The Living God Ministry
"The Ministry of Reconciliation"
2 Corinthians 5:17-20
PO Box 2784. Eugene, Oregon 97402
Phone: (541) 461-3337 * Fax: (541) 461-3666
DOES GOD HEAL TODAY
I have extremely mixed emotions as I write this article. My emotions are not mixed or confounded on the subject of healing itself but rather on the reaction of those who read this article. Many times I have endeavored to address this topic in different forums and in most cases was rebuffed and criticized and even ridiculed. Some have reacted with “Who does he think he is?” Or, “does he think he has a special connection with God?’This reaction caused me to avoid the subject altogether for a while even though I often encountered people who desperately needed God's blessings.
Eventually I realized how wrong I was in avoiding this subject and saw the need to bitterly repent to God for allowing the attitude of others to dissuade me in this important area of true Christianity. God is to be praised and glorified even if humans scoff and ridicule (Romans 3:4).
What my critics fail to see and refuse to hear or understand is the fact that I have always stressed that each of us has been given the POSSIBILITY of that inside track with God (see John 14:12-14). But only a few are willing to divest themselves of those human traits and attitudes that cut us off from God so that He chooses NOT to hear our petitions (compare Jeremiah 7:16 with Isaiah 66:2). And Isaiah 58 speaks of those who give the impression (“seem eager”) of wanting God’s will in their lives but their deeds, attitudes and actions show otherwise (James 4:17). Is it not time for all of us to stop pretending to be Christians and start being true Biblical Christians (Jude 3).
It is absolutely necessary to begin with Psalm 103 to introduce this subject. Here we find David stating : “Praise the Lord, O my soul AND FORGET NOT ALL HIS BENEFITS.” This clearly shows that God holds out tremendous benefits to His people - - those who are truly willing and able to trust and serve Him (Hebrews 11:6). Then God continues “. . . who forgives all your sins AND HEALS ALL YOUR DISEASES.” What have we just read there? Most of us actually believe that God “forgives all our sins” but do we actually believe He “heals all our diseases?” How can we truly believe that God forgives all our sins and yet disbelieve that He will heal all our diseases? If I cannot trust God to keep my body alive until He finishes working with me then how can I truthfully claim that I truly believe He will change my physical body into a spirit body and grand me immortality through salvation? Which is the greater miracle? We say we believe in His forgiveness but why is it that we cannot seem to be able to have the faith to claim the promise of healing and actually expect Him to grant the needed healing? Is that not what Paul is asking in 2 Timothy 1:6-14? Paul committed his physical life and his FUTURE into God's hands and EXPECTED God to guard and honor that trust until he had finished his calling. Paul made it clear that his physical life in the flesh was worthless to him - - but worth the blood of Jesus Christ to God (Acts 20:24)! [We will come back to this point later.]
[Side note: I specifically call attention to verse 8 of 2 Timothy 1. In this article I cite specific examples of God intervening for His people. In the past I shared these experiences with others and was scoffed at by people to the extent that I stopped “testifying about the Lord” (and His many miracles. Then I realized that I was allowing the skepticism of humans to silence my praise of God and His intervention for those in need. I repented of this and have not hesitated or been “ashamed to testify about our Lord.” If any want to scoff and find fault with this flawed human servant of God then let them scoff - - but that will never again let what people think stop me in praising God for His faithfulness. I am NOT here to “please men” but to “please GOD.”]
The book of James has a very enlightening comment that we should consider. James 1:5 – 8 states clearly that we (true followers of Christ) can and should ask God for all our needs - - healing is a need. But these verses state emphatically: “But, when he (the believer) asks, he MUST BELIEVE AND NOT DOUBT because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind (the wind of doubt and skepticism and even sarcasm). That man should NOT think he will receive anything (including forgiveness of sin or healing) from the Lord; he is a DOUBLE-MINDED man, UNSTABLE in all he does!”
What we just read are the words of God - - not the words of this writer! Yet I have been severely criticized and scoffed at because I emphasize that these words SAY WHAT THEY MEAN AND MEAN WHAT THEY SAY! They are NOT my words. I am merely a human instrument in God’s hands pointing out the priceless blessings God holds out to His people - - reminding people that we should NOT “forget all His benefits!”
There is a specific reason I am putting this down in written form. This way, if any of you are a skeptic looking for something to criticize then you can discard this article and just “forget all God’s benefits!” It is totally up to each individual! It truly is a matter totally BETWEEN YOU AND GOD. My job is to alert all to God’s great benefits and then allow each person to decide what reaction he will have. James stated clearly that if we doubt (disbelieve) then we will receive nothing from God. We individually have the choice of determining whether we will trust God for all His blessings.
James 5:14 – 15 explains Psalm 103:1 – 3 further by showing what God commands us to do when we are sick or afflicted. We need to study the very words of Jesus Christ as found in Matthew 6:25 – 34 very carefully. Again, these are the words of Jesus Christ - - not the words of this writer! Each one of us must apply these words to ourselves if we hope to reap “ALL HIS BENEFITS!” 1 Peter 2:24 states “He (Jesus the Christ) Himself BORE OUR SINS IN HIS BODY on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; BY HIS WOUNDS (STRIPES) YOU HAVE BEEN HEALED.” Did you grasp what you just read from that passage? We HAVE ALREADY BEEN HEALED BY HIS STRIPES - - PROVIDED WE DEMONSTRATE FAITH (BELIEF) IN HIM AND HIS PROMISES.
Many claim that healing and other miracles were only for that New Testament Church and that God does not grant such profound miracles today. The purpose of this article is to show that GOD HAS NOT CHANGED. He will do for us today what He has done for His people throughout history. Jesus did state many times “ACCORDING TO YOUR FAITH (BELIEF) BE IT UNTO YOU!” (Matthew 9:29). If we ask God for His intervention in our lives and we do not immediately receive the answer we seek then THE PROBLEM IS NOT WITH GOD! Jesus said “Seek first the kingdom of God and all our physical needs will be provided (Matthew 6:25 – 34). Do we really believe Jesus and His promises? Do we actually trust Him to keep His word? (see John 14:12-14)
Even though I know certain ones will scoff and criticize, it is imperative that I share dramatic events with all that choose to read this entire article and also choose to begin to trust Him. I am writing this for YOUR benefit - - not mine. God has proven Himself to me and it is my hope you will allow Him to prove Himself to you. I personally have learned that God is trustworthy to keep His promises. I have claimed and received His promises far too many times to count - - for myself and for many others. The point I want to make clear is that there are witnesses who can and will verify the reports in this article.
Perhaps I should take the time to briefly explain how God chose to reveal these things to me. In1954 I was a freshman at Ambassador College and one day while walking down a sidewalk I encountered a strange person. As we came face to face I realized something was wrong. His very presence made my flesh crawl. Humanly I wanted to get away from him but God’s Spirit in me would not let me. So I began to engage him in conversation.
I had learned just enough from the Bible about Satan and demons to know they exist. But there were no instructions at that college about how to deal with them in an e3ncounter. Thus I was totally ignorant as to what to do or say but, thankfully, I immediately asked God to intervene and give me the He promised to give through the Holy Spirit. Once conversation had begun it became evident that there were more than one spirit present in this man so I asked “How many spirits am I dealing with here?” The answer came back “two!”
All the time I was mentally and spiritually crying out to God to guide me in this encounter. God reminded me of the passages in the Bible where there is coming a time yet future when God will deal with Satan and his demons. And God revealed to me that that was not the time for these demons to be cast out of that man. So I told the demons “You do realize what you will have to do if I tell you to leave this body, do you not?” The answer came back “We would have to leave!” I then said “Since God has not directed me to cast you out of this body I am telling you to take this body off this campus and do not bring it back!” I barely got the word “back” out of my mouth when the human body turned and ran very fast off the campus! Thus, God showed me in person that He has not change but that He keeps His promises today for those willing to totally trust Him. (John 14:12-14)
One of the most profound miracles I encountered occurred during Sabbath services in Pasadena, California. Ted Armstrong was delivering a sermon and I was following along in the Bible. Suddenly deacon Jim Duke grabbed me by my left shoulder and almost yanked me off my seat spinning me around. I knew something urgent was under foot so I dumped my Bible and notebook on the floor and quickly followed him into the outer hallway. This young seventeen year old woman (a Mrs. Greason) ran up to me and cast a baby in my arms crying out “My baby, my baby, he's dead!” You must experience something like this to grasp the sudden impact such has on you. I had a dead three-day-old baby thrust into my arms with a frantic young mother loudly crying out in despair for help. You have to experience such to grasp just how helpless you are of yourself - - you must trust God!
It is truly amazing how many thoughts can crash through your mind in only a second or two. You feel totally weak and helpless. The first impulse (thought) experienced was “Why give it to me?” as you briefly contemplate some way to try and escape what is facing you AT THE MOMEWNT. For a brief moment, fear tried to run through my very bones and my inner being. Thankfully God’s Spirit took charge and compelled me to state to a deaconess (Annie Mann) sitting nearby “Follow us” as I led the mother to the anointing room.
This mother had another young girl staying with her after the birth while she re-cooperated from childbirth. Since neither had transportation so this other girl scoured the neighborhood to find someone with a car. Finding a lady who agreed to drive them, they came to our church services. The interesting point needed making here is that the last words I heard from this non-church member woman was “Why did we bring this baby here - - why didn’t we take him to the hospital where he could get real help?” [Interestingly, since the baby had been dead for well over an hour that we knew of, what could the hospital do except issue a death certificate? We were not interested in a “death certificate but life for this baby.]
Once we were in the anointing room I placed the baby on the cot and we all knelt. Immediately my mind went to the Biblical example found in 1 Kings 17:17 – 23 since THE ONLY HELP AVAILABLE TO THIS DEAD BABY WAS GOD ALMIGHTY. In the anointing prayer I reminded God of what He had done for Elijah the prophet and ask Him to do the same for this child. I reminded God that He states emphatically that He does NOT change and that we can expect the same from Him today that he did for His people throughout the ages. Even though the baby was not breathing, was stiff and beginning to turn blue, as soon as I anointed him in accordance with James 5:14, he began to cry loudly. You normally do not think a baby’s cry is a beautiful sound - - it certainly was in this case! [It is hoped that all of you reading this can experience the thrill I felt at that time knowing that GOD IS GOD INDEED and that he WILL HEAR AND ANSWER OUR PRAYERS.]
Mrs. Mann, the mother and I went back to where Jim Duke and this lady were standing and I gently asked this lady if she would please drive Mrs. Greason and her living baby home as the baby was then alive.
Another outstanding miracle involved a complicated delivery at the birth of a baby. I was asked to go out on this call by another minister (a Dibar Apartian) to the home of Robert and Arleen (Bunnell) Petrey. This was a home delivery with a doctor and nurse present. When I arrived the right leg of the baby was out of the mother’s body up to the knee. The other leg was doubled back into the mother’s abdomen. The baby was stuck - - could not come out nor could it return into the mother. Since it had been in this condition for over three hours, that little leg was dark bluish/purple and swollen about four times its normal size.
This was an acute emergency where divine intervention was needed IMMEDIATELY. I had already noticed the presence of a doctor and a nurse. As I knelt beside the delivery table set up in their dining room, I noted that the doctor and the nurse were standing over by the refrigerator with their arms folded across their chests with the expression on their faces which indicated “What are we about to experience here?”
In the anointing prayer the very first thing I addressed was the presence of these medical people. I stated to God in that prayer: “Father in heaven you know that present here are a doctor and a nurse schooled in the medical profession. They are going to think it very strange that I will be taking a small amount of olive oil and placing it on this mother’s forehead when she is having birth complications. I admit Almighty God that there is NO therapeutic value in this oil. But, Father in heaven, as you know, the ONLY reason I am doing this is because that is what YOU COMMAND.”
When I reached the point of the actual anointing I opened my eyes to pick up my small bottle of anointing oil (I always keep my eyes closed during an anointing as I want no distractions as I take people BEFORE THE VERY THRONE OF GOD). Once I opened my eyes I saw that the doctor and the nurse were prostrate on their faces on the floor. Due to my concentration during the prayer I did not hear them go to the floor. But there they were prostrate before God even though they did not recognize Him as God. [Later, in retrospect, I realized that they could not help falling on their faces on the floor, as they had to have known that at that moment we were before the very throne of God.]
Once I finished the anointing I stood up and told the Petrey’s I would go outside and wait in my car and for Bob to come out and tell me when the baby came. Within fifteen minutes Bob came out grinning and announced “We just had a healthy baby girl - - as you were walking out the front door that little leg withdrew into the Arlene's body and then out came the baby."
There were literally hundreds of witnesses to these miracles - - either directly or by conversing with others who had first hand knowledge of these events. God has not changed! He will do for us today what He has done for His people throughout history!
I want it crystal clear that these events did NOT happen because of me personally. My part was to obey the command found in James 5:14 and to BELIEVE that God would honor the requests. And He did! I know fully that I am the least likely person for God to use (see 1 Corinthians 1:27-29).
I could literally write a book rather than an article if I recounted all the supernatural miracles I have witnessed DURING THIS AGE. From here on I will select a few at random to show different circumstances - - that God is NOT limited by time or circumstance. And I could cite many scriptural examples that would clearly support these miracles.
A PERSONAL MIRACLE
In the summer of 2008 I was preparing for my second trip to Kenya. Two days before my departure I accidentally stepped on a 16-penny nail that went through the sole of my shoe and deep into the arch of my foot. I prayed a general prayer but, regretfully, did not take the matter as seriously as I should have. The next morning I awoke with a swollen foot and a red/blue line running up my leg indicating blood poisoning. That is when I got real serious. I knew that God had made this trip possible (as He had the first trip in 2007) and yet here I was developing blood poisoning that would literally take my life. So I SERIOUSLY went to God and reminded Him of this pending trip and the fact that while in Kenya I would be teaching the Kenyan people about God and healing. [During our first trip to Kenya God granted many miracles]. I advised Him that I could not in good faith represent Him and teach about healing and other miracles if I did not personally live up to His standards of faith in this regard. I made it clear to God that I planned to proceed with the trip even though, at that moment, I had blood poisoning. So I proceeded with my preparations. The swelling and the red streak were still present when I went to bed the night before departure. The next morning, as I arose, I noted that the swelling and the streak were gone - - only the puncture hole remained as evidence of the injury.
While in Kenya there were three occasions where I shared this experience with the people and actually removed my shoe and sock to show them the puncture hole. Many people crowded around to see the hole and were amazed. One man present at one of those meetings later contacted our representatives in Kenya and said, “If you represent the same God that healed Brother Bill’s foot, we want to counsel with you.” This event also gave many others the opportunity to develop faith and trust in God.
In September 1961 a man (Arthur Hockwald) with a casual interest in the Bible truths we taught contacted me and invited my wife and me to his home for dinner on September 7. He called back to ask if I would mind if a few friends came by for a Bible study after dinner. I did not object.
At the dinner only two other people were present. But by the time dinner was over there were ten additional guests present which meant there were 14 of us present. My wife and I were there in that Bible study for eleven and one half-hours - - until 5:50 the next morning.
During the evening one lady present (Jane Hickok) kept asking questions on the subject of healing. About 5:00 a.m. she said, "I guess you are wondering why I keep going back to the subject of healing. I live next door and one of my sons is extremely ill and the doctors cannot seem to help him." Then she began to stammer in her speech. I asked, "are you trying to ask for an anointing?" She said "Yes, but I do not know how!" My reply was "All you have to do is say 'would you anoint my son?'" She asked and I answered "Yes!" and we went next door.
This son had an extremely high fever. This was one of those times God revealed to me that He was going to heal immediately. After the anointing I advised Jane not to come back to the Hockwald's with me as my wife and I had to go home. The report came back to me later that Jane had barely gotten in bed when this son grabbed her by the shoulder and asked "Mom, what's for breakfast?" The fever was totally gone and he was completely healed within minutes.
STILL ANOTHER CASE
Two weeks later (on Thanksgiving eave) Arthur Hockwald called me and stated "I just arrived home from work and my entire family is very sick with the flu." I immediately drove out to Pico Rivera (where they lived) and anointed both Art and Virginia and their four children. While there I learned that they had a Thanksgiving dinner planned for the next day with out of town family en route who could not be contacted. I advised them to go to bed and not worry - - that "Everything is going to be alright!"
I learned later that they all got a good night's sleep and the entire family was healed and Virginia was completely well (as well as the entire family) and prepared a good dinner for their family and guests. Later Art called me and said, "I cannot say that I fully understand what happened - - all I know is that when we went to bed we were all very sick and the next morning we were all totally well!"
[SPECIAL NOTE: You will note that I have not hesitated to use real names of people referred to in this article. This is because there are numerous witnesses to these events. In fact, about four years back the oldest son of the Hockwald's emailed me reminding me of the time I came to their home and anointed them. He said, "You put oil on our heads and we (the four children) thought it was weird!" Using olive oil for an anointing for a sick person may appear weird but since the practice is GOD ORDAINED, IT WORKS!
At this point I will give examples that many will literally scoff at and ridicule. But, do you remember the example in the scriptures where Christ rebuked the wind and the weather and the sea became calm. Many times (too many to recount here) I have had the occasion to call out to God for such intervention in the weather. On some occasions present were non-believers who voiced the thought “You certainly had help from somewhere for this one!” My answer was “Yes I did!”
I will cite only one of many outstanding events. Being a building contractor I was constructing a 70-foot CLEAR SPAN horse barn and riding arena with stables along the side. We had ordered the trusses to be delivered for us to set on a Thursday morning. But the truck broke down and was late by 24 hours. The problem was that on that particular Friday morning a storm was rapidly blowing in from the Pacific Ocean through a valley. As we were positioning the boom truck for setting the trusses the storm hit with strong winds. My son-in-law (Guy Hagner) was working for me at the time. When the storm hit he looked at me and asked, “What are we going to do?” My reply was “We are going to set trusses!” He looked into the teeth of the storm and shrugged his shoulders. I replied “It is obvious we are going to be tested today!” And we were. However, each time we lifted each set of 70-foot long trusses into the air the storm calmed and we had no problem. But we were tested because each time the boom truck released one set of trusses and swung the boom to pick up the next set the rain just poured and the wind blew. I considered this a test to see if we would weaken in our faith.
As I said, this was a Friday. I never scheduled such large tasks on a Friday because of the Sabbath coming on at sunset. However, in this case I was caught in circumstances not of my making or planning. Thus I felt free to call on God for His intervention in the weather. As a result, things went so well (even though we were tested several times during the day) we were totally finished with the trusses secured by 3:30 in the afternoon. We were able to get home before the Sabbath began even though we were about 100 miles from home. God said we should NOT forget ALL HIS BENEFITS. These benefits are there to be claimed - - in BELIEVING FAITH! Yet people have scoffed at me for claiming these benefits as if I did something wrong.
I will share one more example. However, I want it very clear that I am NOT recommending that anyone make the choice that I made. Some eighteen years ago through a freak accident a load of steel slipped loose from my
pickup rack and came crashing through the back glass. It first hit me in the right shoulder blade and shoved me into the steering wheel. This all happened in a millisecond. At this instant a supernatural miracle happened. The front end of this skid of metal lifted up by at least eight inches to allow it to release me from a pinned position between the skid and the steering wheel and go up and over the dash and through the windshield. The only "damage" I suffered was a puncture wound in my right shoulder blade, a cut behind my right ear and pressure on my face and chest leaving the black and blue imprint of the steering wheel. This accident should have literally pinched my head off. After the accident I evaluated the situation and saw at least seven ways I SHOULD NOT HAVE LIVED and not a single way that my life could have been spared. There was no question that my life was spared. [NOTE: My wife and I know we will die some day so we already have crypts for our burial]. About five days after this accident I made a point to go out and stand in front of my crypt and pray to God. I knew that such would be about the time my wife would be having my dead body slid into that crypt. I felt the need to address my God and inquire as to why He had spared me.
What I just said is the background for what I am about to relate. The puncture spot on my right shoulder blade has not healed in all these years. I have considered this a perpetual reminder from God [MY PERSONAL "THORN IN THE FLESH"] that He spared my life for His purpose. About seven years ago I awoke one morning to find that a large glob of proud flesh, about the size of a half dollar and about half an inch high, had suddenly grown out of this small sore. I had it checked out by a dermatologist. He cut it off to use as a biopsy. The test came back positive as cancerous. He wanted to rush me into an operation where that whole area would be operated on and anything they thought was part of the cancer would be cut away. Then he said he would administer chemotherapy. He proceeded to advise me that they would wait and see if they got all the cancer and if not they would go back and cut away some more of my body.
I thanked him for his evaluation and recommendations but advised him that I would choose NOT to go that route. He became indignant and even hostile. I smiled and left his office and haven't been back.
Again I got real serious with God, reminding Him that my life is totally in His hands and that it is worthless to me personally Acts 20:24-27). I also told Him that I was determined to trust Him completely and that if He chose to take my life through this cancer that such was acceptable with me. Three times now I have experienced this bloody flare up over a single night and things have gone back to what they have been for these many years. I am thankful for this little sore as every morning when I remove my tee shirt and look at this sore, I can say, “Thank you Father!” In all these years this sore has never caused me pain nor handicapped me in any work I do. Thus, how can I be anything but thankful? I know that God will spare my life so long as He has a purpose for me living in the flesh.
MY CAUTION TO ALL OF YOU: What I have just related are my personal choices and should NOT be taken as a recommendation for any of you. In my case God has shown me enough that I personally have no other choice for myself. I know that God heals and that my life is in His hands. That says it all in a nutshell FOR ME and NOT necessarily for anyone else. Faith is an INDIVIDUAL matter and NO ONE should tell another person what to do in such cases. [Since the experiences that I have cited here are so many and so varied, if anyone wishes to discuss this subject further you should feel free to contact me.]
At this point I feel the need to explain a most important point. There are times and reasons why God DELAYS an answer. That reason is for US HUMANS - - not for God's benefit. We are in this flesh to learn the very nature and character of God and to develop trust in Him. We learn and develop this nature and character by and through the human experiences we encounter. One of the biggest problems I have seen in others is a lack of patience - - most do not want to “endure” a test from God! We too often want God to “jump at our whip” and answer immediately regardless of the lack of character or faith we are showing by our personal lives.
I had a unique experience when I was first ordained. This matronly member had a heart condition. She had been anointed many times by several ministers. She began to call on me for the anointing. Each time she would get “relief” but was NOT healed. About the third time this occurred I felt the need to explain to her that GOD DOES NOT FUNCTION THIS WAY.
When there is a delay in receiving our request we
should go to God in prayer and seek the reason He is delaying. I then advised her that if she kept calling
on me for the anointing that I would ask God WHY and that He would reveal the
reason to me. She strongly assured me
this is what she wanted. After about three more anointings God revealed the
reason. The next time she called for an anointing I advised her that God had
revealed to me the reason. She initially
exclaimed joy that God had given this revelation but when I told her what it
was she became hurt and offended. What
God revealed was that she was NOT exercising true faith in Him. A true minister at times has to reveal things
that are momentarily disturbing to the person.
She cried and said “I’m a lot older than you and I’ve been in the church
longer than you and you are telling me I am not exercising true believing
It took a little time but she calmed down and I asked her to diligently pray about it and see what God would show her. I pointed out that she was obediently following the command in James 5:14 and that doing so made her feel she was “doing the right thing.” God inspired Paul to clearly explain a most important point. People in Corinth were "doing the right thing" by observing the Passover with the wine and unleavened bread. But, God inspired Paul to state "Many among you are weak and sick and a number of you have fallen asleep (died)" because they HAD NOT PROPERLY DISCERNED THE LORD'S BODY (1 Corinthians 11:23-32). Keep in mind that these are GOD'S WORDS - - not mine! That doing "the right thing" (keeping the Passover with the right symbols at the right time) BUT WITHOUT DISCERNING THAT CHRIST'S BODY WAS BROKEN FOR OUR HEALING does not represent A true BELIEVING faith THAT God requires and honors!
I also pointed out to this lady that she had oxygen bottles to get emergency oxygen if she needed it. [NOTE: I did not state nor imply that it would be wrong for her to use oxygen but that it should not be used as a substitute for faith.]
About three anointings later she would not allow me to anoint her until she had told me something. She proceeded to tell me that God had shown her that she had not been exercising true believing faith and that she had repented and asked His forgiveness. I anointed her and this time she was healed rather than just getting relief. To my knowledge she never had another attack. In fact she had missed the last few Feasts (held in Squaw Valley, California - - a high elevation) because she was “afraid” she would have problems there. The feast was only weeks away and she attended in Squaw Valley and had a great time with no problems.
What am I conveying by this example? God was working with her and equipping her for His family. But she had a flaw that needed correcting. He did not want her to suffer these attacks but what He wanted most was her spiritual character development (study James 1:22-25).
We actually have a Biblical example of this scenario. Job was a man devoted to God and His ways. But Job was self-righteous, vain and dared find fault with and criticize God. Since God was working with Job in refining his character, it became necessary that God discipline him. God used Satan to do this disciplining. Satan inspired Job to begin thinking that God was not fair in allowing his afflictions. Job actually thought and believed that he would eventually FORCE God to admit God was wrong in allow these trials (Job 13:18-19, Ch. 15:6 & 13, Ch. 19:6-10 and Ch. 35:16). If any have lingering problems it is recommended that you carefully study chapters 33 through 40. You can learn a lot about how God works with us from these chapters.
Even if the apostle Paul (a most outstanding servant of God) had lived during Job’s time, GOD WOULD NOT HAVE HONORED Paul’s prayer for healing for Job - - not until Job had acknowledged his sins and his bad attitudes and his resentment toward God. Once Job did acknowledge his wrongs and truly REPENTED, God forgave him and restored his health and also restored his family and his wealth. We MUST realize that God is NOT playing games with us. He will give us every opportunity to get right with Him but if we refuse or neglect to do so then God has no choice but to resort to drastic measures. God will finish the work He has begun in us individually WHATEVER IT TAKES. Remember that God did not allow Jonah to default on the commission given to him.
I have known people who are very resentful toward God for allowing trials. As long as they have this resentment they are not going to see what God wants them to see and understand and thus they will NOT receive the answer they seek. God has used me often to point this out to people who are struggling and guess what? Several have become angry with me rather than angry with themselves for making it necessary for God to discipline them. I have found it necessary to advise people that “GOD CAN AND WILL OUTLAST YOU!” God has ETERNITY and we humans have only a short human lifetime. Job learned this the hard way - - must we also learn it the hard way?
There was a time when it hurt me deeply as people scoffed or rejected the message God gave me to deliver. It no longer disturbs me, as I now know there will be such rejection on occasion - - Jesus endured such scoffing. God gives me specific instructions on how to handle such challenges (2 Timothy 2:23-26). It is truly amazing how we humans often punish ourselves by our own resentments while trying to place the blame on others or find fault. I truly ache for such people but can do nothing to help them while they hang on to their resentments. I have known people I would dearly love to help but I cannot do so until they are ready and willing to receive that help from God’s Word in the Bible.
PSALM 103 AGAIN
We need to revisit Psalm 103 again for some final thoughts. God has BOUND HIMSELF to forgive all our sins and to heal all our sicknesses. Let me repeat: If we cannot trust Him for the healing of our bodies then how can we be sure He will forgive our sins and grant to us salvation? Have we forgotten the words of Jesus as recorded in Matthew 6:25-34. What do these words mean to us? Are we convinced that they are the words and the promises of God? Can we bring ourselves to stake our lives on these words? Just HOW REAL is God to us? Should we not compare ourselves with those saints of God mentioned in Hebrews 11? And, if we find ourselves lacking in faith, should we not ask God for it and then believe He will grant it to us? Remember, it is God who works in us BOTH TO WILL AND TO DO His will (Phil. 2:12-13). Faith is a GIFT from God (Ephesians 2:8-9).
In closing let me remind everyone reading this that I am not recommending that you do what I have done with my affliction (my "thorn in the flesh"). You each must decide what you are capable of doing. God may eventually allow me to die of this cancer. If so then WHAT IS MY LOSS since I am going to die some day anyway. I personally choose to die trusting God rather than die trying to extend this temporary life. But each person must cross this bridge if and when he is able. It is strictly a personal matter. I personally never criticize nor find fault with anyone who attempts to preserve his or her physical life. Such is not for me to judge. My job before God is to advise people that help is available if and when each person is able to reach out to and trust God for it. If God is working with someone (like He did with Job) then, as a minister, I cannot thwart what God is doing with that person by expecting God to intervene BEFORE it is God's time.
If there is anything I can do to help and encourage anyone please let me know. I am here to serve you! God be with all of you who have read this article.
NOTE: I also have an article entitled “A New Beginning” which could give you additional help in this regard. Please feel free to request it. Praise God!
UPDATE: It has now been 18 years since the accident and the sore that formed on my shoulder. And, it has been seven years since the sore was diagnosed as cancerous. Three times the sore has bled out overnight onto my tee shirt. I consider that as God’s way of draining out cancerous cells rather than allowing them to spread in my body – as the doctor said they would.
I no longer consider this my “thorn in the flesh.” I now call it “MY BLESSING FROM GOD!” I thank God for it every day and allow it to keep me humbly thankful my life is in His hands. What better place could we place our human lives? And I thank God that I am not “ashamed to testify about our Lord” including trials He at times allows as well as all His many blessings (2 Timothy 1:8 and Psalm 103:2-3).
As we approach the Passover each year (1 Corinthians 11:23-32 - - especially verses 29-30) we should carefully evaluate this subject and determine whether we have truly DISCERNED THE LORD’S BODY AND BLOOD. You cannot truly separate the body from the blood as God links them together in Psalm 103:2-3. - - Bill Glover