Healing and God’s will, an honest dialogue
Below is an e-mail exchange between myself and Anita Miller
Aaron: I’m going over your notes in preparation for the workshop. I’ve come across the “Doubt of Moses” story. You make a point “What kinds of discussions can you have over God making some born with handicaps?” The reference is Exodus 4:11 where God tells Moses:
“Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute? The deaf? The seeing or the blind? Have not I, the Lord?”
You probably know this, but Word of Faith teachers insist that it’s never God’s will for people to be handicapped, let alone born handicapped. They would say that all handicaps are either caused by the devil or are simply the result of life in a sin-cursed earth. They wouldn’t necessarily put the blame on the person or the parents. They would simply say that God wants them healed. They say that a lot of verses in the Old Testament where it appears that God is actively causing something, that what He’s actually doing is permitting it. They say that these are Hebraisms that don’t directly translate into English.
Yet, this story seems to fly in the face of that.
I’ve felt for a while that the above teaching is wrong, but mostly because it just doesn’t set right with my heart. It seems to me that if you’re always insisting that people born with handicaps are supposed to be healed, you’re devaluing them by saying that there’s something wrong with them. But what if our perspective is wrong? What if God sees it totally different? What if what we see as defects are something totally different in God’s eyes? Is it possible that God might create some with handicaps because He sees a higher purpose? (Maybe to teach us humility? Maybe to teach us to be less selfish?) Faith teachers would say absolutely not!
What say you?
Anita: When what we plainly see in the Word clashes with what we are taught, we must make a choice.
I have had to make many alterations in my beliefs as I was teaching through the Bible. Some of what good people taught me I have not justifiable in the Word.
I agree with your observations based on what God said of Himself to Moses. What is “Too young to die?” What is “normal?”
What about us is eternal and what is temporal? What is the “one thing that is necessary?”
Does God heal? Yes! Does God sometimes not heal those who believe for a healing? Yes?
Can we find anywhere is Scripture that Satan has the power to cause people to be born with “defects?”
All the maybes you listed on why people might be born with handicaps could be true, but be sure to note too that trust can only be exercised in times and instances when we do not know the whys. We who teach trust often bend the Word to try to come up with reason why. We have this driving passion to try to know why everything happens. Sometimes God clearly tells us reasons for what happen to us. But there are instances when we do not know the whys. Where is trust?
This passage in 2 Cor 4:15-18 speaks of our physical afflictions as temporary and for our sakes. They also weight the values of the temporal and the eternal.
15 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.
16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Does this passage only apply to the children born perfect?” What is perfect by the way? Ps 139:13-18
13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
15 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.
17 How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.
Aaron, we are very shallow sometimes in how we interpret the Word. I agree with your observations and will pray that God will verify HIS meaning to you and that all that is taught by you through the stories will be led by the Holy Spirit.
Aaron: Just a little FYI. The verse in Corinthians that you mentioned. The Word of Faith interpretation is that Paul was talking about persecution there. They say that while it isn’t God’s will for people to suffer sickness and/or physical deformities, some times it is God’s will for people to suffer persecution, and we can’t expect God to keep us from suffering for the faith. So they make a distinction between suffering caused by disease and/or birth defects and suffering caused by persecution. I’m not saying I agree with that. I’m just letting you know.
Anita: That is an familiar manipulation of information. When we see a passage that does not agree with what we have decided to believe, we can either rethink our position or spiritualize the passage or dismiss it by saying, “This does not mean what it seems to say.
For example. 2 Cor 4:16 says “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.”
For a person to say, “That passage is not about disease,” but it is about suffering is interesting.
Beliefs Have Consequences was a radio program I used to host. So if we take to position that this outward man perishing is about the suffering from persecution then from 2 Co 4:16 we must also embrace the idea that all believers are persecuted every day. Is that conclusion true?
Also, if we take on the belief that it is God’s will that all diseases should be healed, then only those whose death certificates list as cause of death an accident, murder or that the person died of old age, would be people who died in faith. Actually, for all who die, no matter how old, Doctors must list a physical cause of death. So again, following this idea that God wants all who have physical problems (diseases and handicaps that lead to death) to be healed, means that all people who die would not have died if they had used faith to be healed.