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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 0 comments

"I'm thankful that God doesn't always give me what I want, but always gives me what He knows I need. Given the opportunity, I'd choose the easy route every time and God knows this. Twelve years ago I began having pain so incredible I couldn't imagine living through it. A doctor at the pain clinic told me I'd be fortunate if I could become functional. I'm still dealing with the remnants of pain and the effects of a closed-head injury nine years ago. People have told me if I'd claim healing, I'd have it, which really makes me angry because a) I must be "doing it wrong" and b) they're discounting the very thing that God has used to form me more into the image of His Son. Without the suffering I've been through, I'd be running around, crazy-busy and concerned for only myself. Instead, I'm teaching Bible study for 100+ women and getting ready for our fourth trip to Kenya. Who but God would choose someone with physical limitations and memory issues to represent Him in a country half-way around the world? I even memorized the entire book of James this summer - me, who can leave a seminar and not be able to tell you one thing said without looking at my notes! There's no way I'd want to go through what I did again, but I'm thankful that God didn't let me take the easy way out. I wouldn't trade my life now for anything. The benefits of walking with the Lord outweighs everything it took to get me here."

A pastor preparing his Thanksgiving sermon asked what people were thankful for and above is my reply. Though I did not ask for any respose, when I posted it I felt that someone would respond to it. For some reason I thought it would be a positive response, but I was mistaken. Sure enough, I did receive an unsolicited response, which in a nutshell said a) I'm "doing it wrong" and b) discounted the very thing that God has used to form me more into the image of His Son. I guess I should've seen it coming. I think this must be what it feels like to get beat over the head with a Bible. I can't say I like it much. In fact, it makes me angry. People are healed according to God's will and timing, not man's. Anything said to the contrary is a lie and very hurtful to those in the midst of suffering, which is why I decided to address some of the statements made. (These statements are in italics.)

First, I was challenged to "find any place in the New Testament where Jesus said, "No, I'm not going to heal you." Lazarus comes to mind. While his sisters wanted Jesus to come right away and heal him, Jesus deliberately stayed away until Lazarus was dead. Jesus did not heal Lazarus in the manner his sisters desired, but allowed him to die so that people might believe (John 11:14-15). Jesus was often surrounded by crowds of people wanting to be healed, and there are many, many examples of Jesus healing, but I don't think Scriputure says Jesus always healed everyone. Luke 5:15-16 says, "Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed." (Matthew 4:24-5:1 and Mark 3:10-13 tell similar stories.) Jesus did not stay until everyone left satisfied. Time with the Father was a priority in Jesus' life and He didn't let people's expectations take away from their fellowhip.

It was pointed out that Isaiah 53:5 says "by his (Jesus') wounds we are healed." Do I believe God can heal? Absolutely! Do I believe He heals everyone who asks for it in the way they think it should be? No. I believe God always does what is best for us, but we don't always know what that is; we just think we do.

I was reminded that I myself quote Jeremiah 29:11, where God says that His plans are "not to harm you," and then was told, "The God I serve would never, ever use bad to have good...he don't [sic] need to." While I'm certain that He doesn't "need to," I think there are many times in Scripture when God does "use bad to have good," starting one verse back with Jeremiah 29:10. "When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place." Yes, God had great plans for the Israelite's future, but first they would have to endure seventy years of hardship as captives in Babylon.

Romans 8:28 says, "we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him." I think this verse says that God does indeed use bad to bring good, and I find that to be very comforting. In God's great economy, nothing is wasted. Knowing that God will bring good out of each and every situation is what keeps me going every day. Who would want to suffer for nothing?

I was asked, "If you say God made you sick or allowed it...how can you believe Him to get you well?" My answer: He did it with Job. My question is, "If God did not cause it or allow it, who do you think is in control?" Job was blameless (Job 1:1) and yet God allowed satan to test him and set the parameters for that testing (Job 1:8-12, 2:3-6). Job stood firm in his faith and ultimately was healed (Job 42:10-17). In fact, God rebuked Job's so-called "friends" who told him he was "doing it wrong." "I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has" (Job 42:7).

I was told, "your healing is according to your faith," and while Jesus often says, "your faith has healed you," I do not believe faith is a prerequisite to healing, although I do believe lack of faith can be an obstacle. There is no mention of the faith of the invalid healed at Bethesda (John 5:1-9); he didn't even say he wanted to be healed!

God does not promise that we will be happy or healthy, His goal is to make us holy. While I'll never reach perfection this side of glory, I'm a lot closer than I would have been, had I been left to my own devices.

Yahweh Rophe, the Lord who heals, thank you for the healing you'ver brought to my life. Thank you for not letting me take the easy way out, but instead doing what You knew would be best for me. I hope I grow up to be just like you. Love, Lisa

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