Last Wednesday night we held our first prayer meeting at St. James Church in which we focused on praying for the sick. It was incredible to sense the presence of the Lord fill the room and begin to minister to people. As that happened, God began to manifest himself in the lives of those who had opened their hearts for a touch from God.
I love the way God reveals himself. After God rescued the people of Israel from Egypt, he revealed his desires for them in Exodus 15:26 by saying, “If you will listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in his sight, obeying his commands and keeping all his decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the Lord who heals you.”
In Exodus 23:25-26, after God provided so many miracles, he repeats his desire that his people be strong by saying, “You must serve only the LORD your God. If you do, I will bless you with food and water, and I will protect you from illness. There will be no miscarriages or infertility in your land, and I will give you long, full lives.”
Thousands of years later, God reveals that he rewards those who trust him and have faith in him by saying in Hebrews 11:6, “. . . it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.” The rewards he offers are infinite. To sincerely seek him is a powerful action that strengthens every one of us. James 1:6-8 encourages all of us to be focused when we petition him by saying, “But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.”
God loves every one of us so much he puts all of us in positions where we can choose him. He likes that, and he doesn’t lie about it. In Numbers 23:19, the Bible says, “God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?” In contrast to our current culture where we are accustomed to people saying things they don’t mean, or not keeping their previous commitments because circumstances have changed or a situation has evolved, God says exactly what he means and always keeps his word. In 1 Kings 8:56, the Bible reminds the people of Israel that . . . “not one word has failed of all the wonderful promises he gave through his servant Moses.” And David expresses gratitude toward God in Psalms 119:89 by writing, “Your eternal word, O Lord, stands firm in heaven.”
Some would say, “If this is God’s plan, why are there so many sick people?” It’s because earth is not heaven. In heaven, no one is sick. God’s perfect desire for us is fully manifested in heaven. But here on the earth, we have had sickness among us since the fall of the human race. As a result, we not only have God’s will, but our own will, the work of evil, and natural law that combine to create our current reality. As a result, we have to take the initiative to stay well and appropriate as much of heaven as we can while on earth. That is why Jesus instructed us to pray in Matthew 6:10, “May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” We know he wants us all well.
So how many will God heal? Everyone who responds to him is ultimately completely healed, if not here on the earth, then in heaven. In the meantime, we can all know that he wants the best for us. That’s why we pray. Not because we are noble, but because we are needy. That’s why we meet with the brethren to celebrate on Sunday mornings. Not because we are perfect, but because we are not and are in need of fellowship with him and fellow pilgrims. Prayer stimulates the Holy Spirit’s activity, and the Holy Spirit delivers into our lives everything Jesus appropriated on the cross for us. God is for us, and with that knowledge, even life on earth can be a little better. So let’s pray and trust.