BOOK OF GOD'S PROMISES
J. Steven Lang
-- God cares about our spiritual life and our physical life. He
created the human body, and he is pleased when we enjoy health and vigor. But
in this world our bodies endure sickness, pain, decay. Sometimes we abuse our
own bodies, but often our ailments occur because -- well, we don't always know
why, nor does God promise that we will understand why.
Healing occurs -- sometimes
dramatically, as in the work of Jesus and his disciples. The Gospels overflow
with stories of Jesus healing every kind of bodily affliction. So did his disciples,
whom he promised that they could do the same works that he did.
God still works
to heal people in ways that defy medical knowledge. It is never wrong to pray
for healing, either for ourselves or others. The Bible tells us to pray for whatever
we need, and that surely includes freedom from pain.
But healing does not always
occur, even to the most loving, God-centered people. Why not? We don't know. But
the Bible does promise us that if we are not healed in this life, there is something
greater awaiting us afterward.
O LORD, you alone can heal me; you alone can
save. My praises are for you alone!
I will give you back
your health and heal your wounds, says the LORD .
his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to cast out evil spirits and
to heal every kind of disease and illness.
Paul's first letter
to the Corinthians tells about spiritual gifts, one of which is healing. It is
clear that the gift of healing did not end with Jesus and his disciples.
are different ways God works in our lives, but it is the same God who does the
work through all of us. God manifests the Spirit through each person for the good
of the entire church.
To one person the Spirit gives a word of special wisdom;
to another he gives the gift of special knowledge. The Spirit gives special faith
to another, and to someone else he gives the power to heal the sick. He gives
one person the power to perform miracles, and to another the ability to prophesy.
He gives someone else the ability to distinguish between spirits. Still another
person is given the ability to speak in different kinds of tongues, and another
is given the ability to interpret what is being said. It is the same and only
Holy Spirit who distributes these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person
Now all of you together are Christ's body, and each one of you
is a separate and necessary part of it. Here is a list of some of the members
that God has placed in the body of Christ:
first are apostles,
third are teachers,
then those who do miracles,
those who have
the gift of healing,
those who can help others,
those who can get others
to work together,
those who speak in different kinds of tongues.
In one of Paul's letters he talks about a "thorn in the flesh,"
some kind of physical ailment. Paul was certainly a man of faith, yet he was not
healed of it. He wasn't told why. But Paul did the obvious thing in the situation.
He accepted it:
Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each
time he said, "My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your
weakness." So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of
Christ may work through me. Since I know it is all for Christ's good, I am quite
content with my weaknesses and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.
For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:8-10
who has ever been healed has died. Even Lazarus, the friend Jesus raised from
the dead, died again. The Bible makes no promise that our present bodies, whatever
their condition, will stay healthy or last forever. In fact, the Bible promises
something much more glorious: a new body, like our present ones but also different,
a body made for eternity.
We know that when this earthly tent we live in is
taken down -- when we die and leave these bodies -- we will have a home in heaven,
an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary
in our present bodies, and we long for the day when we will put on our heavenly
bodies like new clothing. For we will not be spirits without bodies, but we will
put on new heavenly bodies. Our dying bodies make us groan and sigh, but it's
not that we want to die and have no bodies at all. We want to slip into our new
bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by everlasting life.
Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed
2 Corinthians 4:16
See also Comfort in Times of Trouble, God's
Love for Us, Patience.
The Book of God's Promises -- Copyright, 1999 by J.
Stephen Lang. All rights reserved, used with permission.