Saturday, May 14, 2011

Too Much, Too Soon

Stacy just found the blogs and writes in:

I wanted to know your thoughts, if you have time, about being fearfully and wonderfully made and having disabilities and/or handicaps. This is something I'm not understanding and have not been able to find an answer I have peace with in my spirit. I've grown up as an army brat when it comes to churches going from conservative to charasmatic to really charasmatic and now attend a great Four Square which is both conservative and has quiet veins of charasmatic running through it which is a perfect fit for me. My issue though is that the school of thought I run into is that something like a handicap or addiction or whatnot is because it's something we allowed into our life, like an open window for the enemy to come in, or our parents sinned and let that spirit /problem in, or generational curses and the like. I've also heard that our handicaps or disability is a gift that is to be used for the glory of God and then others say it can be used by God but that we should always pray to be healed since God wants to heal us.

If we are fearfully and wonderfully made then were do handicaps/disabilities come in? How can one be fearfully and wonderfully made while being say crippled? Or mentally challenged etc. ? I don't see how those flaws fit in with the fearfully and wonderfully made part? I mean noone looks at a crippled person and says "That's great! I want to be that way too!". We all know it's an issue and noone would want that problem. And yet we're told we're fearfully and wonderfully made and God knitted us in our mother's womb. I mean did He knit that crippling/physical or mental problem in too?

My response:

I love my charismatic brothers and sisters, but they have taken their proper emphasis on healing and turned it into an "overrealized eschatology." This means that they take things that are promised to us in the final kingdom of God and expect that we should be living it all now.

In the kingdom, we will all be healed, there will be perfect justice, and we will all be unified. Right now, although there is some unity in the church, there is a lot of division and hatred as well, because we are still working on our maturity in love. Right now, although there is some justice through the church, it is only partially realized because we don't live under the Perfect King. Right now, although there is some healing, not everyone is healed. And some struggle with addictions and sins with no easy out.

We can see this in Scripture. There's the passage you quoted in John 9-- Jesus answered, "It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him." (Joh 9:3 NAU) Also we have the evangelist Epaphrophitus who was "sick even to death" but God had mercy on him to spare him and Paul. This means that he was sick, and he could have died. Eventually he was healed, but it wasn't an instant healing, and he could have died from it. Paul had no expectation that his co-worker should have just had more faith to be healed. Rather, it was the will of God that was the main issue. (Phil. 2:25-27).

Some say that we are promised healing in the atonement of Jesus (Isaiah 53:5). But in that passage we are also promised shalom, the peace and justice of God. However shalom is not yet fully realized, and so we cannot take that passage and say that everyone in all cases should be healed right now. Eventually we will be, but for now, we must struggle.

We can see this with Paul in II Corinthians 12. A "messenger of Satan" attacked Paul continuously. We don't know what this is. It could be a sickness or disability. It could be a sin he struggled with continuously. All we know is that it limited Paul's salvation and that it came from Satan. And Paul prayed about it, but it was not taken away. Instead, God told him, "My strength will be made perfect through weakness." God told Paul to accept his weakness-- to accept a messenger of Satan!-- as part of his life, because God's work was being done through it. Even so, our weaknesses: sickness, addiction, disability-- some of these will be healed. Others, however, we will have to live with because God is at work in us.

God makes it clear that our character will only become mature through suffering.

3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;
4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;
(Rom 5:3-4 NAU)

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,
3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
(Jam 1:2-4 NAU)

These "trials" or "tribulations" are actually best translated "tests" and they can take the form of suffering or persecution or personal weakness or temptations. This is how our maturity happens. Only in this way can we find perfect joy.

Hope that helps.

God bless you and keep the faith in love!

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