Dear SaltChurch Family,
I wanted to take a moment to speak to a theme that I’ve heard expressed from time to time and point us back to firm foundations. It is sometimes suggested that Christians should not allow God to work healing through the general grace of medicine and that it is the norm to expect health and healing for all Christians because that is “God’s will”.
God’s general grace gives us many avenues towards healing, such as plants, vitamins and medical knowledge. He has equipped many men and women with incredible gifts of healing through the instrument of medicine. Nowhere in scripture is medicine condemned as an unfit means through which God should work healing. In fact one of the writers of the Gospel accounts was himself a physician, Luke (Colossians 4:14). Paul also told Timothy to drink wine in order to settle his tummy and address some ongoing health concerns (1Tim 5:23).
God sometimes works through the miraculous, but regularly works through the ordinary. Like the Psalmist in Psalm 121, we do not look to the natural for our deliverance, but believe that if we are healed it is God who wielded the scalpel, working through the common grace of medicine to bring about extraordinary outcomes.
While we believe God provides for all of our physical needs (food, water, shelter etc) we don’t view working for our wage as a lack of faith, but rather see employment as a means through which God provides. The same is true for medicine.
The second suggestion is that it is God’s will that all Christians would know good health and miraculous healing. Again, there is no biblical basis for this statement. The Bible, however, does teach that Christians will continue to experience illness, suffering and physical death, but that the sting of these has been removed because of the hope of the resurrection.
Paul remained unhealed (2Cor 12:7-10), as did Trophimus (2Tim 4:20) and even Timothy’s “frequent ailments” are expected to continue (1Tim 5:23). Epaphroditus was healed according to God’s mercy, however it is unclear if this was miraculous or through natural recovery allowed by God’s mercy (Phil 2:25-27).
Does this mean that we don’t ask for God’s healing when we are unwell? Not at all! The overwhelming biblical sentiment is that we would lay ALL of our desires and needs before God, knowing that whether his answer is “yes”, “no” or “not yet”, His heart towards us is only good, all of the time.
Overwhelmingly, the Bible encourages us to seek miraculous signs and wonders to accompany our proclamation of the Gospel of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.
But for the Christian, we are to lay our needs before the Lord, seeking his guidance as we avail ourselves of both His general grace (medicine) and his specific grace (miracle).
If you’ve ever been made to feel like you are not trusting God because you have been trusting Him to work through medicine, counselling, psychology, physiotherapy or any of the many other means of general grace, please know that God loves you, wants the best for you, and invites you to trust him to care for you through the numerous means He makes available.
At SaltChurch we say it’s ok to not be ok, it’s just not ok to stay there. We are all works in progress and our lives are sometimes light and easy, and sometimes heavy and difficult. God doesn’t want us to wallow in our struggles, but neither does he want us to pretend that they don’t exist. We face our reality, invite our church to be our support, and trust God to be our deliverance.
I hope this serves to encourage you all. God is at work, His Word is our foundation and His Spirit is our counsellor, always pointing us back to grace.
In His grip