September 21 – Today’s Readings – Philippians 1-2 and Palms 81
What a beautiful Epistle. When this book was written, Paul was a prisoner and the Church at Philippi was facing serious persecution. Paul wrote to them with tenderness – “It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:7-8)
You can feel the passion in his words as he speaks of the “fellowship in the Gospel” that they share?
In Chapter 2 it becomes quite evident the members of this Church have been supporting Paul financially while he is in prison and have sent Epaphroditus to care for Paul’s needs and help him in any way possible. It so happens that while Epaphroditus is staying with Paul, he almost dies of sickness “but God had mercy on him”. Isn’t this an extremely “sane” way to look at the topic of divine healing and divine health? God has mercy – plain and simple. It’s a sovereignty issue. If God says its time for Epaphroditus to go home to be with Jesus, we worship – but if God heals miraculously or grants divine health, we worship then too. Either way – we worship because God is Sovereign and God cares deeply for us – every step we take. He is walking with us and shepherding us. Is it God’s will that people be sick? No – this is faulty thinking. Sickness is all around us in this world – it is part of the fall of Adam and the result of sin entering the world – but there is no sickness in Heaven just as there is no sin in Heaven – there is no evil thing in Heaven – there is no suffering in Heaven and GOD’S WILL is PERFECTLY EVIDENT in Heaven. If you ever have question whether something is in God’s ultimate will for a Christian, ask yourself if this “thing” exists in heaven.
Was it God’s will that Paul suffer? – Not explicitly, but God did allow and use even Paul’s suffering to further the Gospel. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
When negative “stuff” happens to us, God is very present and caring – He will use these things to further the Gospel and grow our character. The ultimate “will of God” however is contrary to all suffering and death.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10) We live in a sin-sick world and though “bad” things happen to everyone, we must keep a focus on the ultimate will of God. In suffering, or prison, or hunger, God walks with us. He walked with Paul in his suffering. He gave Paul grace in his suffering – He gave the grace of healing to Epaphroditus and healed him – and He’ll do the same for you!
1. Please express other thoughts you may have concerning “Divine Healing” “Divine Health” and “When Bad Things Happen to Christians”.