In my book The Warrior’s Bride, I shared quite a bit about the health problems my husband endures. Chronic pain, back issues, migraines, leg cramps, and more are a regular part of our lives.
I used to wonder what I was supposed to do with that. Were the physical struggles a test? A character building process? Would God heal him, or lead us to the doctor with the right procedure to make things better?
And what does it say about our faith if nothing changes? What does it say about God if things get worse?
Health Problems in the Bible
Many of you know the story of Job, the Bible character I talked about two weeks ago. (You can read that post by clicking here.)
We’re told in Job 2: 7-8 that Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head. Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it.
Being so far removed from Job’s pain, we tend to gloss over these verses, but take a look at the response from his friends.
When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.
No matter the culture or the time period, that’s a noteworthy response.
Other Bible Heroes with Concerns
Job isn’t the only Bible character to face afflictions.
- Exodus 4:10 indicates Moses had a speech impediment of some kind.
- In 1 Timothy 5:23, Paul mentions Timothy’s stomach issues and frequent illnesses.
- Paul writes about his own thorn in the flesh in 2 Corinthians 12:7-9, which many believe was some sort of physical impairment.
Does God cause illness?
Clearly, we know that some illnesses we bring on ourselves. Bad eating habits, little-to-no exercise, and other poor health choices lead to many preventable diseases.
Demons cause other health concerns, as Matthew 9:32-33 tells us.
While they were going out, a man who was demon-possessed and could not talk was brought to Jesus. And when the demon was driven out, the man who had been mute spoke.
We know that God doesn’t send or cause every illness, disease, or tragedy. The writer of Job makes this quite clear in chapter 2:7. Although the Lord allowed Job’s pain, he did not cause it.
We also know that God purposes some health challenges for His glory. In John 9:1-12, Jesus and the disciples see a blind man. The disciples ask the question assumed by all in their culture: “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents?”
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
What do we do when we face health problems?
Hopefully, everyone thought about prayer. And while that’s absolutely true, I think God wants us to do more.
I think He wants us to go deeper.
What do I mean? Think about this: Do you believe that God doesn’t make mistakes?
Even when a ten-year-old dies in a tragic car accident? What if you found out the other driver was drunk? Or texting? Or fell asleep at the wheel because he’d spent the night at the hospital with his own child?
Or how about when a mother of young children is diagnosed with cancer? What if she’s six-months pregnant with child number three and must choose between her baby and her own life?
What about when a promising athlete sustains a freak injury that puts him in a wheelchair for the rest of his life?
Or a young couple hears that their baby is stillborn?
Does God make mistakes?
Walking the Talk
It’s easy to say God doesn’t make mistakes when we’re looking at a cute toddler safely tucked in his mother’s arms. When blessings pour out of heaven to cover a stressful situation.
But it’s tougher when the blessing doesn’t look like we think a blessing should look. When God steps back to allow Satan a little play room. When God has a bigger purpose in mind than an easy life on this earth.
So, yes, prayer is the right answer when you or a loved one are facing a health problem.
But while you pray for health, also pray for the eyes to see and a heart to feel God’s purposes.