God wants you well, and I can prove it from Scripture…except, of course, when he wants you unwell.
Consider Amy Carmichael, a woman who rescued children in India from bleak temple slavery. She was bedridden her last 20 years of life. Consider Joni Eareckson Tada, who has spent over 40 years paralyzed in a wheelchair. Consider the apostle Paul, who had “a thorn in the flesh” that “tormented” him. Consider my and Mike’s two children who were born with a severe muscle disorder and who never knew what it was like to run and play.
These are all people who knew (in Joni’s case “know”) and loved God. Why, why did God allow them to not be well?
Here’s what I believe with all my heart. God does indeed want His people, His children, well. But there are certain times and certain individuals that God ordains to glorify Him in being unwell. Amy Carmichael wrote at least 16 books, many of which are still treasured today, during her convalescence. Joni Eareckson Tada could never have dreamed of having such a huge impact on people of the entire world without her accident. Paul realized that God had allowed His affliction to make him stronger (2 Corinthians 12:9-11.) And as for my kids, I only wish you could have been at Bradley’s memorial service and realized the impact he had on those around him, not in spite of his disability, but because of it (and little Kristie’s life was equally influential although she only had three years to live it out.)
In each case mentioned above, God made known to His precious ones that their unwellness was something special that He had allowed for a very intentional purpose.
But for the most part, God does want His people to enjoy good health: physically, mentally, and spiritually.
As I type this I am going on my third week of being laid up with a pinched nerve in my back that I procured trying to get my 93 year-old mom out of the halls of her nursing home for a while and into an afternoon of sunshine.
I’m reading psalm 103 each day lately, and one of the verses, speaking of God toward His believing children says, “(He) pardons all your iniquities; (He) heals all your diseases.
I’ve also been reading Psalm 91 every day. The first verse says,
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty
And then it goes on to describe His protection against all dangers, including “deadly pestilence” which includes, according to John MacArthur, “dreaded diseases.”
John MacArthur’s study notes says this about psalm 91:
“This psalm describes God’s ongoing sovereign protection of His people from the ever-present dangers and terrors which surround humanity…Most of the terrors mentioned in this psalm are left undefined, no doubt intentionally, so that no kind of danger is omitted from application. Believers in every age can read this psalm to learn that nothing can harm a child of God unless the Lord permits it.”
And so, although I am laid up for a time and it seems that I may never get well at this slow pace, I expect God to heal me. If He does not, I expect Him to directly “speak” to me about the purpose He has for my affliction.
And it has little to do with the degree of my faith whether or not I am healed. My husband likes to point out Hebrews chapter 11, the faith chapter. Some people’s faith, it says, made them mighty in war, caused them to receive back their dead in resurrection, shut the mouths of lions! But others with equal faith, it says, were stoned, sawn in two (!), were ill-treated, and put to death with the sword.
I would like my faith to result in those really cool things like being mighty in war…and being healed. And I hope that will be the case. I also plan to do my part to bring about health. But as always, I must say, “Your will, Your way, Your timing.”