The Jesus of Your Disability Check
I’ve been thinking about the many friends I have who are in various stages of sickness, and injury, who have received prayer over and over again, without being healed. When God doesn’t heal someone it can cause us to give up hope. Many have been told that they’re not able to work because of their condition. It’s not easy to argue with the diagnosis of a physician or the assessment of someone you respect. Many people have decided that it must be Jesus’ plan for them to remain disabled and now their prayers have turned from healing to getting by on whatever assistance they can receive from others. Their prayers involve obtaining a better insurance plan, a donation, a loan from a friend, approval for an insurance claim, approval for a state disability check, successful surgery, or some other outcome that has nothing to do with healing.
If you’ve given up hope for healing, and you’re a Christian, you must have some kind of explanation (a theology) that allows you to keep believing in a good and loving Father when God doesn’t heal a person you want to be healed. Many times, those who are not healed will convince themselves that God is using their sickness or disability to develop something in their character. While I think it’s abundantly clear that God uses various forms of trial and testing to develop character, you cannot point to a single example from scripture that illustrates, teaches, or even remotely suggests that sickness is one of the ways He does that. And if your theology doesn’t come from the pages of scripture—where are you getting it from?
Some would point to Job as an example of how God uses sickness to develop character. If you read the book of Job carefully you’ll find that Job already had great character before he was afflicted by Satan with sickness.
And what about Paul? Didn’t God refuse to remove Paul’s thorn in the flesh?
And what about the sickness of Timothy and Epaphroditus? Don’t these cases suggest that perhaps God doesn’t want to heal everyone?
Finally, there are objections to healing that are based on personal experiences. Nearly all of us have prayed for friends, relatives, or ourselves and seen no change. It seems logical to conclude that maybe God doesn’t always want us healed.
Determining God’s Will
There are a couple of ways by which we can attempt to understand God’s will for healing. One way is to look at personal experiences. Many people have testimonies of healing and they believe their healing demonstrates that it is God’s will to heal. Others point to the many people who have not been healed and hold them up as evidence that God doesn’t always want to heal. This method is a purely subjective one that accounts only for individual experiences. It is not broad enough in scope nor authoritative enough to conclusively demonstrate God’s will toward healing.
Another option is to look at the writings about the life of people like Job. So let’s look at the part of Job’s story that is usually left out. Job was a man of unequaled character before he became sick and judging by his comments at the end of the book—he was no better off in the character department when it was all over. The sickness that Job suffered did not improve his character. It merely revealed the character he already had. That’s why the Lord boasted about him to Satan at the beginning of the story.
Many people hold up Paul’s writings about his personal experiences as evidence of God’s will for healing. And here’s the problem with that approach:
All the verses used in these discussions are obscure passages. None of them bring any real clarity to the discussion. Paul’s discussion of Timothy’s stomach problem, the illness of Epaphroditus, and of Paul’s own thorn in the flesh are not explained well enough for us to come to an air-tight conclusion about God’s will. They suggest and hint at things, but Paul never comes right out and reveals the truth about any of these matters. He never reveals the sources of any of the sicknesses and never tells us if any of these men were ultimately healed. He never actually says whether his thorn in the flesh was a form of sickness. With Paul’s writings, all we are left with are guesses about what God’s will is. Guesses based on weak and circumstantial evidence. Building major doctrinal positions around obscure passages always leaves you on shaky ground.
A third option is to search the gospels to see how Jesus viewed healing. This approach leaves little room for discussion or ambiguity. Jesus demonstrated healing daily to the disciples and healed everyone who needed it. When he sent out the disciples, his instructions were for them to heal the sick and cast out demons. He made no exceptions or exclusions. He never taught that anyone could not be healed. On the one occasion when the disciples failed to heal a boy – Jesus rebuked them for their unbelief. He clearly expected them to heal everyone who needed healing. The best theology by far is the theology of Jesus.
The Son of Man did not fill the pockets of the poor with silver or gold. It could be argued from this that God may use poverty to build character. He did not set up factories to employ people. From this, you might infer that unemployment builds character. But healing is another matter. Jesus healed thousands. It was often recorded that when surrounded by a multitude of sick and demon-possessed, that “He healed them all.” Not one person was ever turned away for either healing or deliverance. What can we conclude from this about cases where God doesn’t heal someone?
It tells me that Jesus thought everyone can and ought to be healed without exception—for He made no exceptions.
If it is the will of the Father for people to be sick, no one in history disobeyed the will of the Father more than Jesus.
Jesus is the best revelation of the will of the Father that we will ever have. Far better than obscure passages from the epistles and much better than personal experience.
Let me ask you a direct question: What husband is okay with his bride living as a cripple—scraping by, never knowing if she will have enough money to pay her bills?
When God doesn’t heal someone, do you really think Jesus wants them to remain a cripple for the rest of their life?
Jesus is your husband. He is the lover of your soul. He is the man you’re going to spend eternity with. He is a better husband than any man you’re ever going to meet. And He always healed everyone who came to Him for healing.
Maybe you’ve been told that God’s will is not always healing.
Maybe you believe that Jesus has a reason for you to live in pain.
Maybe you’ve been told that God is teaching you a lesson.
Maybe you’ve been told you’re not good enough in His eyes to be healed.
Some of these ideas come from anointed men of God.
Some of them sound plausible.
They’re nothing but lies.
Do yourself a favor and stop believing these lies.
Start believing that your savior wants you healed.
Refuse to settle for anything less.
Refuse to accept the lie that a disability check is your only future.
Refuse to believe that surgery is your only option.
Refuse to be labeled “terminal”, “incurable”, or any other diagnosis that says there is no hope.
Stop labeling yourself by your disease.
Your disease is not yours to keep.
Your disease is not your identity.
It’s a temporary condition that Jesus wants you to be healed of.
Schuler Murdock put it this way:
I would say that having a disabling injury or illness is similar to being a prisoner of war. You’re in prison, but you never stop planning your escape and you never give up hope for a rescue. But for the season that you’re there, you still have to eat what’s available to you. It’s not good to completely surrender and succumb to being a prisoner for the rest of your life—despite the circumstances and prognosis. We’re still ranking soldiers in the sovereign army of the King and we should carry ourselves accordingly.
For more on healing, check out my book Divine Healing Made Simple.