By Joy Haney
The church is given direction what to do when there is sickness.
Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him (James 5:14-15).
Then also every believer is given power to “lay hands on the sick and they shall recover” (Mark 16:18).
If they shall recover, then why do some die? Let us examine this carefully. Please, stay with me until the end of the chapter.
First of all, I looked in the four gospels and there is not one place where Jesus ever turned anyone away without being healed when they asked Him to heal them. This was one of the reasons for His suffering. He purchased salvation for lost humanity by His death on the cross and the stripes on His back were for healing. Several places it mentions He healed them all.
And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them (Matthew 4:23-24).
And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people (Matthew 9:35).
But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all (Matthew 12:15).
Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them (Luke 4:40).
Everyone that asked, received. Over and over Jesus said, “According to your faith be it unto you.” They believed, and were healed.
Secondly, I heard someone quote Hebrews 11:32-40, particular verse 37, “They were…afflicted,” and then say, “Yes, some of them died in their sicknesses even when they had faith.” I wondered about this, so I looked up every scripture in the whole Bible that had to do with affliction, afflictions, and afflicted. Sure enough, it was not the way it had been presented to me. I found out that affliction in the scripture referred to mental distress, adversity, calamity, trouble, misfortune or hardship, which brought on a state of pain and grief of mind. The only place it could have been remotely tied in with sickness was in the case of Job. “So went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown” (Job 2:7). After reading the scriptures associated with Job and his affliction, it appears that the sickness brought him the distress and anguish of mind. (See details about Job later.) Some of the instances that show people who were afflicted are as follows:
Hagar in Genesis 16:11: “…The Lord hath heard thine affliction…” (Mental distress)
Leah in Genesis 29:32: “The Lord hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me..,” (Mental anguish)
Jacob in Genesis 31:42: “..God hath seen mine afflictions…” (Mental distress)
Joseph in Genesis 41:52: “,,.For God bath made me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction,” (Great mental distress and anguish)
Notice: ALL OF THE ABOVE FELT REJECTION.
The Children of Israel in Exodus 3:7: “…I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt…” (Heavy oppression)
Hannah in 1 Samuel 1:11: “…if thou wilt indeed look on t affliction of thine handmaiden…” (Distress caused by a childless womb)
Jerusalem in Lamentations 1:7: “Jerusalem remembered in the days of her affliction and of her miseries all her pleasant things that she had in the days of old, when her people fell into the hands of the enemy, and none did help her…” (The mind remembered and connected the enemy with her misery and affliction)
The Children of Israel in Exodus 1:12: “But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew.” (Their physical strength was not diminished, but their mental anguish was increased.)
Moses in Numbers 11:11: “…wherefore hast thou afflicted thy servant…that thou layest the burden of all this people upon me?” (The burden caused him mental distress)
Naomi in Ruth 1:21: “I went out full, and the Lord hath brought me home again empty. .And the Almighty path afflicted Inc.” (This was a physically strong woman who had lust walked many miles–her mind was in anguish and distress)
Jesus in Isaiah 53:7: “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth…” (Jesus never was physically sick)
Paul in Colossians 1:24: “Who now rejoice in my suffering for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church.” (The Greek word for afflictions here is thlipsis, meaning “tribulation, distress, afflicted with trouble.”)
Paul in II Corinthians 2:4: “For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I write unto you with many tears…” (Affliction is always associated with tears, hurt, trouble, confusion, oppression, anguish)
Jonah in Jonah 2:2: “…I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord,…out of the belly of hell cried I…”
Job in Job 10:15: “…I am full of confusion; therefore, see my afflictions.” (Confusion about why all this was happening brought distress of mind)
James makes a distinction. “Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. Is any sick…” (James 5:13).
So from this study it is concluded that the word afflicted in Hebrews 11:37 did not mean sickness. How could God contradict Himself? If He said the prayer of faith would raise up the sick, how could He let the people that had faith die? Before you respond, let us continue.
The Bible says that Jesus has the keys to hell and death (Revelation 1:18). Jesus has the final say on who dies and who lives. It is in His hands, but many times we have something to say about it also. It is a fact, confirmed by doctors, that 80% of all sickness is stress-related, and also that fear will kill a patient sometimes quicker than the disease itself. (Stress and fear are both products of the mind.) Death is promised to aIl, but sometimes there is premature death. This is not written to condemn, or determine the destiny of anyone; it is only written to give hope to those that encounter sickness and disease. Sickness and disease will come to many. What do you do with them when they come? Go to the Word and find the answers and then leave the rest in His hands, for He doeth all things well.
Spiritual Steps To Healing
1 Have someone anoint you with oil and pray for you. (James 5:14-15; Mark 16:17-18)
2 Confess your faults; repent and humble yourself. Care for one another.
The verse immediately after James 5:15 is in conjunction with healing: “Confess your faults one to another, and pray for one another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16).
Notice this is what happened to Job. First, he was self-righteous. “So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes” (Job 32:1). Then after all of Job’s questioning, the Lord answered Job. “Who is this that darkened) counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding” (Job 38:2-4).
On and on went the Lord showing Job that his arrogant know-it-all reasoning and questioning was puny compared to God’s understanding. When God got through, “Then Job answered the Lord, and said, Behold I am vile, what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth” (Job 40:3-4).
After Job repented and prayed for his friends, God turned everything around for him. Job said, “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes…And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before” (Job 42:5, 6, 10).
3 Forgive anyone who has offended you. Forgive past hurts, abuse, or wrongs.
When Jesus told them in Mark 11:14 that they could have anything they desired if they would just believe, the very next sentence said, “When ye stand praying, forgive.”
Jesus knew that the body cannot be healed with resentments, anger, grudges, bitterness, envy, pride, hate, and other like feelings or thoughts. The mind is intertwined with the physical; they are not separate from one another-one effects the other.
When Paul was explaining to them about the order of communion, he told them that some were sickly and weak among them and even died because they did not discern the Lord’s body (I Corinthians 11:29-30). The body is the church. “And he is the head of the body, the church” (Colossians 1:18).
It is impossible to be filled with negative feelings and be totally healthy. The hook None of These Diseases, written by Dr. S.I. McMillen, states:
Emotional stress can cause high blood pressure, toxic goiter, migraine headaches, arthritis, apoplexy, heart trouble, gastrointestinal ulcers, and other serious diseases too numerous to mention. As physicians we can prescribe medicine for the symptoms of these diseases, but we can not do much for the underlying cause–emotional turmoil. It is lamentable that peace does not come in capsules.
When Jesus said, “Forgive seventy times seven,” He was thinking not only of our souls, but of saving our bodies from ulcerative colitis, toxic goiters, high blood pressure, and scores of other diseases…The famous physiologist, John Hunter, knew what anger could do to his heart: “The first scoundrel that gets me angry will kill me.” Some time later, at a medical meeting, a speaker made assertions that incensed Hunter. As he stood up and bitterly attacked the speaker, his anger caused such a contraction of the blood vessels in his heart that he fell dead.
Jesus gave the prescription in Matthew 5:43-44 that would make us healthy spiritually and physically. “Ye have heard that it bath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” Baking pies not only for the family, but for those that have said evil things against you, is the way to peace. Forgiveness is always the way up to blessing.
4 Have child-like faith in the Word and in God.
“…by whose stripes ye were healed” (I Peter 2:24). The work was done at Calvary. Believe that He is the Lord God that heals all sickness and disease.
5 Fast your way to health, as is shown in Isaiah 58. (See also the book, When Ye Fast by this author, Joy Haney.)
Physical Steps To Healing
We struggle to do good. We live under the curse of the Garden of Eden, and sickness will always be on the earth until the end of time. God has given us the promise of healing, and He heals us in spite of our bad habits, heredity, and weaknesses, but He also expects us to be good stewards of our health and the things that He has given us.
1 Work with God.
A Adopt good health habits, morally and physically. If one willfully abuses his body, the temple, he sins against his own body and works against his own state of health. Paul states this in I Corinthians 6:18, “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.” The body of man is to glorify Christ, and habits which defile the body or weaken it work against the purpose of heaven. Laws are not given to be broken or to inflict punishment; they are given so that man can be blessed. God’s health and spiritual laws cannot be violated without there being a cause and effect. Every act reaps a reward, whether good or bad.
B Develop an understanding of proper nutrition and have discipline to stick with it.
C Realize the importance of exercise. (If you have two legs, you can help walk your way to health.) It does wonders for the emotional, as well as the physical.
D Find something that you enjoy doing and make time to do it once a week. Do not live constantly under strain.
E Get proper rest. You are the steward of your life, If you are running on nervous energy because of hectic time schedules, then you must stop, evaluate, and wait on the Lord for new direction. It is not the will of God to live rushed, worried, fretful lives.
2 Speak positive things. Do away with gossip and negative talk.
A Proverbs 18:21: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…”
B Proverbs 12:18: “…the tongue of the wise is health.”
C Proverbs 16:24: “Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.”
D Proverbs 15:30: “…a good report maketh the bones fat.”
3 Think healthy thoughts
A Proverbs 14:30: “The light of the eyes rejoiced the heart.” Whatever you read or see conveys information into your brain and effects your physical and spiritual heart.
B Proverbs 3:8: “It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.” What shall be? The getting of wisdom.
C Proverbs 14:30: “A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.” Negative feelings bring disease into the body.
D Joshua 1:8: “Meditate on the law of the Lord day and night and ye shall have good success and be prosperous.”
4 Laugh often. Proverbs 17:22: “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine; but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”
5 Relax; do not worry.
A story taken from None of These Diseases proves the crippling power of worry.
In the crash of 1929, J.C. Penney’s business was solid but he had made some unwise personal commitments. He became so worried that he couldn’t sleep. Then he developed “shingles,” a disorder that can cause great annoyance and severe pain. He was hospitalized and given sedatives, but got no relief and tossed all night. A combination of circumstances had broken him so completely, physically and mentally, that he was overwhelmed with a fear of death. He wrote farewell letters to his wife and son, for he did not expect to live until morning.
The next morning the great business tycoon heard singing in the hospital chapel. He pulled himself together and entered as the group was singing “God Will Take Care of You.” Then followed a Scripture reading and a prayer. In Mr. Penney’s own words, “Suddenly something happened. I can’t explain it. I can only call it a miracle. I felt as if I had been instantly lifted out of the darkness of a dungeon into warm, brilliant sunlight. I felt as if I had been transported from hell to paradise. I felt the power of Gods as I had never felt it before. I realized then that I alone was responsible for all my troubles. I know that God with His love was there to help me. From that day to this, my life has been free from worry. I am seventy-one years old, and the most dramatic and glorious minutes of my life were those I spent in that chapel that morning: `God Will Take Care of You.”‘
It is a proven fact that sickness comes not only from Satan, but also from harmful emotion such as fear, worry, hate, envy, and the way we handle pressure. Dr. McMillen states, “The stresses of living are not nearly as responsible for a host of debilitating diseases as are our faulty reactions to those stresses.” Wrong actions can also result in accidents which have ramifications of physical weaknesses such as drunken driving, diving in too shallow of water, or smoking.
If you are sick and you can honestly answer, “I have taken all the right steps, not most of them, but all of them,” then relax and leave it in God’s hands. He, not man, is the healer of all disease, Doctors only dress the wounds; God heals them.
III John 2 gives God’s desire for His children. “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and he in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” Then you ask, “Why do some die from sickness before they live their allotted 70 years?” My answer is this: God is God, and He is in charge. We are finite creatures trying our best to walk according to the Word, but even at our best we sometimes fall short. Whether we are not doing something right, or whether God had a purpose higher than our thoughts–who is to know? It would he foolish for anyone to judge another and say, “They did not have the faith,” for only God sees the heart, If this subject causes friction, judging, and resentment, then we best examine our hearts. It is not a subject of arrogance, but one of humility. If we all got what we deserved, we would all perish because of sin. Surely our salvation, healing, and righteousness all comes from the grace and ‘favor of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He is all-knowing, and does not have to ask us if He can do something. He sees things in the future that we do not see. He holds till of eternity in His hands. Paul speaks about death as a gain. “‘For me to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21), but most of us do not want to gain in that way. Psalm 116:1` sass, -Precious in height of the Lord is the death of his saints,” but we hope that preciousness will be reserved for our later years. We all want to live, and that is good. Something would he wrong with us if we desired death.
We will never understand some things. Why does a baby die? Why does a precious saint die early, while a crusty, old, hardened sinner lives until he is almost petrified? We just have to leave it in God’s hands, do the best we can, and humbly try to build a good relationship with God and others, for the whole law rests on these two commandments: love God first, and your neighbor second. It does not matter where sickness originates from; we must try to keep our minds focused on God and not on the disease, for God is all-powerful and mighty in battle. He can heal, no matter what! Remember the Word when you are sick. “According to your faith be it unto thee?”(Matthew 9:29). Have faith in God!
My hope is that this hook will generate new faith to believe in God to do greater things among us. We do not need anymore condemnation. God forbid! We ill need to be encouraged and as encourage one another in the Lord and with His precious Word. Let us do everything we can do and leave the miracle with the Lord. Remember what the angel told Mary: “For with God nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1:37).
One last word on this subject: According to the scripture, the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and by His stripes we were healed. This is an absolute! The same promise that promises healing for sickness and disease cannot always be applied to circumstances or fiery trials, Two examples of this are the three Hebrew children and John the Baptist.
When the three Hebrew children were promised death, notice their faith. The king asked them if their God would deliver them out of his hands. They answered,
If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, 0 King. But if not, he it known unto thee, 0 King, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up (Daniel 3:17-18).
God did deliver them with a great miracle. No fire was smelled on their clothes, their hair was not singed, and He walked in the fire with them.
On the other hand, John the Baptist was in prison and sent word to Jesus and asked, “Art thou the Christ, or do we seek for another?” He was asking in so many words, “Are you going to get me out of this prison?”
Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me (Matthew 11:4-6).
Jesus was telling him to believe and keep his faith, even if he was not delivered out of prison. No matter what God does concerning your circumstances, it is better to die with faith in God, as John the Baptist did, than to live in doubt.
Stephen, the first martyr of the church, died so that Saul could see the glory of the Lord and be saved shortly thereafter. Though we would call this Stephen’s “non-deliverance,” half the known world embraced the gospel of Christ through Paul’s ministry as a result of his first glimpse of true Christianity.
Keep your faith in God in all things. God is God and beside Him there is none other. He will do great and mighty things, but His ways are not always our ways. The thing to do is to always stand on His word and trust Him explicitly. He does care about each of His children, and His heart is touched with their feelings, tears, and times of troubles. If you will go to Him, He will never leave you nor forsake you, but He will be with you until the end of the world.
This article “Faith To Be Healed” written by Joy Haney is excerpted from her book Great Faith.