Hello, reader! Well, in light of the dark (that sounds strange in my head, lol) subject matter written of in yesterday’s short story, I thought I’d include an excerpt from my book today that contains more or less a fairy tale rendering of a biblical principle, namely, that Jesus’ death provided much more than life on “the other side.” In fact, His death has given us access to an abundant life in the here and now! (John 10:10)
The following is from a chapter titled “Beyond the Pale: Sickness, Oppression, and Healing.” I was led recently to revisit the Scriptures I referenced when writing it and strongly feel that its message of Jesus’ complete work on Calvary should be shared with believers who too often find themselves feeling helpless in the midst of sicknesses spiritual and physical.
I hope y’all find it helpful…and that my mom will find the kid-friendly “fairy tale” a refreshing departure from Part I of my John 8 retelling. 😉
Stay fit, stay faithful ~<3 Di
Praise the LORD, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases –Psalm 103:2-3
One of the most prevalent notions in teachings on sickness and healing is that God gives Christians sicknesses and injuries to teach them a lesson or to strengthen their faith. This is simply untrue and yet has been disseminated by pastors, teachers, and theologians as a biblical principle. You see, God created us to be perfectly healthy. In fact, the original plan – before Adam and Eve sinned – was that mankind would live forever, just as the angels in heaven do. When sin entered the world, the curse accompanied it as its villainous sidekick, bringing sickness, pain, hurt, and crime into what was once a perfect paradise. This is why there is an innate, God-given aversion to death; man was never intended to perish and still strives for long life.
Fit Fact: According to visualeconomics.com, the United States spends 19.3% of its budget on health care expenses.
I’ve heard people say after recovering from a sickness, “Well, I was pretty miserable, but I know God gave it to me to test my faith!” I’ve even heard preachers proclaim, “The minute you feel a fever come on you, ask yourself, ‘Have I sinned against God?’ He may be trying to get your attention!”
Hebrews 1:2 tells us that Jesus is the “express image” of God. The Amplified translation of the Bible says Christ is “the perfect imprint and very image of God’s nature.” Did Jesus, God incarnate, ever curse a man with leprosy or strike a woman with boils and sores? The answer is absolutely not! Acts 10:38 says Jesus went about “healing all who were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him” (emphasis mine).
Reading the four gospels, we see Jesus healing everyone that came to Him believing. Jesus said He did only what He heard His Father say (John 8:28). To believe God is the giver of pestilence and the purveyor of plagues would paint Jesus as an unfaithful follower of God’s instructions. Jesus came to give life abundantly, not take it (John 10:10). He would no more make you sick than He would lead you to sin. The cross has redeemed us from sin and sickness both!
Perhaps a fanciful fable can help illustrate God’s desire for us to be well:
Tale of Three Princesses
Once upon a time, there lived a great king who ruled a beautiful kingdom and loved his people with all of his heart. The time came when he desired to travel across a great sea to prepare a family reunion filled with the most delicious foods, rarest flowers, and most marvelous music.
Before he left, he asked his son to go to the kingdom’s finest stable and purchase the four best horses for he and his sisters to have as a departing gift to his children. The son obeyed and selected four of the most exquisite horses in the kingdom. They were strong and fast, with long, flowing manes, and sleek, shining coats.
The son sent the horses chosen for his sisters ahead of him with his servants, and he followed behind on his steed, taking in the beauty of the sunset sinking softly into the hillside. Just miles away from the castle, the son was ambushed by a band of thieves who battered him to death and left him by the roadside.
The other three horses arrived safely to the castle and were put inside a special corral, waiting for the king’s daughters to come for them. After the time of grieving for their brother had passed, the daughters excitedly ran to see their new horses – one golden, one snow white, the third, black as night. Day after day, the daughters fed the horses grains from the cups of their hands, combed and braided their manes, and sat upon them, pretending themselves to be valiant knights and distressed damsels, conquering dragons and saving the innocent.
When the king returned and asked his daughters how they liked the horses, he was grieved to hear that they never once took the horses out of the corral. They never went riding through the kingdom’s forests or upon the emerald green slopes. They never trotted into town to go to the markets, nor used the horses to carry their goods. They never truly enjoyed the horses the way he had intended. They only doted on the majestic creatures, and dreamed of what they could be.
The king hung his head and began to weep as he thought of the great price he had paid to provide his children with such wonderful gifts, that of his only son who died delivering them.
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: who forgives all your iniquities; who heals all your diseases …” (Psalm 103:2)
So, why do I get sick sometimes? A very legitimate question. Just because we become saved and redeemed from sin when we accept Jesus as Lord doesn’t mean we will never sin again. In the same way, being redeemed from sickness doesn’t mean we’ll never have to buy a bottle of Tylenol or take Tums again. Generally speaking, many of our problems are due to the fact that we live in a fallen world. For example, if you were living in Eden before the fall and accidentally cut yourself while slicing a freshly-picked apple, it wouldn’t hurt, it wouldn’t bleed, and the skin would likely mend itself together again before your eyes. Nowadays, if you cut yourself while slicing an apple in your apartment, you’ll bleed, maybe fight back tears, and slap on a Band-Aid. Ever since mankind was evicted from Eden, bruises, fractures, sickness, and disease have abounded. There’s no getting around the effects of the fall – unless you get around in a bubble.
The good news is Christ died for our sins and our diseases. Quoting the book of Isaiah, Matthew writes, “He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases” (Matt. 8:17). Faith in God’s healing atonement through the sacrifice of His Son is what overcomes sickness. The next time you feel your body getting sick, whether it’s a stomach ache or laryngitis, quote Scriptures of healing to the Lord in prayer and believe that you are well. 1st Peter 2:24 tells us that we were healed by Jesus’ stripes. He already paid the price for your healing. All you have to do is believe for its manifestation – “on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10).
That’s the end of the excerpt! Below is a great source for verses of healing. Remember, the Word of God is living and active, sharper than a two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). It’s the best weapon we’ve got!