O LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath. Be merciful to me, LORD, for I am faint; O LORD, heal me, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in anguish. How long, O LORD, how long? Turn, O LORD, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love. No one remembers you when he is dead. Who praises you from the grave?
I am worn out from groaning; all night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes.
Away from me, all you who do evil, for the LORD has heard my weeping. The LORD has heard my cry for mercy; the LORD accepts my prayer. All my enemies will be ashamed and dismayed; they will turn back in sudden disgrace.
Some believers, often with the “help” of well-meaning friends, equate illness or infirmity with discipline. They’re encouraged to believe that the Lord caused their illness. Either some sin of theirs displeased Him and He’s punishing them, or He’s made them sick to teach them some “godly” lesson. I guess they think that even though He loved us enough to die for us while we still hated Him, once we come to Him in love He’ll make us suffer.
There are simple explanations for our sickness. Some are ill as a consequence of their unhealthy lifestyle. Attributing their sickness to God helps them avoid having to accept responsibility for their own behavior. They tried to beat the cause and effect rule and they failed. Others subconsciously enjoy the attention their illness brings. They’re afraid if they weren’t ill, people would ignore them altogether, and that’s worse than being sick. But for most it’s just because illness came into the world with sin and is therefore a part of our existence. It strikes both the faithful and the unfaithful
This randomness is Satan’s way of making people blame God for the bad things that happen in their lives. Like Job we cry out to God, “Why me?” We don’t realize that this world is a dark and evil place, currently under the control of God’s sworn enemy. (1 John 5:19) When we align ourselves with God we become aliens behind enemy lines. It’s only by His grace that we aren’t all stricken with devastating illness immediately.
The Bible never says we’ll be immune from sickness and disease. Instead it commands us to pray for each other for healing (James 5:14-16). The Lord describes Himself as “The God Who Heals You” (Exodus 15:26) and Isaiah 53:4-5 says that by His stripes we are healed.
As our Lord explained to His disciples, “In this world you will have tribulation, but take heart for I have overcome the world.” ( John 16:33) For some believers that promise comes true with immediate healing from illness. For others it comes true in the grace to endure until the healing comes.
A missionary friend of ours had suffered silently for several months with a pain in her shoulder. Pain killers helped but only temporarily. Finally she asked for prayer to be healed. After the prayer her arm felt better but wasn’t quite 100%. Instead of complaining that she hadn’t been healed she prayed, “Lord, Your word says that the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well (James 5:15). Therefore I choose to believe I’m healed. If I have to experience this pain for a little while longer until my healing is complete, that’s something I’m happy to do for You. After all look how You suffered for me.” Within a few days all the pain was gone for good. The Lord had heard her cry for mercy and accepted her prayer. Her faith had healed her.