This coming Sunday morning, I am speaking on the fact that God can and does heal and that God can and does raise the dead.
We will be praying for the sick and the end of each teaching session (I would encourage you to invite someone to come).
However, at the same time, we are going to wrestle with the fact that not all people are healed and that we can't force God to heal us.
In other words, sometimes God has a purpose for our suffering.
Mike Huckabee writes:
"When [our son] John Mark was 4 years old, he was out playing in the back yard and got a splinter in his foot. He came in and held up his foot. He was crying, and he said, "I got a splinter in my foot!" I said "Sit on the couch. Let's look at it." So I looked at it.
Then, as he held up his foot and I reached over to pull the splinter out (because I knew it would feel better), he said what every kid says (which I still, to this day, don't understand): "Don't touch it!" I said, "What do you want me to do? Take a picture of it and mount it on the wall? I've got to touch it, Son. I don't levitate splinters out of your foot. There is no choice." "It will hurt," he moaned. I said, "It might, but it won't hurt as long. It will sure feel a lot better when I get the splinter out."
But somehow that wasn't adequate. So Janet held down the top of him while I tried to hold down the bottom of him and pull that splinter out. He was kicking and screaming and jerking in all different directions, and here I was with the tweezers, trying to pull out the splinter. I was afraid that I would jab those tweezers way up into his foot.
I wanted to say to him, "Son, don't you trust me? What do you think I'm going to do, cut your foot off? I'm not here to hurt you. I'm here to help you, and if you don't let me help you, it's going to get worse not better. Trust me; I'm your father. I love you. I care about you. I do this only to help you. Be still. Relax."
Huckabee further writes:
"I think sometimes God in heaven must look down upon us, and we must be like a little child who says, "God, I'm hurt. God help me." God reaches in to help us, and the first thing we do is say, "God, don't touch me! Don't do that God!" God is saying, "But I've got to reach in there and deal with the hurt. It may hurt a little, but I've got to do it." We say, "No, God. Please, nothing like that!"
So here we are fighting with God. It is the equivalent of being in surgery when the surgeon has both of his arms up to his elbows in your abdomen, and suddenly you decide that you don't want to be operated on and try to get off the table. How many times in our lives do we find ourselves on the surgery table of the Almighty, where God is trying to work in our lives that miracle of making us like Christ, and when we realize what God's doing, we wake up and say, "God, I don't want you to do this. Let me out of here!"?
While all of us would prefer to receive a miracle or a healing from God - please know that there are benefits to your time of suffering (From Tony Snow):
You gain perspective on your mortality.
It focuses your perspective on what is important.
You appreciate little things more ferociously.
You grasp the mystical power of love.
You feel the gravitational pull of faith.
You understand (in ways that others don't or can't) the power of hope and the limits of fear.
You understand what really matters and what doesn't.
And, perhaps, most importantly, you realize that there are far worse things than illness - and that is living a life without God.
Just some thoughts for a Thursday.