Illness Doesn’t Equal Lack of Faith


 

I have heard  that my tragedies, illnesses, abuse etc. are cast upon me because maybe I am not virtuous enough?  I’ve even heard that maybe I am cursed because I do not have enough faith?  A friend of mine had someone in a local market say that they were going to “cast away the devil in her” because she carries a cane. I have had people say that they want to “lay hands upon me and pray upon me, because I am afflicted”, they feel that their prayers will “cast out evil spirits, or evilness that has caused my afflictions”.  There was  another who  told me that I don’t “have enough God in my life” and therefore I have “so many tragedies” and it is because I “have not forgiven my abusers in this life”…..Sometimes I feel that over zealous, “fundamentalists”, who are excited about God’s miracles, try to “play God” in peoples lives. For instance, I heard about an 18 year old girl who went to a Christian camp and was told that her younger brother need not have died from Cancer, if only the family had more faith! WHAT?  You NEVER know who is going to be stricken with an affliction, an illness, disease or grief.  Put yourself in their shoes and think about what you say.  I am a “Chemo Angel”.  I get assigned a person who’s going through chemo therapy and I send them small gifts & cards of cheer. Right now I have a small, 3 year old girl, with “Langerhans cell Histiocytosis (LCH) “, a form of childhood cancer. Could anyone say that she is ill because she doesn’t have enough Faith or that she’s done something to wrong God and he is “disappointed” in her? Can you say that she has had cancer for 3 out of her 4 years of life, because her family doesn’t have enough faith? NO, that would be cruel and judgemental!

First of all, none of the statements about “illness being due to a lack of Faith”, are accurate. Look at Job and all that he went through!  Job was persecuted because of his faith in God.  Job was given an “affliction”, not because he was “cursed” and certainly not by his own fault.  Three of Job’s friends came to comfort him at the beginning of his worst pain and loss! They were sure that Job was sick and suffering because of the sins he had committed during his life. They told him that “righteous people don’t suffer”. Job always continued to say that he had done nothing sinful or wrong.  In the Bible it does not say that a lack of healing is equal to a lack of faith! God can choose not to heal the faithful, but it is not connected to a lack of faith.

It is cruel, unloving, unkind and just wrong, to say that someone has a lack of faith and is ill, or stricken with loss and tragedy in life because they don’t have enough prayer, faith or enough love of Jesus Christ.  To accost anyone in such a judgemental way does not help but only makes them feel marginalized and more alone.  There are many different faiths in our society. Each Religion has its own set of beliefs, rules and rituals. I’m not here to judge any of these Faiths or  beliefs, but I am here to say that nobody is sick because of their belief system or lack of faith.  People don’t live with chronic pain day in and day out due to any Religious affiliations or lack thereof. We don’t use a cane, a wheelchair or a walker because we do not pray enough.  It does not help a person with chronic pain and illness, to approach them and say any of the words that I’ve stated above. If you choose to pray for someone, then you can do that. But don’t try to push guilt and more pain onto anyone who’s already suffering. That doesn’t help, it only hurts and makes things much worse. Please try to remember to treat others as you would wish to be treated.

Illness Doesn’t Make Me Any Less Christian


jesussI have heard  lately, that my tragedies, illnesses, abuse etc. are cast upon me because maybe I am not virtuous enough? Maybe I am not “Godly enough”?  Possibly I am cursed or being put upon because I do not have enough faith or pray enough. A friend of mine had someone stop them at Wal-mart and tell them they were going to “cast away the devil in them” because he carries a cane. I have had people say that they want to “lay hands upon me and pray upon me, because I am afflicted”, they feel that their prayers will “cast out evil spirits, or evilness that has caused my afflictions”.  There has been another who  told me that I don’t “have enough God in my life” and therefore I have “so many tragedies” and it is because I “have not forgiven my abusers in this life”…..Sometimes I feel that over zealous -fundamentalist Christians, who are excited about God’s miracles, try to “be God” in peoples lives. For instance, I heard about an 18 year old girl who went to a Christian camp and was told that her younger brother need not have died from Cancer, if only the family had more or even enough faith! WHAT??? You NEVER know who is going to be stricken with an affliction, an illness, disease or grief.  Put yourself in their shoes and think about what you say.  I am a “Chemo Angel”. I get assigned a person who’s going through chemo therapy and I send them small gifts, cards of cheer. Right now I have a small, 3 year old girl, with “Langerhans cell Histiocytosis (LCH) “, a form of childhood cancer. Could anyone say that she is ill because she doesn’t have enough Faith or that she’s done something to wrong God and he is “disappointed” in her? Can you say that she has cancer for the last 2 out of 3 years of her young life, because her family doesn’t have enough faith? NO!! That would be heretic in the very least!sins

First of all, none of the above statements about illness being for a lack of Faith, are  true. I believe in my whole heart and soul that I am a God loving and God fearing believer of Jesus Christ. I believe in One God, the Father and the creator of Heaven and Earth.I believe in one being with the Father and through him all things were made. I believe that Jesus Christ his only son came down from Heaven and  suffered, died and was buried. I believe that on the 3rd day he rose up into Heaven, with his fresh wounds in full view and he did not try to hide them. Jesus suffered more than anyone has ever suffered. He suffered and was persecuted all of his life and most of all at Cavalry.  He was called a “fake” and much worse. He was abandoned, denied, and he was physically and verbally abused. He never tried to hide these facts. They are not a cause of shame for Jesus. He went up into Heaven on the 3rd day and rose from the dead, in fulfillment of the scriptures. He is seated at the right hand of the Father, God. He did not hide his wounds as he appeared to the Apostles and showed them his fresh wounds. He is seated with God the father and his wounds were not healed.    Jesus had more faith than any human that ever lived.  He most certainly was and is both God and Man but His suffering was not taken away because He lacked enough faith. No,actually,  “the author of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” Hebrews 12:12..*****SOMETIMES it is because we HAVE FAITH that we SUFFER…LIKE JESUS DID!!!

Look at Job and all that he went through! Job was persecuted because of his faith in God.  Satan told God “take away his good life and see how much faith he really has?” Job was given boils and lost his 10 children and so much more happened to him that would be just horrific for any of us to live with. Job was given an “affliction”, not because he was “cursed”. Not because he did not have “enough” of God or praying in his life. Job was given these things along with his afflictions, BECAUSE of his belief in our Lord God.  Three of Job’s friends came to comfort him at the beginning of his worst pain and loss! They were silent for 7 days. Once they began to talk they ruined everything. All 3 of them in different ways hurt Job deeply and accused Job of sinning. They were sure that Job was sick and suffering because of the sins he had committed during his life. Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar had believed and then told Job that “righteous people don’t suffer.“  They figured if Job was suffering (and he was suffering horribly), he must’ve committed a terrible sin, secretive sin. His friends told him to admit his sins to God and then “he will make you well and give you back your health”. Job always continued to say that he had done nothing sinful or wrong. He didn’t feel that he deserved such an attack from God but refused to shake his faith in a merciful God; because he had not sinned and he had great faith.  Job and millions of other faithful believers, may come to believe that we are afflicted or ill, well within the intent, will and purpose of God. He is the Artist and we are the clay. It does not say anywhere in the Bible that a lack of healing is equal to a lack of faith!!! God can choose not to heal the faithful, but it is not connected to a lack of faith.

We need to examine our own hearts if we are stricken with illness. Anyone who has sinned, or who has not been obedient, should pray and ask God for forgiveness; whether sick or well. We should all make the changes that God asks us to make through prayer. The sick and well alike should search their hearts and also allow God into their hearts!  BUT we can have a sin-free heart and soul, a super clear conscience to stand before Jesus Christ; and still be sick!!!!. It is cruel, unloving, unGodly, unkind and UNBIBLICAL to say that someone has a lack of faith and is ill, or stricken with loss and tragedy in life because they don’t have enough prayer, faith or enough love of Jesus Christ and/or God.  Many people in the Bible’s stories who were sick, weren’t ill because of their own sins….NO…They were followers of Jesus Christ and they were very faithful.  God, for unknown reasons, possibly many different reasons, had it in his plan that some must endure physical illness. Most of the faithful followers who were ill, were afflicted due to their great Faith and not for a “lack of Faith”.  I cannot think of any person in the Bible who is a follower and believer in Jesus Christ, who suffers or suffered, and their lack of Faith was to blame.  In John 11 1:14 you will see these words:  “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” These do not sound like words about illness for lack of Faith!  Also…think about a poor Sudanese person, ravaged with illness throughout his/her body because they are so malnourished.  They had no way to get the food that their body needed to keep the illnesses away. What if they heard these words? How do you think that would make them feel?  I wonder how many Christians, like me, have suffered or are suffering in despair because someone has said such cruel words of condemnation to them?  toohards (331x152)
Having Faith pretty much assures us that we WILL suffer.  Look at Paul in the Bible, who had great faith in Jesus Christ and he had even seen the resurrected Christ.  This did not reduce his sufferings at all!! . In 2 Corinthians, it states some of the sufferings he endured, “as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger” (2 Cor 6:4-5). Paul suffered so much, “yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything” (2 Cor 6:9-10). Here Paul had so many negative and horrible things happen to him! He suffered:  beatings, imprisonment, was in riots, had hunger, sleeplessness, was beaten, felt sorrowful and he was poor!  He had nothing but possessed everything due to the faith he had in his ministry, his future deliverance, and in Jesus Christ!. I believe that our sufferings keep us in prayer more often. I believe also that illness and suffering cause us to depend on God more frequently and thus it keeps us humble. Perhaps this is why God refused to heal Paul even though he prayed three times to have his “thorn in the flesh” removed. God didn’t tell Paul that he didn’t have enough faith but that God’s grace was enough for him. Paul says, “Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, [kept Paul humble] I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me [kept Paul in prayer]. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. [kept Paul dependent upon God]” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me [glorifying Christ]. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong [when he is suffering, he must depend on God Who shows Himself strong]” (2 Cor 12:7-10).

If you would like to read more about this subject in the Bible, you can find some discussions in the following places:

Psalms 71:20-21You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again. You will increase my greatness and comfort me again.
John 16:22 “So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. (Jesus’ words)”

I found this verse the most profound for my own situation. I am going to keep this one close to my lips when the tormentors try to admonish me or even make fun of me for being ill, for having been abused and for having had many tragedies in my life thus far (I am 54 yrs old). I will tell them to go to Lamentations 3:31-32For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men.”

wills

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No Need To Be Self-Righteous …I love God Too!


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Hello Luvs,

I know I’ve been writing a lot lately. I guess I have many feelings these days. One thing I just want to touch on today is probably something that will bring on emotions for some people. I’m not a “fighter”; I’m a lover and a pleaser. The thing in life that I want to be most of all, is “there” or “available” for those who need a friend to talk to or someone to work things out with. I’m not trying to turn anyone’s beliefs into my own beliefs. I have my own and you are free to have your own as well.

I was reading my daily encouragement book called “365 Encouraging Verses of the Bible”. It is a “Hope filled Reading for every day of the year”. In Jeremiah 7:24 NIV it says “But they did not listen or pay attention: instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts.  They went backward and not forward.”  I want to explain what this day’s reading taught me.  It made my heart and soul well up with tears for the people in my life and those not in my life.  You can have Religion but not necessarily have God.  You can think that boasting, putting others down, saying that if you don’t see outward signs of someone’s “Godliness” that they don’t have any.  You can even say that if people’s heads are not full of Bible verses due to lack of memorization skills as high as yours, that they don’t know God either.  But today’s reading just really made me deeply think about this.  You know people on social networks lots of time like to put up quotes. Sometimes these are Bible quotes, Hope quotes or just funny quotes.  But just because you can retype some words you found online doesn’t make your relationship with God necessarily any better than another persons.

The Jews of the time of Jeremiah were great at following the laws of the land.  They thought if they continued to sacrifice then they would make God happy.    In Jeremiah 7:22-23, God told them something different. He told them “I did not just give them commands about burnt offerings…but…this command:….Walk in obedience to  all I command you” (NIV, italics added).

The real literal wording of that last sentence reads: “They were backward and not forwards.”  They were doing, practicing their religion the wrong way.  They’d focused on outward appearances and actions and not the internal feelings and obedience to and of the Lord.

Earlier, the prophet Isaiah and predicted that the people would fall into captivity, they would regress backwards due to having a “little” religion:  “the word of the Lord to them will become: do this, do that, a rule for this, a rule for that; a little here, a little there–so that as they go they will fall backward, they will be injured and snared and captured” (28:13 NIV)

The goal for us Christians is always the same really.  John says it correctly in I John 5:3 NIV :  “This is love for God:  to keep his commands”.  IF you have true love and devotion for the Lord, it will show itself and be on display in all area of our lives without our physically trying to put it there.  It will just “BE” there because it’s in your heart and soul, not just in the perfect mind.

I want to say that I wish you a Blessed Easter, the resurrection of Jesus.  Easter is the most Holy day of the year, even bigger than Christmas to people like me, of Christian faith.  If you are a Christian, I pray that you find solace and comfort and love in the Lord.  That you feel him inside your soul and your heart, not just practice the motions.  If you love someone, show them; don’t tell them.  If they don’t love you back, love them anyway.  If you have people in your life who’ve hurt you.  It’s OK to feel sad about it and sometimes if you’re still fearful of them, you can forgive them without having them be in your life at all.  You do not have to reconcile with those who’ve hurt you in very big ways; at least not a “physical reconciliation”.  You can reconcile in your own heart and feel sad for them, forgive them inside; without the outward act of physically being in the same place with them. Just my thoughts for the day!  Have a Blessed Easter and be safe and keep on loving!
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