A little known fact. Lowering someone’s expectations and preparing their mind for the worst-case scenario is a sin. Yes, a sin. Know why? Because it’s simply another form of worry and care, which Jesus says to cast on Him. And what is worry and care except exalting the word of a man over the word of God?
“Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?” (Matt, 8:26)
“And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matt 16:19)
“…verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible to you.” (Matt. 17:20)
Now, obviously, this doesn’t mean that we just sit around idly and wait for a miracle to show up. God wants us to be always in action. He wants us constantly moving forward and investing wisely the things he’s given us as evidenced in the parable of the talents. “Thou good and faithful servant, you have been faithful over few things, so I will make you ruler over many things.” (paraphrase, mine)
If one prays for rain and a good crop, one should expect to prepare the fields for rain and a good crop with the abilities He’s endued you with. Thus, if you pray for healing, you should prepare your body for healing with the knowledge He’s given you. Nowhere does the Bible say that “God helps those that help themselves,” but God DOES expect us to back up our faith with action. Notice that Lazarus, the man raised from the dead, had to meet Jesus halfway as Jesus was reaching toward him. Jesus is a gentleman. He will never force Himself on us. He gives us a choice.
And what a choice it is.
On one hand, we can trust the things we can see. These are the things that we are told from birth that we can trust because there are scientific laws governing them all. Sadness is a big part of life because we are disappointed when the expectations of the laws governing said concepts don’t quite match up with the facts presented. “Why am I still sick when the church prayed for me?” “Why do the good stay poor and the evil prosper?” “Why did my grandfather die? He was a good man!” On the surface, the solution is simple. Lower one’s expectations and one will never be disappointed.
On the other hand, we can trust the words of Jesus. He said that He is the only way to the Father. He said that He has the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven and He’s giving them to us. He said that if we have faith and don’t doubt, we can move mountains. He said that the things of this world are only temporal and that the real things are invisible, given substance by the faith we put into them.
Let’s face it, we have so many sick and suffering people in this world who are trying to keep their feet in both ponds. However, these choices are not two ponds. They are two horses going in two different directions. So many people are pulled apart as a result of the dependence on one and the fascination with the other, and want to blame God as a result.
God is not the problem.
God is not an instant feel-good pill from the pharmacy. He is not someone you just “try”. You have to fully immerse yourself in Him. You have to believe everything He says and reject everything that falls contrary to Him. He stands constantly with His arm outreached, but at some point, you have to reach back and meet Him halfway. He is almighty, but we must still give him permission to operate in our lives.
Have you ever tried to help a child who has asked for help with his homework, then discovered that the whole time you’re trying to help, he’s not paying a bit of attention and would rather doodle muscle cars in the margins instead of get a good grade? “Look, do you want my help or not!?” you want to scream. Sometimes, I wonder if God asks us that very same question.
“I can’t help the facts.” we say, but we CAN, however, choose to accept or reject them. “When I go in for my MRI,” we say at church, “the doctors are not going to find anything, because Jesus said I’m healed!” When we fall back into the comforting rut of our daily routine, however, we say, “But this is my back-up plan for if God fails.” If… God… fails…!? What kind of rubbish is this? God NEVER fails! Ladies and gentlemen, we have just given our enemy territory without knowing it and put it under the banner of “being realistic”.
People! Fellow Christians! My brothers and sisters in Christ!:
This is unacceptable! We are at war! We need to brandish our weapons and keep them sharp! “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;)” (2 Cor. 10:3-4) The book of Proverbs states that “death and life are in the power of the tongue”, and Jesus himself says that we shall be held accountable for every idle word we say.
Because there is a spiritual world beyond ours in which the forces of good and evil are fighting over us. Yes, us. It sounds like something out of a summer movie blockbuster, but I can assure you that it’s all true. God loved little ol’ us so much, that He took our rightful punishment upon himself and declared all-out spiritual warfare on the forces of darkness to get us back to where we rightfully belong. How do we fit into the picture? Every word we speak in faith to one side or the other alters the fabric of reality itself and changes the landscape of the battlefield. How can we expect to win a war if we’re continuously giving territory to the enemy?
Nine years ago, I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. I had mustard-seed faith that I would be healed and nothing would be found. However, the doctors DID find something. They told me that I had to be put on a medication that was known to cause heart failure. They told me that I had to take an injection every week that would kill my immune system, upset my intestines and possibly damage my kidneys. I was told that there was no more hope for me and that my last stop was an injection that burned like fire, killed my immune system, and weakened my bones. I listened to them all and heeded their advice, accepting treatment after treatment that was worse than the disease. I believed God, but I believed the world more. “Maybe God doesn’t want to heal me…” I would tremble as I cried myself to sleep. I was being pulled apart, physically, mentally and spiritually.
Then, I had enough.
One day, all the symptoms stopped and I took this opportunity to jettison all my chemical burdens. For nearly a year, now, I’ve been free of injections, toxic medications and the fear of four-year-olds with the sniffles. However, in the past few weeks, it would appear as if the disease has relapsed, and in a few days, I must report to a doctor.
This time, however, I will stand my ground. Regardless of what the results say (and they WILL be clean), I will place the Word of God over the word of the doctor and say, “But MY God says I’m healed.” Then, every decision I make from then on will be made in Christ-like faith.