by Anne Lang Bundy
'Now see that I, even I, am He,
And there is no God besides Me;
I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal;
Nor is there any who can deliver from My hand.
~ Deuteronomy 32:39 (NKJV)
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[In praying for healing], should we really be demanding our way, thinking we know what is best? Or should we strive to learn whatever lessons are hidden in the sickness and trials we may be going through? [I’ve been] told that because healing was not granted, the prayers ... were not earnest, fervent, or persistent enough. ~ Hannah Meyer
The short answer? Ask in faith without presuming upon God's answer. But there's a mighty fine line between faith in God's perfect will and presumption of God's sovereign will.
It's been explained this way: Between God’s perfect will and God’s sovereign will is the place to exercise human free will.
If you ask ten theologians to explain the intersection between divine will and human free will, you'd likely get eleven answers. I won't pretend that I can best them or that I have all the answers. Today's question falls into the category of my adequate but imperfect understanding, and that's what I'll share.
Almighty God does not allow human will to trespass His sovereign will. But God’s perfect will requires our cooperation. If we walk closely with Him so that we understand His will in a situation, if we rely upon Him so that He empowers us, and if we are submitted to His Spirit so that He has His perfect will—then we will experience His best.
There are a lot of ‘ifs’ and a lot of yielding that must occur for us to obtain God’s perfect will in our lives. We are nonetheless assured that we will not fall short of His sovereign will and promises.
Prayer is an opportunity to cooperate with God’s perfect will and seek to obtain His best while still acknowledging His sovereign will.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
~ Romans 12:1-2 (NKJV)
Those who belong to Jesus Christ are assured of healing. But we are not assured of when it will occur, or if it will occur at all before we are resurrected.
Jesus spoke of "sickness unto death" because death and therefore sickness are a continued part of our existence for now. If sickness is a means of testing or character building, it may be healed when those are achieved—or it may be the Lord's intent that it continue throughout life (as was the case with the apostle Paul). When injury or sickness exists as a direct result of our actions—whether spiritual, emotional or physical—perhaps it will be healed when those conditions cease. If sickness exists for the purpose of glorifying God, it may be that miraculous healing is ours for the asking.
For more information on the reasons for sickness, see "Your Healer."
A similar question was previously answered in the post "Why Pray."
© 2010 Anne Lang Bundy
Image source: sacredpursuit.com