“Some Christians, notably those who stress God’s miraculous healings, are puzzled by those parts of the Bible which don’t easily mesh with their beliefs. “Why didn’t God intervene more in Bible times? Why doesn’t He heal all Christians now?” they ask.
The questions flow from a persistent undercurrent of wanting to avoid pain at all costs. We seem to reserve our shiniest merit badges for those who have been healed, featuring them in magazine articles and TV specials, with the frequent side-effect of causing unhealed ones to feel as though God has passed them by. We make faith not an attitude of trust in something unseen but a route to get something seen – something magical and stupendous, like a miracle or supernatural gift. Faith includes the supernatural, but it also includes daily, dependent trust in spite of results. True faith implies a belief without solid proof – the evidence of things not seen, the substance of things hoped for. God is not mere magic.
Recently I watched a TV call-in healing program. The biggest applause came when a caller reported his leg was healed just one week before he was scheduled for amputation. The audience shouted, and the emcee declared, “This is the best miracle we’ve had tonight!” I couldn’t help wondering how many amputees were watching, forlornly wondering where their faith had failed.
A sick person is not unspiritual. The Bible does not pretend that a Christian should expect life to be easier, more antiseptic, or safer than for a non-Christian.
The natural laws which rule this planet are, on the whole, good laws which fit the design God has for men and women. And becoming a Christian does not equip us with a germfree, hermetically sealed spacesuit to protect us from the dangers of earth.
If God halted all tragedies which involved Christians, it would insulate us from complete identification with the world. Paul begged for a “thorn in his flesh to be removed,” but God declined. As a result, countless Christians have a deeper understanding of Paul; to them he becomes more human. They see him struggling, living out the principle he gives to us, that God’s grace is sufficient.”
excerpt from page 73 of Where Is God When It Hurts? by Phillip Yancey