God Wants You Sick


God Wants You Sick
The title of this message will raise eyebrows, but the shock factor is necessary to counteract the
constant barrage of teaching we hear from faith-healers. “God wants you well” has been their mantra
for many years. A careful examination of the Scriptures will reveal that God does indeed send sickness,
and He does so for our spiritual profit.
I do not speak lightly of sickness. Good health is a blessing never to be taken for granted. Bodily
pain is a very great trial. Those who suffer have all my sympathy. My desire is to free them from the
needless guilt that the healers have cruelly put upon them. I want to give true comfort.
I. Sickness is the common experience of mankind.
When Adam sinned, the world came under God’s curse of death (Rom. 5:12). Sickness and disease
are perhaps the most common means by which death comes to Adam’s race. We can all expect, if we
live long enough, to experience at least some sickness. We likely will develop some disease that will
prove fatal.
In fact, none of us is ever in perfect health in this life. We are all dying physically. No diet or
medication can reverse the effects of the curse. We are all headed for the dust! Certainly we ought to be
good stewards of our body, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1Cor. 6:19). But at best, Man that is
born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble (Job 14:1).
II. God is sovereign over sickness.
The common assumption today is, “If it hurts me, it is not from God, because God only gives what
is good and enjoyable. If it hurts, it comes from the Devil, and is a judgment for some sin or betrays a
lack of faith.” But several problems arise with this assumption. First, who determines what is “good”?
Only God can rightly determine such a thing. Man is a poor judge. What feels good may be far from
good for us in the long run.
Second, the supposed unbreakable link between faith and healing, which makes a man totally in
charge of his own health, is simply not taught in the Word of God.
Third, if God is not in control of everything including sickness, then who is? Is it you…or the Devil?
That means that you–or the Devil–are really God! No, God is God! He sends sickness, as the following
verses from both the Old and New Testaments show.
(1) Genesis 32:25. As Jacob wrestled with God, God touched the hollow of his thigh, dislocating
the joint. Jacob walked with a limp. But none of this was a judgment against Jacob. Rather, Jacob was
commended for prevailing, and he received a blessing (v. 28-29).
(2) Leviticus 14:34 says that God would put the plague of leprosy in a house. There is no indication
in the context of any sin having brought leprosy as a judgment.
(3) 2Samuel 12:15. The LORD struck the child that Uriah’s wife bare unto David, and it was very
sick. Note first that God Himself did it. Second, He did it through no fault of the baby!
(4) Job 2:5-7. Satan challenges God to touch the flesh and bones of Job. God in turn gives
permission to Satan to so touch Job, but with the restriction that Job will not die. Here is God’s perfect
sovereign control in every detail of Job’s ordeal.
(5) Daniel 8:27. At the vision of future things he received, Daniel fainted and was sick. He was
overwhelmed at what he had seen. But no sin is attached to this incident.
(6) Matthew 25:36. I was sick, and ye visited me. Christ foretells that his followers would indeed
be sick. He also tells what is the duty for those who are well: they should visit the sick, offering help,
comfort and encouragement. Is it not instructive that He did not say, “I was never sick, because I had
lots of faith” or “I was sick, and ye healed me”? God’s overall purpose includes man’s sickness.
(7) John 9:1-3. Upon seeing a man born blind, the disciples question Jesus, Master, who did sin, this
man, or his parents, that he was born blind? What a typically wrong perspective! Jesus corrects their
superstition by answering, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God
should be made manifest in him. Obviously, it was God who made him sick from birth.
(8) John 11:3. Martha and Mary sent word to Jesus, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.
This statement appears as a contradiction in today’s theology of sickness. It should read, “He who has
sinned, or lacks faith, is sick.” But Jesus said that this sickness was for the glory of God, that the Son of
God might be glorified thereby (v. 4). God is glorified in sickness, whether He heals it, or whether He
makes it to continue.
(9) 1Timothy 5:23, Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often
infirmities. Paul did not scold Timothy for some lapse of faith or some hidden sin (as did Job’s friends).
Nor does he tell him to claim his healing, or to find a healer. He sympathetically tells him to take his
“medicine”.
(10) 2Timothy 4:20, Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick. Here was a case that even Paul himself
did not heal. Evidently, God had a higher purpose in the sickness of Trophimus and kept Paul from
healing him.
(11) James 5:14-16. James’ prescription for sickness is two-fold. The Greek indicates the order.
First, anoint him with oil, which is probably a use of whatever medicine or means are available.
Second, pray over the sick person. As with all praying, God is never obligated to give what we ask, but
if it is according to His will, He will hear and grant the petition (1Jn. 5:14-15). We are to pray in faith,
trusting God to do what is best. If it is God’s will, He will answer the prayers and raise up the sick. If he
have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Note the “if”. We must never assume that sickness is a
judgment on sin. Sometimes it is, but not always.
These texts (and others) prove conclusively that God is in absolute control of all sickness. Let us
now turn our attention to His purposes in sickness.
III. Sickness is one of God’s primary teaching methods.
Sometimes, God sends sickness as a judgment on sin. Because of their disorder at the Lord’s
table, some at Corinth were smitten by God with sickness and even death (1Cor. 11:30). The sickness
was remedial, to correct the offenders. The death was preventive, to keep them from sinning more.
Furthermore, all who observe such a phenomenon should hear and fear!
Some cases of church discipline involve being delivered unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh,
that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus (1Cor. 5:5). The church that takes this action
has a good purpose in view: the ultimate salvation of the soul. God may teach saving lessons through
the curriculum of suffering in the flesh.
The case of Paul’s thorn in the flesh is especially important for believers walking in the fear of the
Lord (2Cor. 12:7-10). Satan was the instrument through which this physical sickness came. However,
the fact that Paul prayed to God for the removal of the thorn demonstrates that Paul knew full well who
was in control. Satan meant the thorn for evil, but God meant it for good. If there was ever a “prayer
of faith” by a man with a clear conscience toward God, it was this prayer of Paul’s, which he prayed
repeatedly. But God had a better plan! Rather than remove the thorn and give Paul relief in his body,
God left the thorn but gave Paul more grace to bear it. This combination kept Paul humble, and at the
same time proved God’s strength in the face of Paul’s weakness. Listen to sick and suffering Paul,
empowered by Almighty God–I take pleasure in infirmities…for when I am weak, then am I strong.
While Paul was on this earth, the body and soul were moving in opposite directions. The outward man
was perishing, but the inward man was renewed day by day (2Cor. 4:16).What great lessons he learned
through sickness! Every true Christian would gladly endure the pain in order to gain the grace.
By means of sickness, God gets our attention. We recognize our frailty and our dependence on
God. We learn humility. We taste a little of what Christ endured on Calvary. We prepare for death. We
anticipate heaven and a glorified body at the resurrection. If you are sick, God has some purpose in it.
He has some lesson(s) for you or others to learn. Perhaps it is simply to draw you nearer to Him. C.H.
Spurgeon said, “A life-long sickness may by divine grace prove to be a life-long blessing. Better suffer
from childhood to old age than be let alone to find pleasure in sin.” Whatever the case, do not let your
sickness be wasted. If God gets your attention through sickness, He has done you a favor!
We should not fail to mention that sickness also draws earthly friends close. It provides those
who are well with opportunities to show mercy. It provides those who are sick with opportunities to
sympathize with their fellow-sufferers.
Above all, God is glorified in some way in your sickness, otherwise He would not have you sick.
IV. Objections.
(1) “But didn’t Christ take all our sickness for us, according to Isaiah 53:4-5, Surely he hath borne
our griefs and carried our sorrows…and with his stripes we are healed?”
Answer: This text is twice quoted in the New Testament, Matthew 8:17 and 1Peter 2:24. In the
first case, the prophecy of Isaiah is said to be fulfilled in the earthly ministry of Christ as He wrought
miracles of healing. In the second case, the context demands a spiritual application of the healing; it
therefore applies spiritually to every believer in Christ, regardless of his physical health.
I affirm that the redemption accomplished by Christ involves the total man, soul and body.
Nevertheless, not all of redemption is applied in this life. The healing of the soul takes place here, in
great measure. But the healing of the body takes place at the resurrection, at the second coming of
Christ, when this mortal puts on immortality (1Cor. 15), when this vile body is changed and made like
Christ’s glorious body (Php. 3:21). We yet await the redemption of our body (Rom. 8:23).
(2) “Isn’t 3John 2 proof positive that God wants you well? Beloved, I wish above all things that thou
mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.”
Answer: First, this was a common greeting, a pleasantry. It should not be forced into a different use
as a foundation for the prosperity gospel. Second, the priority of spiritual health over physical is plainly
evident in v. 3-4. That Gaius was walking in truth brought the greatest joy to John. The remainder of
the letter shows no preoccupation with physical health. Third, there is no causal link expressed here
between soul prosperity and bodily prosperity. Fourth, John’s desire for the health of Gaius was in
order that he might continue to show love to the church (v. 5-6). It is not unlikely that John had heard
of some sickness on the part of Gaius, which would tend to hinder him from works like the entertaining
of guests.
Conclusion
Christian friend, if after clearing your conscience, praying and using the means God has provided
for the improvement of health, you remain sick, then take your sickness as a gift from God for your
good and His glory. It must be that He wants you sick. Be at peace with His providence. Heaven will
only be the sweeter for those who suffer more. Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh
for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory (2Cor. 4:17). Be comforted with the assurance
that “A few more rolling suns at most, will land me safe on Canaan’s coast

God Wants You SickThe title of this message will raise eyebrows, but the shock factor is necessary to counteract theconstant barrage of teaching we hear from faith-healers. “God wants you well” has been their mantrafor many years. A careful examination of the Scriptures will reveal that God does indeed send sickness,and He does so for our spiritual profit.I do not speak lightly of sickness. Good health is a blessing never to be taken for granted. Bodilypain is a very great trial. Those who suffer have all my sympathy. My desire is to free them from theneedless guilt that the healers have cruelly put upon them. I want to give true comfort.I. Sickness is the common experience of mankind.When Adam sinned, the world came under God’s curse of death (Rom. 5:12). Sickness and diseaseare perhaps the most common means by which death comes to Adam’s race. We can all expect, if welive long enough, to experience at least some sickness. We likely will develop some disease that willprove fatal.In fact, none of us is ever in perfect health in this life. We are all dying physically. No diet ormedication can reverse the effects of the curse. We are all headed for the dust! Certainly we ought to begood stewards of our body, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1Cor. 6:19). But at best, Man that isborn of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble (Job 14:1).II. God is sovereign over sickness.The common assumption today is, “If it hurts me, it is not from God, because God only gives whatis good and enjoyable. If it hurts, it comes from the Devil, and is a judgment for some sin or betrays alack of faith.” But several problems arise with this assumption. First, who determines what is “good”?Only God can rightly determine such a thing. Man is a poor judge. What feels good may be far fromgood for us in the long run.Second, the supposed unbreakable link between faith and healing, which makes a man totally incharge of his own health, is simply not taught in the Word of God.Third, if God is not in control of everything including sickness, then who is? Is it you…or the Devil?That means that you–or the Devil–are really God! No, God is God! He sends sickness, as the followingverses from both the Old and New Testaments show.(1) Genesis 32:25. As Jacob wrestled with God, God touched the hollow of his thigh, dislocatingthe joint. Jacob walked with a limp. But none of this was a judgment against Jacob. Rather, Jacob wascommended for prevailing, and he received a blessing (v. 28-29).(2) Leviticus 14:34 says that God would put the plague of leprosy in a house. There is no indicationin the context of any sin having brought leprosy as a judgment.(3) 2Samuel 12:15. The LORD struck the child that Uriah’s wife bare unto David, and it was verysick. Note first that God Himself did it. Second, He did it through no fault of the baby!(4) Job 2:5-7. Satan challenges God to touch the flesh and bones of Job. God in turn givespermission to Satan to so touch Job, but with the restriction that Job will not die. Here is God’s perfectsovereign control in every detail of Job’s ordeal.(5) Daniel 8:27. At the vision of future things he received, Daniel fainted and was sick. He wasoverwhelmed at what he had seen. But no sin is attached to this incident.(6) Matthew 25:36. I was sick, and ye visited me. Christ foretells that his followers would indeedbe sick. He also tells what is the duty for those who are well: they should visit the sick, offering help,comfort and encouragement. Is it not instructive that He did not say, “I was never sick, because I hadlots of faith” or “I was sick, and ye healed me”? God’s overall purpose includes man’s sickness.(7) John 9:1-3. Upon seeing a man born blind, the disciples question Jesus, Master, who did sin, thisman, or his parents, that he was born blind? What a typically wrong perspective! Jesus corrects theirsuperstition by answering, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of Godshould be made manifest in him. Obviously, it was God who made him sick from birth.(8) John 11:3. Martha and Mary sent word to Jesus, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.This statement appears as a contradiction in today’s theology of sickness. It should read, “He who hassinned, or lacks faith, is sick.” But Jesus said that this sickness was for the glory of God, that the Son ofGod might be glorified thereby (v. 4). God is glorified in sickness, whether He heals it, or whether Hemakes it to continue.(9) 1Timothy 5:23, Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine ofteninfirmities. Paul did not scold Timothy for some lapse of faith or some hidden sin (as did Job’s friends).Nor does he tell him to claim his healing, or to find a healer. He sympathetically tells him to take his“medicine”.(10) 2Timothy 4:20, Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick. Here was a case that even Paul himselfdid not heal. Evidently, God had a higher purpose in the sickness of Trophimus and kept Paul fromhealing him.(11) James 5:14-16. James’ prescription for sickness is two-fold. The Greek indicates the order.First, anoint him with oil, which is probably a use of whatever medicine or means are available.Second, pray over the sick person. As with all praying, God is never obligated to give what we ask, butif it is according to His will, He will hear and grant the petition (1Jn. 5:14-15). We are to pray in faith,trusting God to do what is best. If it is God’s will, He will answer the prayers and raise up the sick. If hehave committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Note the “if”. We must never assume that sickness is ajudgment on sin. Sometimes it is, but not always.These texts (and others) prove conclusively that God is in absolute control of all sickness. Let usnow turn our attention to His purposes in sickness.III. Sickness is one of God’s primary teaching methods.Sometimes, God sends sickness as a judgment on sin. Because of their disorder at the Lord’stable, some at Corinth were smitten by God with sickness and even death (1Cor. 11:30). The sicknesswas remedial, to correct the offenders. The death was preventive, to keep them from sinning more.Furthermore, all who observe such a phenomenon should hear and fear!Some cases of church discipline involve being delivered unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh,that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus (1Cor. 5:5). The church that takes this actionhas a good purpose in view: the ultimate salvation of the soul. God may teach saving lessons throughthe curriculum of suffering in the flesh.The case of Paul’s thorn in the flesh is especially important for believers walking in the fear of theLord (2Cor. 12:7-10). Satan was the instrument through which this physical sickness came. However,the fact that Paul prayed to God for the removal of the thorn demonstrates that Paul knew full well whowas in control. Satan meant the thorn for evil, but God meant it for good. If there was ever a “prayerof faith” by a man with a clear conscience toward God, it was this prayer of Paul’s, which he prayedrepeatedly. But God had a better plan! Rather than remove the thorn and give Paul relief in his body,God left the thorn but gave Paul more grace to bear it. This combination kept Paul humble, and at thesame time proved God’s strength in the face of Paul’s weakness. Listen to sick and suffering Paul,empowered by Almighty God–I take pleasure in infirmities…for when I am weak, then am I strong.While Paul was on this earth, the body and soul were moving in opposite directions. The outward manwas perishing, but the inward man was renewed day by day (2Cor. 4:16).What great lessons he learnedthrough sickness! Every true Christian would gladly endure the pain in order to gain the grace.By means of sickness, God gets our attention. We recognize our frailty and our dependence onGod. We learn humility. We taste a little of what Christ endured on Calvary. We prepare for death. Weanticipate heaven and a glorified body at the resurrection. If you are sick, God has some purpose in it.He has some lesson(s) for you or others to learn. Perhaps it is simply to draw you nearer to Him. C.H.Spurgeon said, “A life-long sickness may by divine grace prove to be a life-long blessing. Better sufferfrom childhood to old age than be let alone to find pleasure in sin.” Whatever the case, do not let yoursickness be wasted. If God gets your attention through sickness, He has done you a favor!We should not fail to mention that sickness also draws earthly friends close. It provides thosewho are well with opportunities to show mercy. It provides those who are sick with opportunities tosympathize with their fellow-sufferers.Above all, God is glorified in some way in your sickness, otherwise He would not have you sick.IV. Objections.(1) “But didn’t Christ take all our sickness for us, according to Isaiah 53:4-5, Surely he hath borneour griefs and carried our sorrows…and with his stripes we are healed?”Answer: This text is twice quoted in the New Testament, Matthew 8:17 and 1Peter 2:24. In thefirst case, the prophecy of Isaiah is said to be fulfilled in the earthly ministry of Christ as He wroughtmiracles of healing. In the second case, the context demands a spiritual application of the healing; ittherefore applies spiritually to every believer in Christ, regardless of his physical health.I affirm that the redemption accomplished by Christ involves the total man, soul and body.Nevertheless, not all of redemption is applied in this life. The healing of the soul takes place here, ingreat measure. But the healing of the body takes place at the resurrection, at the second coming ofChrist, when this mortal puts on immortality (1Cor. 15), when this vile body is changed and made likeChrist’s glorious body (Php. 3:21). We yet await the redemption of our body (Rom. 8:23).(2) “Isn’t 3John 2 proof positive that God wants you well? Beloved, I wish above all things that thoumayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.”Answer: First, this was a common greeting, a pleasantry. It should not be forced into a different useas a foundation for the prosperity gospel. Second, the priority of spiritual health over physical is plainlyevident in v. 3-4. That Gaius was walking in truth brought the greatest joy to John. The remainder ofthe letter shows no preoccupation with physical health. Third, there is no causal link expressed herebetween soul prosperity and bodily prosperity. Fourth, John’s desire for the health of Gaius was inorder that he might continue to show love to the church (v. 5-6). It is not unlikely that John had heardof some sickness on the part of Gaius, which would tend to hinder him from works like the entertainingof guests.ConclusionChristian friend, if after clearing your conscience, praying and using the means God has providedfor the improvement of health, you remain sick, then take your sickness as a gift from God for yourgood and His glory. It must be that He wants you sick. Be at peace with His providence. Heaven willonly be the sweeter for those who suffer more. Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, workethfor us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory (2Cor. 4:17). Be comforted with the assurancethat “A few more rolling suns at most, will land me safe on Canaan’s coast

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