Readers' Forum

A Response to Why Christians Suffer'

I am a full believer in the Sovereignty of God. There are no surprises to God. He is in control of our lives and this world.

I do not believe God sits up in heaven with a schedule of when to afflict someone with the latest disease. That is inconsistent with God's character. But to say that God will prevent everything just by us following all the rules lessens God's sovereignty and puts it more into our hands. It is almost like saying that God is a computer-punch in the right data and you will get the desired response. God is not like some "Willy Wonka" waiting for us to do the right thing and then give us the grand prize.

The fact is, God does not always make sickness go away. Despite all our efforts and the many prayers of our brothers and sisters, we still get sick. And some of us stay sick for a long time. Some never recover. The great prophet Elisha died because of sickness. In Second Timothy 4:20b, Paul says "Trophimus have I left at Miletus sick."

I believe we pray for healing because the Bible teaches us to do so. But to say that it is always God's will to heal in the here and now is just not consistent with the whole biblical revelation, history, and experience of man. This belief also creates a seed bed of confusion and a feeling of inferiority among Christians who are sick and have prayed and done all the right things, only to remain sick.

My wife has struggled with Juvenile Diabetes for over 25 years. She has also had two brain surgeries to remove two benign tumors. The diabetes has done damage to her right foot that medicine or surgery cannot help. She will have to wear a brace for the rest of her life to help her foot. We do not believe that God sent this. We continue to pray and believe for a divine healing. We know that He will. We just do not know when. It could be here while living on this earth. It could be at death. Either way, we know that Divine healing is a blessing provided for us in the atonement of Christ.

In all of this, we strongly believe that God is in full control. We serve Him and love Him because He created us and revealed unto us His wonderful salvation which will ultimately end with a perfect body even though we have to live with a less than perfect one now.

Pastor Cliff Bowman
Stevens Church of God
Wise, Virginia

Dispensational Difference

I loved the October article, Is God the Source of Sickness and Disease.' I really believe the answer in this discrepancy is in "dispensations." Yes, the Gospels are full of wonderful healings that Jesus performed because He was preparing the people for "The Kingdom." We have the parenthesis of the "Church Age" and that changed the thrust. That's where we lose the health and wealth people; they stay in The Kingdom' and don't make the shift for the Church Age.

While we have immediate healing from sin when we repent, our physical healing comes at the Lord's discretion. "Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I (Paul) left at Miletus sick" (2 Tim. 4:20). I have seen immediate healings. I have seen healings just like the one spoken of in John 4:52 where "he began to amend." But we won't be free from all illness and pain till the new heaven and new earth (see Rev 21:4).

Let's keep praying for persons to be healed and keep believing the Lord for all the things available to us, but let's allow Him be God in our lives.

The health and wealth doctrine is such a doctrine of condemnation. They say if you're not healed, you didn't have enough faith or you have sin in your life. So many people have been shipwrecked when they're not healed, never to walk with the Lord again thinking they've failed miserably. The majority of people today want to chase miracles instead of the Lord. They want to live on a high,' just like a drug-high.

I feel so very sorry for them; this is just what the TV is full of and many of the churches. We have one in our town that preaches "God doesn't know everything!" This is the last daysperilous times are here!!! Hold fast; Jesus is coming!

Janet Nations
Shiloh Community
Pastor Rick Nations' wife
Safford, Arizona

Sovereign as He Wants to Be

I just read the comment in "Readers' Forum" in the December issue. In answer to your question, "How far does the sovereignty of God extend?" God's sovereignty extends just as far as He wants it to. It seems to me that today's Christian society has a real problem with trying to put God into some nice little human "box." All wrapped up and humanly understood and figured out.

God is God because He is above all of our highest understanding. Wouldn't it be much better if we just stopped trying to figure God out and believe in, and trust Him-NO MATTER WHAT THAT ENTAILS!

Roger W. Dewar
Hamilton, Ohio

Disease Common Door to Heaven

The question of the cause and source of sickness, whether it could be from God or Satan will only be answered in heaven. Most of us will be taken to heaven by way of a disease or sickness. I find it difficult to accept the idea that God will decide the time, but will leave the method of my home-going up to Satan.

Pastor Wes Smith
Western Avenue Baptist Church
Brawley, Ca.

Stronger than Death

In response to the letter to the editor in your December, 2007, issue: I thank God for allowing sickness and age to enter my life. If I am to live in perfect health, I could only die at the hand of another. I look forward to dying. To die, something will have to get fouled up in my body system.

I am sure the devil is looking forward to getting me before the throne of God and accusing me of all those sins. Ha! My Jesus has taken all those on Himself and I am forgiven and will be received into that eternal kingdom. There, there will be no sin or sickness forever. Look forward to live with Him.

Bill Bein

P.S. I continue to read through your magazine in my daily readings. Thank you and many thanks to Spiros Zodhiates and his mate for years of faithful service to the Lord who is stronger than death.

Dear Readers: The question of why God allows suffering is obviously one that a great many Christians have dealt with-we've looked at it from just about every angle in Reader's Forum over the past few months, and we feel as though it's been sufficiently covered. Thank you for your many letters on this subject. - The Editors

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