Summary: This message is the second in a series of four on “Illness Through the Eyes of Faith.”
GOD’S GRACE FOR OUR ILLNESS
INTRO: In May 1983, the “Chicago Tribune” ran a story about a young father from North Manchester, Indiana. His name was David Gilmore. He told about the illness of his fifteen-month-old son, Dustin Graham Gilmore, that began in April 1978.
At first his child came down with flu-like symptoms. The Gilmores took him to their church, and the pastor prayed for him. Members of that church believed that faith alone heals any disease and that to look elsewhere for help (for example, a medical doctor) demonstrates a lack of faith in God.
Gilmore and his wife followed the church’s advice and simply prayed for their son. Over the next weeks they prayed faithfully as his temperature climbed, prayed when they noticed he no longer responded to sounds, and prayed harder when he went blind.
On the morning of May 15, 1978, Dustin Graham Gilmore died. An autopsy revealed the infant died from a form of meningitis that could have been easily treated and cured.
This story brings up the whole question of God’s involvement in illness. Where is God to be found in the experience of physical ailment? What about this issue of healing?
The Christian faith affirms that God is a God of grace. For the believer who has the eyes to see, God offers at least two different kinds of grace when we experience physical sickness. These include healing grace and sustaining grace.
Second in the series on “Illness Through the Eyes of Faith.”
I. HEALING GRACE.
God sometimes responds with healing grace. This was the experience of Epaphroditus as seen in Philippians 2 (quickview) . Epaphroditus was seriously ill but got well. God sometimes offers healing grace for our illness. He does so in at least three ways.
First, healing often comes from the natural defense mechanisms which God created and placed in the human body. God has created our bodies with a marvelous healing system. Many illnesses are naturally healed because of this built-in defense system.
Secondly, God mediates healing grace through human instruments. Doctors, medicine, medical treatments, surgery--all are God’s instruments for healing.
This is consistent with God’s involvement in His creation. God has delegated responsibility to human beings from the beginning. He asked Adam to name the animals, Noah to build an ark, Abraham and Sarah to begin a nation, the prophets to proclaim the word of the Lord, and the disciples to carry on the work of Christ’s church.
When God wants something done, he usually asks people to help. It should not surprise us, then, that when God wants healing to occur, he often uses human instruments.
ILLUS: You have probably heard the old story about the man in the flood. He was sitting on the top of his house as the flood waters rose. A boat came by to pick him up. He said: “Oh, no, I am a Christian. I”m trusting God to take care of me.”
The water continued to rise. Another boat came by to take him to safety. Again he refused, saying God would save him.
Finally the water was about to overtake him. A helicopter came overhead, dropped down a rope, and told him to take hold. “No,” he shouted, “I”m trusting God to save me.”