The importance of FAITH, PEACE and JOY in HEALTH and LIFE

For most of twenty years as an elder I have had the opportunity to pray for those who have needed prayer for healing. James 5:14 – 16 – “Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”

I have struggled with the meaning that says: “And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up.” Not everyone, I or others have prayed for, are healed and some have passed away. One question I have always wondered about is how important is faith in healing? Research tells us that fear can actually kill. We have heard of people dying of shock resulting from an accident. Can fear cancel out faith?

Mark 6:5 – 6 – (Jesus) “He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their lack of faith.” Mark 10:52 – “Go’, said Jesus, ‘your faith has healed you.’ Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.”

I have written about this previously. However, Scripture that says “faith will make the sick person well” keeps me struggling for an explanation. Each week some of us receive a prayer list from our church asking that we pray for the sick. How many actually are healed? Why did some receive healing and others seemed not to? Was it because of a lack of faith on the people praying or the person asking for healing? You may have heard me say faith does not heal you; it takes the power of the Holy Spirit. But it takes faith on the part of the sick person to be healed and stressful-fear must be overcome. How about the person in a comma? They may not be aware that there is anyone praying for them. Then are the prayers of those praying for healing dependent upon the prayer’s faith?

In the 9th chapter of Mark a father asks the apostles to rid his son of an evil spirit and they couldn’t. When Jesus arrived He was frustrated at the apostles for not having enough faith. The father asked Jesus to rid the demon if He could. Mark 9:23 & 24 – “’If you can’? said Jesus: ‘Everything is possible for him who believes.’” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” The apostles asked Jesus why they couldn’t handle the demon. Jesus indicates that prayer was the key that unlocks and reveals faith. Effective prayer needs both an attitude of complete dependence and reliance on God.

Jesus then sent out His disciples with instructions to heal the sick. I don’t think the disciples prayed: “God if it is your will heal this sick person.” It is like saying: “God if you don’t want to heal this person you really don’t have to.” I still believe that God, in His way, answers every prayer of a faithful believer. He may not do it in the way we expect or in the time we want. But His love for us tells me He will do whatever is best for us. Many may not believe going to heaven can be God’s answer to prayer when we are praying for healing. Yet, it may be what is best but only God knows. Some people have been terrified of being sick and God took away their fear. That was His answer to prayer. It was then possible that they healed according to nature’s normal way or as a result of medical treatment. That I believe was God’s answer to the many who prayed for me. If our church had elders that miraculously healed the sick every time they were asked we would have a congregation of many, many thousands. People would come because of the healing more than to hear the gospel. This is what attracted most to Jesus, His healing and His miracles.

One thing I can attest to when going through a life and death situation is that the Holy Spirit can give you continual peace. John 14:27 – “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 16:33 – “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Worldly peace usually means a lack of conflict. Christ’s peace is confidence that the Holy Spirit will comfort and guide us through any circumstance. There is no reason for our hearts to be troubled or should we be afraid.

For the past 26 years I have had a heart problem. I have had bypass surgery twice and angiogram procedures twice with stenches inserted. My cardiologist is amazed that I am alive. Through it all I have learned that faith can remove all fear. This has made me question how important is one’s faith and can fear block out faith? Fear can be a lack of faith and trust in God’s healing power as we learn in Scripture. When the doctor tells your family your heart is not strong enough for you to live and tells you your organs have just shut down and your color is as yellow as a lemon, knowing that you are in God’s hands can give you complete peace and joy knowing God cares. Thank God no matter what I have gone through, problems or in health, I have always felt the peace that only the Holy Spirit can provide. Were it not for answered prayers, faith and a deep peace and God’s healing hand I would not be writing to you.

Now let’s address the importance of faith and peace in life. Going through the deepest recession since the 1930s many have become scared, frustrated and to a degree hopeless. Ask them if they have any peace in their lives and the answer is unequivocally no and their stress is horrible. As a financial advisor with over 500 clients seeing their investment portfolios go down month after month was very disconcerting. Yes it is very disturbing. However, this is a time when we must completely put our trust in God that He will meet our needs. I had the same peace that was there when I was going through my physical problem. It was the same peace I believe Paul talks about having. I assume it comes from having knowledge of the Bible and believing in God’s promises. It may require reaching a certain spiritual maturity that allows complete trust and being totally dependent upon God. It is a peace that I believe every Christian can have. However, I believe it takes time to reach that trust factor with God before His peace overcomes all stress and hopelessness. Seek it out!

P.S. Each week as I receive the church’s prayer list, my heart aches for those who are going through some very serious situations. It reminds me of the story of the man who was complaining because he had no shoes until he saw another with no feet. We often just take for granted that life is to be one big bowl of cherries. However, many of us have been blessed, in general, with good health and few problems. Let us remember those unfortunate and the stress they are going through in our prayers and thank God for His blessings that we still have feet.

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