We should thank God in adverse situations, but not for adverse situations.
I was recently told of a testimony, of someone who was born (what the Bible refers to as) maimed. I don’t want to go into too many details, as the person is quite well known, but I was told that this person goes all over the world, sharing about how they live with their physical disability. Apparently they even thank God for making them like it, and I was told that people are getting saved through this testimony. Another person even thanked God for giving them cancer, considering it to be a blessing! The problem with all this, is that it is completely unbiblical. The people in question, are following the example of Job, who thought that God was behind everything that happened to Him and decided to praise Him anyway. It’s great to praise God in the midst of adverse situations, but Job misunderstood – these things do not come from God, and we should not be thanking Him for them. We should thank God in adverse situations, but not for adverse situations. It was in fact Satan who was behind what happened to Job. I don’t want to get into what happened with Job here, but you can read my post ‘What Was The Deal With Job?‘ for more on what really happened.
Living With The Curse 101
I struggle to see what people are getting out of a testimony such as the one I mentioned. I guess that the basic premise is, ‘How To Handle Living Under The Curse’ or ‘Living With The Curse 101’. Through a lack of biblical knowledge, the opinion among many Christians is that we are stuck with the bad things in life, so we might as well learn to leave with them. Therefore, if they can hear a testimony of how someone worse off than them is handling things, that is (I’m guessing!) a great encouragement. The thing is though, Galatians 3:13 says that we have been redeemed, or set free, from the curse. It does not say that we are going to be redeemed when we get to heaven, it says that we have already been redeemed. You can read about the curse in Deuteronomy 28:15-68, but you could summarise it by saying that it includes everything that is bad. It’s quite simple really: good = blessing, bad = curse.
God gets glory when people are healed.
Contrary to many people’s opinion, God does not get any glory through how well someone handles living under the curse. On the contrary Matthew 15:31 says, “Insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel“. God gets glory when people are healed, not when they continue to put up with the very same curse that Jesus suffered and died to redeem them from. It is commendable that someone can still serve a God that they think caused them to be born maimed, but that is not the God I serve!
God wants us healed, not sick, disabled or deformed.
I am sure that someone is probably thinking of the account of the blind man in John 9, when Jesus’ disciples asked if the man was born blind because of his sin or his parents’ sin. Jesus replied in verse 3, “Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him“. In this passage, Jesus seems to imply that the man was born blind, in order that he could bring glory to God. The Contemporary English Version puts things a little differently, “‘No, it wasn’t!’ Jesus answered. ‘But because of his blindness, you will see God work a miracle for him’“. This is probably a better translation, as it does not imply that God caused the man to be born blind, just so that he could be healed. Its amazing how many people will latch onto a verse such as this, but ignore the numerous verses that show that God wants us to be healed, not to be sick, disabled or deformed. You cannot just take one verse and use it to prove a doctrine, which does not agree with the rest of the Bible. So do not use this verse to dismiss what I am saying.
They know that God can heal, but there is no expectation that He will heal.
Someone may well ask, “If God wants us healed, why hasn’t this person (mentioned earlier) been healed?“. Which is a valid question, and the convenient answer would be that it isn’t God will for them to be healed, that God is reaching others through their disability,or that maybe God is trying to teach them something. None of these things are true though. The truth is, that this person has not been healed, because there is no faith for healing (yes, I’m being blunt!). They know that God can heal, but there is no expectation that He will heal. Many Christians believe in healing (which is a step up from not believing in healing!), but because they have no idea why God heals, or what it would take for them to get healed, the chances of them receiving healing are very small. It takes faith to get healed, numerous times Jesus said phrases like, “Your faith has made you whole“. I don’t want to get too deep into this now, but you can read my post ‘What’s With This Faith Thing?‘ for more on why faith is vital to receiving healing. The bottom line is, as long as someone is actually thanking God for whatever is wrong with them, as long as they think that God – and not Satan – is responsible, they are not going to receive their healing. How can they expect to be healed, when they see their situation as being from God?
Satan works through situations like this.
“But Matthew, people are getting saved through testimonies like this“. Yes, and there can be two reasons for this. Either because with God nothing is impossible; or because at some point, the basic salvation message is mentioned, and people are receiving the new birth. Let me tell you the problem I have with this sort of testimony though – Satan works through situations like this, to keep not only the person them self in bondage, but also whoever is encouraged by it. New Christians receive the new birth, but remain subject to the rest of the curse, that they have been redeemed from (see ‘Christ Has Redeemed Us From….What, Exactly? Part I‘ and ‘Christ Has Redeemed Us From….What, Exactly? Part II‘). Other Christians have their wrong thinking reinforced and both groups live their lives subject to sickness, disease, poverty and whatever else Satan throws at them. It’s great that people are getting saved, but from Satan’s point of view, if he can keep them in bondage, despite the fact that they’re saved, then he doesn’t have to worry about them being any threat to him. Read your Bible, actually do some studying for yourself, rather than relying on experience or what someone else says. Because if experience or what other people say, does not line up with the Bible, who or what do you think you should believe?!?! (see ‘The Bible vs Experience & Opinion‘ and ‘Isn’t It Time To Actually Believe The Bible?‘)
I AM the answer.
As Christians, we are supposed to be the answer to a hurting, lost world. Jesus has commissioned us to bring the same deliverance that He brought while He was here. We are the body of Christ, we are ones that are supposed to be carrying on the work that He started. Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8) – that is the work that we should be doing. Nowhere did Jesus say that we are to teach people how to live under the curse, with a smile on their faces. We are not supposed to be helping people to put up with their problems. We are supposed to be the answer to those problems – after all God Himself is living inside us.
If you have any further questions or thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment.
If you have never received Jesus as your Lord & Saviour, if you have gone away from God, or if you have any doubts regarding your salvation. I encourage you to click on the link below. Clicking on the link will not secure your salvation, but praying the prayer you find, from your heart, will.
For the salvation prayer, please click here.