Winds of change and winds of the spirit
1/17/11 at 08:16 PM 0 Comments


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What is faith really? It has nothing to do with believing that God exists, no more than believing that air or water exists. These are facts of our existence. They are not what we live for. Faith is born when we see and realise that God loves us. That is why it is God's gift. St. John puts the matter succinctly: 'We love him because he first loved us.' {1John 4:19 KJV} When we realise that God loves us more than we love any other being, however dear they are to us, then we learn that nothing whatsoever can separate us from God's love. And no one loves us as much as God does.
Let us consider this. Suppose you give birth to a child. You are the child's mother or father. Would you give up your baby to someone else who wants and loves your baby? Of course not. The question is absurd. So look at this from God's point of view. God is our Creator. He is our father and we are his children. There is no one who loves us more than he does. That is why in ancient Israel the first fruits of all we have are given to the Lord, a thanksgiving for his great love. {Leviticus 1:23f} God is not just a fact of our existence. He is our Creator who gave up his only Son to suffer and die on a cross that all might be saved from sin and sorrow, from a blighted future and eternal emptiness.

God loves us and because of this he wills that all should be healed from mental and physical diseases. {Matthew 4:24 KJV} This does not just apply to holy people but to sinners. He withholds the blessing of health and sanity only for our own good and salvation. {Daniel 4:33, in respect of sanity} and {2 Corinthians 12:7 in respect of disease} These are exceptions to the rule. This is not quite understood by those who say that God heals only if it his will. They forget that even Jesus could not heal those who had no faith. {Matthew 13:58} Faith is trusting God's word and trusting God to be faithful to his Word.
But sometimes Christians are afraid to do this because they have doubts. 'What if it is not God's will?' they say. 'Would it not be presumption to expect God to heal when it is clear that he does not always do so?' These scruples of conscience question God's willingness when they ought to affirm it. There is only one reason why God does not answer a prayer for healing. Want of faith. {1 Peter 3:7 & James 5:14} If we preempt God's willingness to heal are we not questioning his willingness? If we say he may not heal me because it might not be his will, are we not questioning his Word? God will not heal us if we do not believe his Word. But given that God might have a reason for withholding healing from us, what does that prove? Faith is the substance of things not seen. The nature of faith is to trust God to answer our prayers. {Hebrews 11f} If God does not answer our prayer for healing does that prove he is unwilling to heal us? Of course not. The fault always lies with us, not God.
Take Paul's case. He prayed for healing but was surprised when God refused him. God told him why. Paul's problem was a grave danger of becoming too proud at all the revelations he had experienced. He says, 'To keep me from being too elated, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, but he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.. {2 Corinthians 12:7 KJV}
Let us compare another example of God's willingness to answer our prayers. God is willing that all might be saved,
{1 Timothy 2:4} but do we respond to God's willingness by praying, 'If it is your will Lord save me from sin.' If we believe his Word we know it is always his will to save us through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. The want here is the want of faith in God's Word, not God's willingness.
If God does not immediately answer our prayer for healing let us rather question our want of faith or something that hinders our prayers from being answered. And if we find we need more faith let us pray like the man who confessed his want of faith and asked Jesus to help his unbelief. {Mark 9:24 NRSV} Faith must be a perfect trust in God, not a half hearted hope.
It is God's will to heal all who have faith in his love. He heals because he loves us and does not want us to suffer. It is faith in the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Father's love that heals, not faith in faith. That is not the way to approach God for healing. Our faith must have its source which is God's love not in our faith. Is the Father's love different than that of his Son? No, and so if we take the love of Jesus as our guide and ask ourselves if he refused to heal anyone at all, the answer is clear. He healed all who had faith in him and could not heal those who lacked faith.

Moreover, God loves all his children. He has not withheld healing properties in nature. He has provided for all our needs. Western medicine has proceeded with agonizing slowness compared with Chinese and Korean medicine. For thousands of years the Chinese and Korean peoples have discovered herbs that can treat and cure many illnesses. What God has provided in nature needs to be discovered and applied. It is only in the last two hundred years that the west has discovered microbiology and immunization techniques. The last one hundred has seen major advances in medical science but there are still incurable and fatal diseases that cannot be treated by the resources of nature. Nature is God's gift to the world, his love for all mankind. Does not God make his sun shine on the evil and the good, and does he not send rain on the righteous and the unrighteous? {Matthew 5:44-45} Does not God know how slow we are to find cures for disease? But when we do find cures like antibiotics and surgical knowledge and techniques, are we not finding what God has provided for our health and happiness, whether we are sinners or not?
But God goes much further than natural healing. All nature is created by Spirit. Matter has no form or properties without God's Spirit. {Genesis 1 f} That is why, where natural medicine cannot heal disease, his Spirit can. Jesus healed all who came to him, believing. There was, for instance, a woman with a haemorrhage who had been treated by doctors for twelve years without success. She thought if only I can touch the hem of his garment I will be healed. That is faith. She was healed and Jesus was aware that she had touched his willingness to heal. {Matthew 9:20} The touch was the touch of faith, the garment he was wearing conveyed her touch just as a magnet pulls metal objects to itself, or as an object is pulled to the centre of gravity. The response of Jesus was immediate. 'Who touched me?' {Mark5:30} What a question to ask when many people were touching him. It was said that the crowd were pressing around him
But Jesus, immediately knowing himself that virtue had gone out of him asked, 'Who touched my clothes?' The word virtue means inherent power. {Mark 5:30 KJV} The TLB refers to this as healing power. {Mark 5:30 TLB}
There are numerous instances of people touching the hem of his garment and they were healed. {Matthew 13:36} Jesus himself touched lepers and they were healed. {Mark 1:41} He touched the eyes of the blind and they could see. {Matthew 9:29} He touched the paralysed and they could walk. {Mathew 17:7} He spat and touched the tongue of a dumb man and he could speak. {Mark 7:33} He ordered a dead man to rise from the dead and he rose. {Luke 7:14 NRSV} Why touch? There can be no doubt that we have to get in touch with Jesus to be healed. Since we can't touch him now that he is no longer on earth in the flesh how can we reach him so that he knows we need his healing? The answer is simple: by prayer and fasting. Jesus said, 'All things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.' {Matthew 21:22} This includes mental disorders and evil spirits. However Jesus added, 'This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.' {Matthew 9:29} 'Listen to me! You can pray for anything, and if you believe, you have it; it's yours!' {Mark 11:24 TLB}
These are the facts then. If, as Jesus said, 'I and my father are one,' what the Son does the Father does, also. God is not a loveless Being who favours some and neglects the rest. Such a lie is blatantly obvious to any thinking person. The problems of our existence began when our first parents believed a lie that everything is good and nothing need by kept from us. That lie is one that God wanted to protect us from.

The logic of science accepts only natural causes and explanations. That is why natural science does not accept miracles of healing. This is to be expected since the scope of natural science is the observable relationship between cause and effect. Nevertheless, for the scientist the observable relationship between cause and effect is not easy to prove, especially in medicine and psychiatry. The relationship between the mind and body, for instance, is complex and that between society and culture is equally hypothetical.
At one time theology was the queen of the science but the conflict of science and theology came to a head when natural science disproved that the sun went around the earth every 24 hours. But natural science has not had the intellectual playing field all to itself. The confidence and claims of science have suffered embarrassing setbacks such as Einstein's theory of relativity and quantum physics which has disproved the mechanical and predictable behaviour of matter. The truth is that the scientist derives his knowledge from the book of nature whilst the theologian derives his from the book of faith.
There is really no conflict between science and the bible. Both are God's gifts to save us from ignorance and sin and add blessings to our lives. The bible says that God makes the sun shine on the sinner and the righteous and sends the rain on the bad and the good. {Matthew 13:43} He loves all his children and wants all to live healthy and happy lives, else why would he plant the herbs and healing plants that are used to heal diseases? The knowledge of God is in both nature and faith. Science discovers the properties that bring healing and faith where these fall short.

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