Have folks ever made fun of you when you talked about how God had comforted you through a difficult situation? I have. It's as if God is no more than a mind game to them… just some game I play to try to defy reality.
You can stand on any corner and tell people about the love of God and the comfort He can provide without causing much of a stir. But if you start teaching people how God can change their lives—and the bars, the strip clubs, the marriage counselors, the hospitals all begin losing clientele because of the Word—you will not be left in peace.
Comfort does not threaten—but change does. Comfort can't hurt anybody—least of all, evil. But change is a threat, especially to evil.
I enjoy watching the old westerns. Sometimes the hero ends up in jail. The sheriff has no issue if the heroine comes up to the cell window and sings to her guy or comforts him in some other way. But if she decides to hitch a team to the bars on that window, she will have some trouble with the sheriff.
If I am imprisoned by some circumstance in my life, my own mindset can be my jailer. My own reality can keep me locked up. My way of thinking, my reality, will accept God's promises so long as they are only comfort. But a promise from God for change will be met with resistance.
Going back to the example of healing, we established yesterday that saying either, “God can heal” or “God will heal, if He chooses to” does not stir up much resistance. Our reality is comforted, but our reality is not challenged. When, however, the promises of God move from comfort toward change, resistance builds against believing His promises.
What if I leave off the “if He chooses to” part? I would then be saying: “God will heal.” To make such a statement is to claim that God is willing to heal—without exception. I would be challenged by those who know of exceptions. They would cite folks that God did not heal—drawing the conclusion that God did not want to heal these folks for some reason known only to Him. It wouldn't matter how much Word I had to back up my claim. Some would refute my claim, not because of any Word they had to the contrary, but because they knew of exceptions to my statement.
What if I were to say, “God's healing is already in us; we just need to appropriate it”? I would hear responses such as: “Are you saying Uncle Johnny is sick because he doesn't have enough faith?” “Are you saying the Jones' baby died because of sin?” Of course, I am saying no such thing.
My point is not to defend any single promise that God has given us, but to defend them all. We all have different needs, each of which can be met by something from the complete list of God's promises throughout His Word. I want to help you with your need. I want you to see how you might be eroding the power of His promise in your life because you have diminished your expectations, and have consequently diminished your ability to receive from Him.
Let's go back to an illness. I am going to talk about an illness in “your” life—not someone else's life. It's too easy to draw a wrong conclusion in another person's life because, no matter how close you are to him or her, you can never know exactly what is going on between that individual and God. It's difficult enough to know what is going on in your own mind.
From studying Isaiah 53:4–5, Psalm 103, Psalm 91, 3 John 1:2, and many, many other verses, I understand that one of God's promises to me (and to anyone else) is that I have the ability to live in good health. I have within me the provision from the Lord to never have my body stop me from doing whatever it is that I am supposed to do. If you disagree, I ask you to at least acknowledge that someone could reasonably come to my conclusion from a study of these passages. Again, I'm only using healing as an illustration of how compromising what we read in the Word by what we see in life can have damaging consequences. So let's track through this process with you as a person who needs to be healed.
I don't think you would question me if I told you that God will heal you, if He wants to heal you (if it be His will). This is a pretty accepted standard in the church. Based on this standard, if God chooses to heal you, He could do it supernaturally—in an instant or over a period of time—or He could do it naturally—through medical intervention or through a change in nutrition and/or exercise.
If this is your position, whether or not you are healed is strictly up to God. You could have a thousand people praying for you while you were being treated at the Mayo clinic, but deep down you would believe that your healing is up to God. “If it be God's will, my treatment will be successful.”
So far we're in pretty good shape. I've given you some hope. And you've turned it over to God. All that matters at this point is whether or not God wants to heal you. If things go your way, then it was God's will. If things don't go your way, then it's still God's will. (Fortunately, you have a very good chance of being healed because of the great medical community we have in this country.)
But what if I'm a little more direct? I'm going to change the “if it be His will” to “and He is willing.” I'm going to tell you, “God can heal you, and God is willing to heal you.” But you have a problem with this statement. “If God can heal me, and if He is also willing to heal me, then why am I still sick?” You may want to believe this promise, but so–and–so didn't get well. You may believe that God both can and will heal, but you make an exception for yourself. You remember friends or loved ones—men and women who had more faith than you have—who didn't get well. And you make even more exceptions.
It becomes difficult to accept that God is both able “and” willing to heal you. That puts some of it back on you. If God is not the variable then you or somebody else has to be the variable.
What if I just go way out there? What if I tell you God has already made the provision for your healing—and it's within you? Will you hold that up as a possibility? Will you consider that kind of promise? Will you doggedly cling to that as a promise? Will you respond to everything telling you otherwise with a firm “No”?
Or will you give in to your present reality and refuse to look for missing ingredients?
To consider a promise of God that directly contradicts an opinion or mindset we have formed from our own experience is a very difficult challenge. We have to admit that it's not all up to God. We have to admit that maybe we have to add some ingredients to the mix—and that we don't yet know what those ingredients are.
If you will refuse to make an exception to God's promises, then you will remain open to the missing ingredients. As long as you consider a promise of God to be a possibility, it has the opportunity to become a reality.
Have a good day,