Summary: We don’t always know why some are healed and others are not, ultimately no matter what happens we are called to be a people of hope.
First Baptist Church
November 11, 2001
Have you ever been to a Faith Healing Service? I’m not just talking about going to a worship service and there is prayer for healing. I’m talking about going to see people like Benny Hinn . . . and others who have services that are designed to heal those who can’t walk, give sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf. Those with back pains are to find healing and so on. Of course, if you don’t find healing, then it’s probably your fault, because your faith wasn’t strong enough. It may sound like I’m condemning faith healing? But isn’t that societies view; and if you’ve never witnessed it, you’re probably as skeptical as the next person about healing.
I know people in this church who have been healed by one person’s prayer. I knew a 25 year old woman who had a brain tumor the size of a baseball. It impacted her life to the point she couldn’t drive, work and her husband became her care taker. 100’s if not 1,000’s of people were praying for her, nothing was happening. 2 days before her surgery, she had her final cat scan so the surgeon would know exactly the spot to operate. Doctors saw that her tumor shrunk to the size of a large grape. They were astounded because the only medication she was given was to help prevent seizures. She never needed surgery and eventually she was told the tumor was gone.
My best friend, you know him, Tim . . . has prayed for his son James for almost all of James’ 18 years to be healed from epilepsy. I remember many days in seminary when Tim and Claudette were exhausted from prayer and the impact the seizures were having on James young body. Today, James is an 18 year old young man who has to live with epilepsy.
Do Tim and Claudette have less faith, less power, less salvation than others who find healing? One of the great struggles we find in the church is why some find healing and others with just as much faith, if not more, seem to find no healing — and at times more hardship.
Friends we’ve spent the past 12 weeks buried in James, I hope, I pray that we’ve grown together and learned what it means to be a Christian. We began with James telling us to ask God for wisdom, now we come to the concluding section and James tells us to pray. Like Paul, James tells us to pray in all circumstances. He tells us to pray when we’re in trouble or suffering, pray when we’re happy and rejoicing and pray when we’re sick. That seems to cover our lives. Either we’re suffering, rejoicing or sick.
I want to briefly mention the first two situations, pray when in trouble and pray when happy. Then we’ll spend most of our time on the final category, in our times of sickness.
It almost seems too obvious, pray when in trouble. I can’t think of many of us who wouldn’t pray when we’re in trouble. Of course, many of our prayers at those moments are the old "Lord get me out of this mess, and I’ll do this or that for you. . ." That’s not the type of prayer James has in mind. Throughout this letter, James has been instructing us to call on God for our needs.
Prayer opens up the door to our heart and soul. It’s a reminder that we must be dependent upon God and that we really don’t have the control we so much desire. When we read Psalms, we find prayer after prayer of ordinary people who were struggling with various forms of suffering.
The hope in prayer is that our inner self will be changed. We will be transformed because we come to God with earnest, sincere prayer. We may be the one who created our problems, or they may be the result of evil in the world -- nonetheless, the call of James is to call on God to bring healing. Usually our the greatest healing we can experience is healing from our inner struggles, rather than the problem.
The second reason to pray is because we’re happy. It’s a reminder that our joy and our blessings are truly a gift from God and giving thanks and singing songs of praise is the greatest way to show our joy. When we praise God for our blessings we are also brought back to earth, knowing that every gift is from God. We may have been involved in the activity, however, God is the author. It’s a constant reminder that in all situations, whether we are experiencing sorrow and troubles or exulting in the joys and blessings of life, we must call on God in prayer.