This morning a couple of men were sharing with me marital struggles they were experiencing with their wives. After years of hurt, sin, and struggle in their marriages – they were now feeling a loss of hope. They were weary of trying. There was a loss of trust.
“I’m just numb.”
“I’ve tried and tried – why isn’t God healing our marriage?”
“I’m doing my part – why doesn’t God have my back?”
It speaks to a larger – more important issue that many of us experience.
“What should I do if God never heals me?”
“What if I do my part and God doesn’t fix this broken situation?”
Sadly, we often resent God and walk away from God if the healing doesn’t come.
This is the deception of an immature faith – one rooted in the prosperity Gospel. We think that God is committed to our happiness. We think if we follow a few steps from the Bible that God will bless us. We assume that following God will result in our personal health and wealth.
These are all lies.
“In this world you will have trouble,” Jesus says, “but take heart. I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
We are not promised happiness. We are not promised health. We are not promised wealth. We are not guaranteed healing in this life.
The only guaranteed relief, comfort, and healing are promised in the life to come.
Even Christ was not immune from experiencing pain, suffering, and brokenness in life.
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.” (1 Peter 4:12-13)
We must each run to a mature faith. One that understands and prepares for suffering. One that is not shaken if we don’t see fruit or resolution in this life. One that does not demand of God that he bends the universe around our personal happiness. One that prepares for and expects sorrow, sickness, oppression, and death. One that invests in a trust in God that is stronger than life’s circumstances.
If we base our faith on God ensuring our personal prosperity and happiness, what is revealed is a very shallow or even a non-existent spiritual foundation. It reveals that we’ve built our homes on sand.
Some Big Questions
Let’s look seriously at nagging questions many of us are carrying today. I’ve asked some of these questions and heard forms of each of these from various friends.
What if God doesn’t heal me in this life?
What if my marriage never gets “fixed”?
What if my kid never comes back to the faith?
What if the cancer doesn’t respond to the treatments?
What if God doesn’t take away my same-sex attraction?
What if I am not healed of my quadriplegia?
What if my best friend never apologizes?
What if the corrupt politicians escape justice?
What if I never find a spouse?
What if my abuser wins in court?
If God doesn’t come through – aren’t we off the hook? Doesn’t it mean he is to blame when our faith comes off the rails? Doesn’t it mean we can excuse bitterness, indulgence, vengeance, and other sins?
Here’s the truth.
God doesn’t owe you or me resolution and happiness in this life. God may bring healing – but it might not come in this life. We are not promised final rewards and complete healing in this present life.
We cannot hold our faith ransom – dependent on God’s healing and blessing in this life.
How can we strengthen our faith? What are some spiritual truths to combat this deficient theology? Where do we turn for hope if healing doesn’t come within our desired timing?
Brothers and sisters, turn to the Scriptures and to the many saints who have gone before. These are not new questions to our current human condition.
Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:8-10, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.”
Earlier in the same book he also wrote this gem, “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” (2 Corinthians 4:17)
The book of James encourages readers to remember “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12)
The book of 1 Peter encourages readers, “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.” (1 Peter 2:21)
Finally, let us look with joy and expectation to the life to come. All will be made new. Everything will be healed. We will experience wonderful rewards for the good we have done. And all pain and suffering will be nothing compared to the joy of new life in our resurrected bodies.
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)
Let us each stand firm as we wait for his perfect healing in his perfect timing.