Beloved Brothers and Sisters,
Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to give my conclusion here on what ended up being a really edifying gathering of the saints on another thread.
I have been away for a couple of days and may be away for a few weeks, but after reviewing the thread since my last post I am so blessed to see such a sweet spirit of holy unity among all. If this thread does nothing but encourage that, never fully answering the question about God's will for healing today, it was worth it all. Isn't it much more satisfying and God-glorifying when we walk together in love? I praise the Lord with you.
The invitation is still wide open for you guys to come to Mississippi for a few days. We could wear out the Cracker Barrel waiters every morning, spend time in fervent prayer, share the gospel with some, go to the V.A. hospital and pray for those guys and gals on the fourth floor for healing, and leave strengthened in the faith of our wonderful Savior and Lord. That sounds like heaven on earth to me!
Well, I pasted below (with a short tack on the beginning and end) what I posted a few days ago in response to the blessed brother Carlos who asked the original question. I know that my post was not exhaustive on the subject, but for me it is so easy to see when we view the big-picture of God's plan and how He works with people in the world.
I know that some believers don't put much stock in experiential knowledge. But I do. Hey, the proof is in the pudding, guys and gals. I realize there are all kinds of experiential things that are not of God at all, and if we will walk with the Lord, we will learn the difference and set aside the counterfeit. But again, God is a personal God and He desires to experience life with us. That's clearly laid out on the whole road to redemption, and continuing sanctification until ultimate Christ-likeness. Praise God for it!
Anyway along those lines, I have seen many kinds of healing miracles through prayer. The Lord has put me in the position to minister healing to lots of people at one time, as well as to individuals. Not only have we seen many believers healed with our own eyes, but also demons come screaming out of several at one time - all getting set free instantly. I've called out devils in Jesus' name from demon possessed people in the Amazon of Brazil all the way down to Baptist churches at the end of the earth in Tierra del Fuego. God wants to heal and to deliver, to repair and to rebuild lives. That is what He is all about.
At the same time, like all of you, I remain broken-hearted that so many go sick and afflicted, still. Any true disciple of Jesus Christ is broken-hearted over that; but we must understand that God is God and we are not. His ways with man are deep and profound, and to put Him in a one-size-fits-all mold just doesn't work. We can try to do it, but in so doing we just put ourselves in a box - not Him. He just won't get into our box no matter how determined we are to put Him there. Again, He is God alone.
Regarding Paul and whether he was sick or not... Paul was not God. The Lord used a rebellious persecutor of the church and an enemy of the gospel of God to reveal a mystery hidden for the ages. God knocked him down, changed his heart, and gave him spiritual understanding to get us started on the right course. God used him as a vessel to lay the firm foundation. But, Paul was a man when God knocked him down and he remained a man until he died. We can exalt men beyond measure all we want, but men are still men. (Rom. 12:3) We are all HIS workmanship. (Eph. 2:8-10) Paul was not beyond getting sick, neither were his companions; and Paul did not ever claim to possess perfect faith in all things. He was speaking first person plural when he wrote, "For now, we see through a glass, darkly." (I Cor. 13:3) Paul was not beyond getting beat with a whip, or stoned to death. The enemy did those things to Paul, but God used them to shape His life into a vessel for extending God's great glory. It was Paul who said that "His strength is made perfect in weakness." (II Cor. 12:9) When God permits afflictions like sickness to enter our bodies, there is a reason. Sickness is certainly not a result of God's ultimate desire, but rather a result of man's fall; yet God works all things for our good and for His glory. (Rom. 8:28-29) Why can't we accept that and walk with Him wherever He takes us? There is nothing cowardly about that is there?
Well, for a look at the big picture of who God is and what the Bible record reveals about His work among men, I have reposted my old post below with a brief epilog.
The short answer is, "Yes." God does want everyone to be healed... ultimately. Since I am going to be brief, please allow me to number my thoughts. I think it will be easier to get it as I would like to say it.
THE BIG PICTURE - Let's don't miss the forest while micro-examining the trees, brothers. Here is the forest in a nutshell.
1. God created all things saying, "And He saw that it was good." He did not create anything that was not whole, or healthy. Gen. 1
2. It was when sin entered the world through mankind that death came. Sickness and disease are some of the consequences of sin. Gen 3
3. Jesus Christ came to destroy the works of the devil (sin), and in doing so He made alive, restored and healed, etc. I Jn 3:8; Luke 4:18-22, Acts 10:38
4. The most pronounced prophetic promises that pointed toward His first advent proclaimed Him as "Healer." The healing that He brought included for our physical bodies. This was the mark of who He was. Isaiah 9, 11, 35
5. He taught His disciples to pray saying, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." He wants the perfection (wholeness and fulness) of His Father's kingdom to reign on earth. Jesus introduced it personally as it should be. We know that in heaven where His kingdom is whole, there is no sickness, no sorrow, no crying, no pain, etc. Matt. 6, Rev. 21
6. We have been enabled by His authority and spiritual gifting to do what He did, and "even greater things." Jn 14:12, James 5:14
7. We have been commissioned to exercise that enabling. That includes to heal the sick in His name. Matt. 10, Luke 9, Mark 16, Acts, I Cor 12 - 14
8. That enabling and commissioning power was confirmed through the apostles and others according to the New Testament record. That record also reveals that the gifts and callings for edification of the body of Christ would continue until we have reached the full measure of Christ's stature. Eph. 3:20-21, 4:7-16 (13)
9. He confirms that He wants healing as well as other signs of His kingdom reign all over the world today. He has done it for centuries, and as feeble as I feel spiritually sometimes, even I have seem countless physical healings among the members of the body of Christ in third-world countries in particular. And I do not have the gift of healing.
Your question again: Does God want everyone to be healed? The Biblical answer is, "Yes," ultimately.
Now, in the meantime we are in process. There are several things going on that prevent the full healing that God desires ultimately - and not only for physical healing but for all things, even for "the nations." Rev. 20
Here are a few key factors in the battle against healing, and in the quest for healing.
1. We eat things that cause sickness and disease, so we bring it on ourselves sometimes. God may not heal us until we correct our eating habits. (common sense, Gal. 6:7)
2. We pick up things from the spread of germs and whatever. We should be cautious and use common sense and sensitivity to the Spirit as to how we handle some things. Mark 16
The reasons for some sicknesses and what to do about them are sometimes practical to overcome in a tangible way.
Then there is the spiritual aspect.
1. We are in a spiritual warfare, and part of the enemies ammunition is sickness and disease. Much of it comes through our biological inheritance. We should prayerfully and forcefully direct our spiritual authority to break those strongholds. Matt. 11:12, Luke 16:16, Eph. 6:10-18, II Cor. 10:5
2. God's priority right now is that we mature into Christ's image. He will use various kinds of adversity as His instruments to help bring that about. Rom. 8:28-29, Heb 12
3. There may not be anyone present with the gift of healing for the one who is sick, or the congregation may not allow that one to exercise his gift. I Cor. 12
4. There may not be enough faith toward God for healing, either by those who pray for by those being prayed for... and on and on. Matt 11:23, Heb 11:6, Mark 6:4-6
5. Sometimes unconfessed sins prevent healing. Jam. 5:14
The bottom line is that we do know that God wants to heal everyone ultimately, and that He has enabled and appropriated it through His people even today; but that the ultimate end will not come until... the end.
Sometimes we have weak faith.
Sometimes we have unconfessed sins.
Sometimes we are being groomed into His image through trial.
Sometimes outstanding faith is revealed through our loyalty in the midst of pain.
Sometimes the gifted ones for healing are just simply not present, or permitted to use their gift when needed.
Sometimes, a sickness is "unto death." (I Jn 5:16)
If we leave our prejudices and extra-Biblical educations we can accept the reality that God clearly reveals His ultimate goal for humanity is life and health; but that in a fallen world where His emphasis is restoration for the whole man, adversities serve for our good and His glory. Pain is not the ultimate enemy, but rather the flesh, the world, and the devil. Pain and discomfort are necessary sometimes in order to reveal who we really are, and to shape us into who He would have us to become.
It is really not difficult to understand this unless we cannot remove our emotions or learned prejudices from the equation.
We should seek to discern exactly what the Lord is saying about what He wants to do with each individual's life at the moment they ask for healing. It is discernment of the Holy Spirit that we need most. But oh, how we lack faith also. If we are uncertain how to pray, I would encourage that we pray for healing ultimately and expect the Lord to bring it about, or to otherwise reveal what He is doing in the midst of the sickness so that the one who is ailing can be comforted and encouraged in knowing God's will for that moment. Without a doubt, to the one who truly desires the will of God above all else, it IS a great comfort to know the perfect will of God for the moment.
God does want to heal everyone, ultimately; but He works ALL things together for our good. We must walk in faith and discernment to know His perfect will and to see His will brought about, whatever it is.
Out fishing for men, and building up the body of Christ wherever they may be,