I was on Facebook earlier and I came across this from a post. It made me realize a concept I’ve missed due to it rattling around in my head. Contemporary Christianity, not all but some due to a prevailing teaching, sidestep quite often by saying Christians are not meant to be sick, this is physical and mental. In Christianity we can look at being sick as a trial, tribulation, or maybe shutting up and realize and come to terms that being sick is a part of life in a world that is falling apart, and our bodies are a part of the body of Christ just as much as being in the state of falling apart. They have not yet been redeemed, they will not be until our bodies change to be like the Savior’s (Philippians 3:7-11, 20-21). We are susceptible to being sick, just like those who do not follow the Christian faith. We are not superhuman. Life changes are due to life changing perspectives, I get this. This being said, before I carry on, here is the paragraph from the book; my remarks are in parentheses.
“The sufferings of Jesus were realized in the persecution He endured and in the burden He carried for people. (The suffering was on the cross for the salvation of humanity, not a burden or disease. How was it a burden to teach and help others while he was on the earth? In God’s timing he was revealed who he was and his sacrifice on the cross.) He did not suffer with disease. That must be removed from our idea of Christian suffering. (He did not suffer from a disease, this was never in the idea of Christian suffering, and this was not his ultimate goal. This is a concept from the teaching, placed in the mindset of those who believe it.) It is vain to carry something under the guise of the will of God when it is something that He purchased that He might destroy its power over us. (The only power Christ destroyed eternally was Satan’s and sin’s power to control us. As believers we no longer have to obey the law of sin and death, but walk with the God who loves us. This is the will of God as expressed in the Bible.) An additional concept to remember is that He suffered that we might not have to suffer. For example, He bore stripes on His body applied by a Roman soldier so that they could become His payment for our healing. (Suffering is a part of life, consequences are fact. The New Testament states this numerous times. Naturally, if we try to separate ourselves from this aspect of Christ’s life, we lose not only the ability to minister to others who are suffering, we lose the ability to emphasize emphatically and see the world from God’s view which also includes his heart for the lost and hurting. It is a sad day when Christians forget that they too were rejected, lost, alone and hurting. Once we forget this, we lose sight of the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. [Luke 4:16-21])” Bill Johnson. ‘Face to Face with God’
Now in context we really have no idea if Jesus ever had a cold, probably because any mention of it is a mute and pointless fact when compared to him as the Savior of the world through his death. Case in point: he is God’s Son and the Deity in bodily form (Colossians 1:15-23, 2:8-12). Although he was at risk to temptation, and hungered and had thirst like everyone else, he did not sin. I’m still not sure I can buy into the theology behind the author of “Face to Face with God” or anyone who speaks this roundabout theology. I’ve heard it often, mainly from those who do not have or had any type of illness, if they have I haven’t heard them mention it, thus stilling their miracle from God and ministry. We should remind ourselves what Christ saved us from, after all the Israelites were told to share their story to their children as a remembrance.
There’s a difference between suffering from the consequences of our sinful acts, which Jesus bore on the cross that brought us into his life, and suffering from being identified with Christ because the world hated him first. Those saying we are not meant to be physically or mentally ill might be denying that they’re in a fallen body and vulnerable to temptation, which goes against a huge part of New Testament scriptures. It also sidesteps a difficult concept to understand in contemporary Christian theology. The concept of being sick as a believer, either in physical or mental forms and why God allows suffering pervades many. There is no blanket statement or power quote that can give answers. These answers probably have to come from our experiences and changing our perspectives. This is the only way I can say this.
If you want to know how a person responds to being sick or have a type of disability if they are a Christian and go talk to them, get to know them and what they have learned, that is if they are open to sharing with you at that time. Christians are human beings after all. You might ask them what they have learned, has being sick strengthened their faith in God and appreciate who is with them during their time being sick. When my mother had breast cancer around 10 years ago she not only was able to come through it with a positive attitude but it also strengthened her faith in God for the remaining years of her life.
Such sweeping generalizations like the author made about what is or isn’t the will of God about suffering fly in the face of those who actually come out of being sick, or are still sick and have a transformation in their lives to help and encourage others. Being sick can be very bad, although having a cold isn’t exactly life threatening is it?
There is a verse in the Bible which is difficult to believe and must be experienced to understand for the person their self. It mentions all evil that Satan meant can be turned around for good by God’s hand alone. I’ve slowly had to realize this for my life. All I can do is share my experiences and not compare them with others, that’s all anyone can do. Speaking only goes so far, we need actions and experience to fully understand what goes on in our lives. No amount of “name-it claim-it” will enable you to get by life on a breeze. It’s only a fairy tale.