When Illness Comes
If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
[1 John 5:14]
Let me close this week’s study of Jesus, the perfect healer, by suggesting three principles for what Christians should do when illness comes into our lives or the lives of those we care about.
First, when illness comes, we are to ask God for healing. In 1 John 5:14 we are told, “If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” Notice the Bible does not promise that if you ask God for something, He will automatically give it to you. But the Bible does promise that you can ask God for anything and He will answer that prayer according to His will. The phrase “according to His will” is not a way of letting God off the hook, saying, “Lord, if You can do it, fine; but if You can’t muster up the power to do it, then I’ll just say it wasn’t Your will.” No, God’s will is a border around your life to keep bad things from entering. So when we say, “God, I want You to do this, but only if it’s according to Your will,” that is the true prayer of faith. We are to ask God for anything He places in our hearts and then quietly trust Him to do what is best. That is faith praying. Sometimes God says yes to our request for physical healing. He did it with a leper. He did it with a paralytic. And sometimes, as in the case of the apostle Paul, God says no (2 Corinthians 12:9). But whatever need we have, we are to ask God to answer that need.
Second, when illness comes, we ought to examine our lives for unconfessed sin. Now, not all illness is the result of our individual sins, but sometimes it is. Sometimes if we are living apart from God, God will use illness as a way to get our attention. James says, “The prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed” (James 5:15-16). James is saying that not all sickness is caused by sin, but sometimes it is. And if your sickness is the result of sin, then you need to confess your sins to one another as well as to God.
Third, when you face illness, you ought to seek the prayers of other godly Christians. James says, “Pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” (5:16) Throughout the New Testament, whenever God sees Christians praying together for the same thing, He sits up and takes notice. So when you are facing an illness, don’t keep it to yourself. Let other people pray for you, because the Bible promises that the effective prayer of a righteous person accomplishes much.
How do we respond when illness comes? We ask God for healing, we examine our lives for unconfessed sin, and we seek the prayers of others.
~ Dr. Robert Jeffress ~