Does God allow Christians to Suffer?
My objective in this teaching is to look at the opposite side of the faith massage that is so prevalent in todayís church and to look at the subject of Christian suffering. In doing so, I hope to add a measure of much needed biblical balance. There are many that teach; all Christians are the best and that it is Godís will that we all be healed and walk in prosperity.
The cold hard facts are; that most are not healed and most never walk in financial freedom. To be sure there is truth to what they say but not the truth in its entirety. Many faith teachers would cast the blame upon the individual and declare that they are sick or in poverty because they are not using their faith but I beg to differ. Only God knows how many dear saints of God have continued to believe in Jesus and held on to their faith even though they were fed to lions, burned at the stake, or suffered a life time, at the hands of disease and hardship.
Does God heal? Does God abundantly bless? The scriptures declare that He does, experience declares that he does, but to be sure it is as He wills and not as we will. The scriptures say in 1 Corinthians 12:1-11 the gifts are as He wills (healing is among these 9 gifts.
There is a faith message but much of what we hear is centered around materialism and and a love for this world. Do you suppose that it has something to do with living in a nation that bows to materialism as god? Faith teachers believe that all we have to do is believe and quote the scriptures and we can have whatever our heart desires. Just when did God put us in a place of sovereignty? Brethren we are not sovereign over Godís Word, He is.
It is God that determines the answers to our prayer and not we, by our scripture incantations and refusal to speak a negative remark. We should always seek Godís will and counsel about everything we pray about. Is there a time to stand on Godís word and believe Him for something? Most certainly, when God has given us an answer to prayer.
As already stated, my objective is to look at the opposite side of the faith message and to examine the subject of Christians who suffer, from the counsel of Godís written word and from the cold hard facts of reality, my purpose is not to tear down but to add balance.
The faith message that has been presented; has left many Christians disappointed, and even bitter towards God; in their minds they have done everything right, they quoted the scriptures, they believed with all their might but to no avail.
Some confessions of the heart
Who hasnít heard of a sad story of some person who allowed a child to die, by withholding vital medicine that could have saved their life? Why? The parents were believing God to heal. I would ask the question where was love? Notice the following scripture:
1Corinthians 13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
I know a Christian man who believed God and confessed the scriptures for 5 long years for a healing in his ear. Often he would hear wild sounds in his ear and would rebuke Satan and command him to leave his ear as he quoted scriptures and gave God praise. At the end of the five years God spoke to the man and said, ďgo to the doctorĒ he did as he was instructed and seen an ear specialist.
The results were that his inner ear was eaten away with infection. As the Christian man spoke with the specialist, he asked the doctor ďwhat do you suppose this noise is that I hear in my ear?Ē The doctor informed him that what he was hearing was his own heartbeat, as there is a large artery, which lies close to the inner ear. Upon hearing this, the man realized that it wasnít a demon in his ear, in fact he felt utterly stupid.
How many do you suppose have thrown away their glasses or their crutches only to have to replace them again as the penalty for foolishness?
Then there was the Christian man who believed God to heal his daughterís ear, after a period of time the Lord instructed the man to take his daughter to a doctor. The man made an appointment with a doctor in another city, on the way to see the doctor, the man asked God why He had not moved and healed his daughter. God began to speak to the manís heart and revealed some things to him.
The man wanted God to heal his daughter because:
He didnít want to spend the money.
He didnít want the hassles of going to see a doctor.
He didnít want to drive to another city.
What can we learn from this? Where was love?
Do you suppose the attitude and condition of oneís heart has any thing to do with it?
Would it have done any good to continue to speak the scriptures and confess healing for his daughter?
Galatians 5:6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
Another man prayed and asked God to increase his finances. Upon releasing his prayer to God the man found the appropriate scriptures and made his daily confessions that God would meet all his needs according to His riches in glory in Christ. Once, while in a time of prayer at his church the Holy Spirit revealed the manís heart to a visiting Minister.
The manís desire for more finances was for the purpose to increase his cable vision channels, so that he could get a channel that carried x rated movies. Has God ceased to be God?
Notice the following scriptures:
James 4:1-4 From whence come wars and fightings
among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your
Did his daily confessions do any good?
ō My reason for speaking of these examples is to show that there is a lot more to this then just quoting a scriptural formula. Faith teachers never cover the subjects of the sins of un-forgiveness, lusts, love of this world, etc. There are many things that hinder our prayers and receiving from God.
Notice the following scriptures:
1 Peter 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
ō The way I treat my wife can hinder my prayers.
Mark 11:24-26 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall
Faith teachers always quote Mark11:24 Pray Ė Believe - Receive
They rarely mention the facts of Verses 25-26. The Lord Jesus made it very clear that un-forgiveness would hinder our prayers.
Psalms 37:4. Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
What if I donít delight myself in the Lord? Will my positive confession work?
Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
What if I could care less about the things of God?
ō One of the problems of the faith message as it is taught in many circles is that it doesnít require commitment to God only a positive confession. There are many who seek God only for what he can give them; the faith message is in their minds, a means to the end.
ō There are Christians who pick and choose the preachers that they want to listen to. They buy their tapes and read their books exclusively. In doing this they donít get a balanced message of Godís word, from those in the pulpit.
Some other considerations:
Act 5:1-5But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,
2 And kept back [part] of the price, his wife also being privy [to it], and brought a certain part, and laid [it] at the apostles' feet.
3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back [part] of the price of the land?
:4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.
5 And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things. (see verses 8-10)
Ananias and Sapphira die after lying to God.
1Corinthians 11:27Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink [this] cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of [that] bread, and drink of [that] cup.
29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.
30 For this cause many [are] weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.
31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.
33 Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another.
Paul says that the judgment of God on these Christians was physical death, sickness and weakness. God will judge sin no matter who it is.
Whatever happened to personal responsibility?
A very large over weight man closed his prayer of thanks giving over dinner with the following statement: ďLord please take all the calories out of this food so I donít gain any more weight and then proceeded to stuff himselfĒ.
Has common sense flown right out the window?
By now you may think that I am against faith teachers, not at all. There is truth in the message of faith BUT itís not so cut and dried as they teach.
In this teaching I hope to examine some of the reasons why Christians sometimes suffer, from various things in their lives.