. Finally, he went to a doctor who tried to ascribe a psychological diagnosis. T knew this was not right. When he got a second opinion, the doctor properly diagnosed the problem. A simple surgery ended what had been a horrible trial for my friend.
In T’s circumstance, the solution lied with medicine. Sometimes we can look for spiritual causes to things when God wants to do something in the physical. And, of course, visa versa. T’s ordeal gave him a very practical experience that will help him know how to minister to others better in the future. The experience helped make T more like Jesus. God used this physical pain and trial to forge a spiritual transformation in my friend.
In a completely separate situation, a friend, “K” asked me about a person we knew who is suffering through cancer. We were talking about how different friends were praying various things for the man. K asked me what I would do if I were to pray for him. I told K that I would not assume what I should pray. Instead, I would ask the Holy Spirit to guide my prayer and listen to see what the Spirit placed on my heart. And if I was to pray in person with the man, I would ask him what he believed and how he would like for me to pray. I would seek to meet him at his level of faith. In this way, I would serve him and help to support his spiritual journey.
Some people tend to want to pray for immediate healing. Other people are more “practical” and pray for strength or for treatment to work. I don’t know that there is one right answer. When we look at the miraculous healings that Jesus did, He left us no pattern. He interacted with people in different ways. Some people he never saw. Others he touched or instructed them to do things in faith.
According to the New Testament, Jesus did heal everyone He touched. But, of course, He did not touch everyone. I believe Jesus was careful not to give a three step plan to healing because He wanted us to be led by the Holy Spirit not a set plan that always seems to work.
The question of sickness and healing continues to be one of the greatest mysteries to me. I know God can do anything. I know that the prayer in faith will accomplish much. Yet, I do not understand why some prayers seem to go unanswered.
Sometimes there are no easy answers, and in those cases, we have to believe that God knows what He is doing. All we can do is be as faithful to what the Spirit lays on our hearts as possible, and we have to then trust God to do the rest.