The Will of God
“Thy will be done” (Matthew 6:10).
“If the Lord will” (James 4:15).
In days of sickness, when doctors and medicines fail, recourse is generally had to the Words we have here quoted, and they may easily become a stumbling-block in the way of divine healing. How may I know, it is asked, whether it is not God’s will that I should remain ill? And as long as this is an open question, how can I believe for healing, how can I pray for it with faith? Here truth and error seem to touch. It is indeed impossible to pray with faith when we are not sure that we are asking according to the will of God. “I can,” one may say, “pray fervently in asking God to do the best for me, believing that He will cure me if it is possible.” As long as one prays thus, one is indeed praying with submission, but this is not the prayer of faith. That is only possible when we are certain that we are asking according to the will of God. The question then resolves itself into making sure of what is the will of God. It is a great mistake to think that the child of God cannot know what is His will about healing.
In order to know His divine will, we must be guided by the Word of God. It is His Word which promises us healing. The promise of James 5 is so absolute that it is impossible to deny it. This promise only confirms other passages, equally strong, which tell us that Jesus Christ has obtained for us the healing of our diseases, because He has borne our sicknesses.
According to this promise, we have right to healing, because it is a part of the salvation which we have in Christ, and therefore we may expect it with certainty. Scripture tells us that sickness is, in God’s hands, the means of chastening His children for their sins, but that this discipline ceases to be exercised as soon as His suffering child acknowledges and turns from the sin. Is it not as much as to say clearly that God desires only to make use of sickness to bring back His children when they are straying? [See above]
Sick Christian, open thy Bible, study it and see in its pages that sickness is a warning to renounce sin, but that whoever acknowledges and forsakes his sins finds in Jesus pardon and healing. Such is God’s promise in His Word. If the Lord had in view some other dispensation for such of His children whom He was about to call home to Him, He would make known to them His will, giving them by the Holy Spirit a desire to depart; in other special cases, He would awaken some special conviction;
1 Corinthians 15 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
but as a general rule, the Word of God promises us healing in answer to the prayer of faith.
“Nevertheless,” some might say, “is it not better in all things to leave it to the will of God?” And they quote the instance of such and such Christians who would have, so to speak, forced the hand of God by their praying without adding, “Thy will be done,” [Matthew 6:10] and who would not have experienced blessing in the answer to their prayers. And these would say, “How do we know whether sickness would not be better for us than health?” Notice here that this is no case of forcing the hand of God, since it is His Word which tells us that it is His will to heal us. “The prayer of faith shall save the sick” [James 5:15]. God wills that the health of the soul should have a blessed reflex influence on the health of the body, that the presence of Jesus in the soul should have its confirmation in the good condition of the body. And when you know that such is His will you cannot, when speaking in such a way, say truthfully that you are in all things leaving it to Him. It is not leaving it to Him when you make use of all possible remedies to get healing, instead of laying hold of His promise. Your submission is nothing else than spiritual sloth in view of that which God commands you to do.
As to knowing whether sickness is not better than health, we do not hesitate to reply that the return to health which is the fruit of giving up sin, of consecration to God, and of an ultimate communion with God, is infinitely better than sickness. “This is the will of God, even your sanctification” (I Thessalonians 4:3), and it is by healing that God confirms the reality of this. When Jesus comes to take possession of our body, and cures it miraculously, when it follows that the health received must be maintained from day to day by an uninterrupted communion with Him, the experience which we thus gain of the Saviors power and of His love is a result very superior to any which sickness has to offer. Doubtless sickness may teach us submission, but healing received direct from God makes us better acquainted with our Lord, and teaches us to confide in Him better. Besides which it prepares the believer to accomplish better the service of God.
Christian, who art sick, if thou wilt really seek to know what is the will of God in this thing, do not let thyself be influenced by the opinions of others, nor by thy own former prejudices, but listen to and study what the Word of God has to say. Examine whether it does not tell thee that divine healing is a part of the redemption of Jesus, and that God wills that every believer should have the right to claim it; see whether it does not promise that the prayer of every child of God for this thing shall be heard, and whether health restored by the power of the Holy Spirit does not manifest the glory of God in the eyes of the Church and of the world. Inquire of it; it will answer thee, that, according to the will of God, sickness is a discipline [most often] occasioned by sin (or shortcoming), and that healing, granted to the prayer of faith, bears witness to His grace which pardons, which sanctifies, and which takes away sin.