This topic was recommended by fellow blogger Lily when I had asked if anyone would like me to dig into particular topics. Within the past week, it became all too apparent this topic was one I needed to write about sooner than later.
Both she and fellow blogger Leigh have shared that people have told them they struggle because they do not have enough faith. That’s why the prayer of being healed is not answered. I know they are not alone, and I pray this post speaks to you.
We live in a society that pushes “pray it and claim it.” Scripture supports faithful prayer. The problem is that humans are not seeing with the eyes of God but with the eyes of the flesh.
People tend to wonder why God does not answer prayer and, it’s not that He does not answer prayer, it’s just, He does not answer on our terms, but His.
(BSB) Proverbs 30:12, “There is a generation of those who are pure in their own eyes and yet unwashed of their filth.”
I do not think it is a coincidence that the night I write this post I was able to visit my home church. The topic was about Luke 18:09-14. The Pharisee who was righteous in his own eyes.
We tend to have scales in our own eyes. We think we can find solutions for people and their problems. Immediate answers. Justification. Reason. When we hear of any form of suffering, naturally, as Christians we tend to turn to prayer.
When we do not have those immediate answers we tend to try to fill in the blanks. It must be this! It must be that! Often times, the person who is struggling is pinpointed for the cause. “You need to do this! You should STOP doing that!”
And then with these situations, all too often, people assume lack of faith is the reason for the individual.
First off, the lack of faith referenced…was not directed at the individual who was suffering.
I’m going to say that again.
THE LACK OF FAITH REFERENCED WAS NOT DIRECTED AT THE INDIVIDUAL WHO WAS SUFFERING!
But listen to the actual story, which we see in Matthew 16:14-21. A boy who is said to have epilepsy is brought to the disciples by his father. However, the disciples cannot heal the boy. The father does not give up and goes right to the Source, Jesus Christ. He explains what the disciples could not do. Christ answers, “O faithless and perverse generation how long shall I be with you?” He instructs the father to bring the boy to Him.
What does Christ do? He does not see what the world sees, which is epilepsy. He sees demonic activity, and rebukes the demon within the boy!
The disciples come up and ask Him why they couldn’t cast it out? Jesus answers, “Because of your unbelief,” and also explains, “this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”
Our modern society would tell the boy, “You are not cured because of your unbelief.” What Christ said, however, is that those who prayed over the boy did not have faith. They had unbelief and furthermore, they were not prepared in prayer for that kind of answer because they did not fast as well.
The issue was not with the suffering individual, but with the group praying.
Where are our eyes and hearts for others? Are we judging unanswered prayer with our eyes instead of purely seeking God and His plans with our heart?
We are reminded that the rain falls on the just and unjust. We are not going to always get the answers we want from God. We need to be humble and aware that His plan for His glory and others is so much bigger than what we can imagine. We need to stop being short-sighted.
But How About When A Person DOES Have Faith
Do not be closed off to forget that Paul was a man of immense faith.
We are told that in the love chapter (1 Corinthians 13) Paul is a man of amazing faith, yet, his prayer for the thorn at his side to be removed was unanswered. Now our perverse and faithless generation may accuse him of not having enough faith, but God Himself told Paul why this prayer would be unanswered. And it had NOTHING to do with Paul’s “lack of faith.”
(NIV) 2 Corinthians 12:09, “But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”
Yet, we dare to make judgments of unanswered prayers in the lives of others?
Paul suffered. Timothy also is listed as having illnesses he dealt with. We go around in the New Testament and see how Christ used people’s weaknesses for the glory of God. Did we forget that those who have gone through experiences are better equipped to minister to those who have gone through or are experiencing the same thing?
I can’t be helpful in guiding others regarding being a bipolar Christian, as an example, but there are others who CAN! There are people who have experienced miracles and that gave glory to God. There are people who will never be healed in this life and God is still receiving glory. There are ministries and callings who understand the suffering others go through because they share it. If they did not have this in common, the witnessing would not be there.
We may not know why certain things are allowed in our life, but God does, and He knows who that will reach and who it will speak to.
- Can faith be a factor in unanswered prayer?
Absolutely! A person may be dealing with anger/bitterness or struggling with spiritual warfare, even. Certain things can hinder our minds and bodies. We may be exposing ourselves or partaking in sinful things that affect our bodies and/or mind. There may be things we need to give up to the Lord first!
Some prayers need commitment and dedication like fasting. (Are You Fasting…At All?) God will reveal the truth of what we are struggling with. Like the boy, it was not that he was dealing with epilepsy, but a demon! Christ knew the truth because His eyes were where they needed to be… on God! And there is power in numbers! But we must be a union, not divided and accusative.
- Sometimes we suffer because God uses it for His glory
Like Paul, we may have to learn to cling to the Lord through weakness. He will be glorified this way. However, sometimes, He allows this so we can reach others in ways we could never reach before.
- Sometimes miracles do happen
But that doesn’t mean they always will. It also is not a guarantee that people will be healed completely. The Lord may allow some healing, but not all healing. I’ve been healed of eczema (Read: Christ Healed Me From Eczema | Testimony ) but I still occasionally have issues with it, it’s just never as bad as it once was.
Remember…Paul, though greatly blessed, is relatable, not because of his gifts or his great faith, but through his suffering, which at the same time, shined the light on Christ.
(NIV) 2 Corinthians 12:10, “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
What has been your experience with this topic?
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