Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
This is how my favorite Psalm (103) in the Scriptures starts out. David is thinking about what God does. What does he do? – look at the verbs in this Psalm to find the answer: He forgives, he heals, he redeems, he crowns, and he satisfies! Certainly he does a lot more, but just thinking about those alone cause David to want to do nothing else but praise God. Understanding the right things about God helps us to have the right attitude and puts our lives into the right perspective.
We are all theologians. All of us have some notion about God. The question of the matter is are we going to be good theologians or bad ones? Having a true knowledge of God will give him more glory and will also mean living life with more purpose here on earth. On the other hand, having incorrect thoughts about God will only lead us astray and cause harm. Indeed, as A.W. Tozer has said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”
Unfortunately, today, many people have a skewed view on the verse I quoted above that says “God heals all your diseases.” I have heard many teach that God guarantees health, wealth, and prosperity in this life. That if you just have enough faith, then God will remove your problems. Or even more extreme: if you give God some money, then he will do a miracle for you. This kind of teaching is damaging as it is not just anthropocentric (human centered), it leads people to thinking that they do not have a true faith in God if he does not heal them. Interpreting Scripture correctly leads us to the following conclusions:
First of all, we have no guarantee or promise of a time frame for God healing our diseases. He never promises to heal all of our diseases while we are still living on this planet. Indeed, one of the ways that he heals us of our diseases is that he allows our decaying body to perish. It is after we die that we receive our glorious bodies, which cannot be afflicted with any disease.
Secondly, although not certainly the most pleasant thought, is that God sometimes actually sends or allows diseases in order to accomplish something greater in us. Scriptural basis for this can be seen in Leviticus 26:16, Deuteronomy 28:21-22, 2 Chronicles 21:18, 2 Corinthians 12:7-8, and others.
Thirdly, diseases allow us to remember that all is not right in the world. That there is evil and darkness and those things came to our creation because of disobedience. The Fall of man was catastrophic for the entire creation. Consider Paul’s words in Romans 8:18-23:
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.
Fourthly, our spiritual disease trumps our physical and mental illnesses. Imagine you came across a scene where a serious car accident just happened. You see one man complaining that his head hurts, yet unbeknownst to him, his leg has been severely severed and will bleed to death if you do not quickly apply a tourniquet to stop the bleeding. Attending to the headache would be foolish. It is this way with our physical ailments as well. They are real and the do affect us and God does care about them, but he is infinitely more concerned with the disease which will cause us the most harm: our spiritual state of sin. When we accept Christ for who he is and what he has done for us, we are not only forgiven of our sin, but we become a new creation with “new DNA” so to speak.
Todd Wagner discusses this point, stating:
Even when Jesus was performing the miraculous, He never offered anything resembling protection from all future temptation or trouble. Nowhere in the New Testament is there an admonition to use an incantation that would free us from ever needing intercession again. Christ’s interactions with people— even when He miraculously delivered or healed them— always called them to deeper dependence on Him. . . . He did not stop with concern merely for their current struggles. He knew that apart from coming to faith in Him, their coming eternal struggles were going to be infinitely worse. That is why He often followed up His care for their situational evil with a warning that they should also trust in Him as their provision for their moral evil. From Come and See.
The disease of sin runs rampant in today’s society. If we are honest, most of the affliction and strife that we see today are all brought upon by our own evil acts. I hope that as Christians we can be true agents of light in the world – carrying a message of hope and healing to a hurting world.
Questions to consider:
Have you ever thought that if you just had enough faith then God may do some miraculous thing for you? Do you still feel that way? If not, what changed your thinking?
Do you view your spiritual disease as far more serious and in need of healing than your physical problems?
How can you help be an agent for God for others, a vessel used by him to bring healing?
For further reading:
https://www.cru.org/us/en/train-and-grow/spiritual-growth/core-christian-beliefs/why-we-must-think-rightly-about-god.html Why we must think rightly about God
Book: “Everyone’s a Theologian” by R.C. Sproul