In the New Testament we read about the amazing miracles that occurred.
So how about today? Is it God's will that everyone who suffers is healed? If so, what's the key to receiving His healing touch? Is it faith? Prayer?
Good behavior? Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll answers these questions and more in our continuing series called Clinging to Hope. Chuck has written a brand new book by the same title and later on will explain how to receive a copy. Right now, let's turn to James chapter 5. Chuck titled today's message, When God Heals Body and Soul. We are so familiar to you today. We were here last time as we laid a foundation that would prepare us for a better understanding of these four verses found in this final chapter of James' letter.
In your outline, you will see those five foundational facts repeated so that you can refer back to them when you need to and not forget them. But we want to build on that as we look deeper into the verses themselves as James writes about the divine healing work of God. My hope is that these words that will be read and then later shared will be of help and I would even add enlightenment to replace false information you have been given in the days and years past. James 5, 13 to 16, I'll be reading from the New Living Translation.
Follow along beginning at James 5, 13. Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy, cheerful? You should sing praises.
Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick and the Lord will make you well and if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. You're listening to Insight for Living. To study the Bible with Chuck Swindoll, be sure to download his Searching the Scriptures studies by going to insight.org slash hope. And now the message from Chuck titled When God Heals Body and Soul. If I learned nothing else in my theological training, I learned how to think biblically. Or put another way, to think theologically.
My challenge now is to help others do the same. It doesn't come naturally and it doesn't come easily. Because we have all through our lives learned to think emotionally.
Or perhaps another word, traditionally, as other people have told us answers or given us information. Or maybe we could add culturally so that we might fit into the majority opinion, which is seldom right. But there we are, committed to thinking any other way but biblically and theologically. It's hard work. It's a discipline that must be cultivated over time. And as your trust in the Scriptures grows, your ability to think biblically and theologically deepens and broadens.
And ultimately, nothing else satisfies. In fact, you realize how wrong you have been for so much of your life. This is especially true when we come to this subject of healing. All sorts of misconceptions abound regarding healing.
Questions can be asked and some of them are not difficult to answer. Can God heal? Yes, of course. He can do anything. With Him, nothing is impossible. Can God heal in the 21st century?
Absolutely. He can and often does. Every time you bounce back from the flu, God has healed. No physician can heal. No physician can cure. A physician can diagnose and can prescribe, but the healing is in God's hands. Every broken bone that mends, God healed it every time. Every time we recover from a difficult, maybe even lengthy disease, God has enabled us to overcome. These are not miracles. Don't call them miracles.
They are not because we can explain them. It has to do with a good immune system, if you will. A caring physician, quite likely, who properly diagnoses and prescribes where necessary. Good nursing.
Good health care. And, of course, the power of God at work. He made us. No one is better able to give us good health than the one who made us, if he chooses to.
But he is not obligated to do that. You cannot prove from the Scriptures that God wants you well. Even though you've been told that all your life, it sounds so right.
It seems so right. But it isn't biblical. So it isn't right. When you think biblically, you decide you're going to lay aside things that you've heard for so long, and regardless of who you heard it from. For example, there will be those who will say you are not well because you have hidden sin in your life. Not necessarily so.
Not necessarily. Or because you're not walking in faith. Or because you have not been willing to submit to the touch of a faith healer. That isn't found in the Scriptures. So when you think biblically, you have to come to terms with what you believe about so-called faith healers. And you won't be popular among those who believe in them and want you to believe in them and want to declare that there is a miracle a day that awaits you.
There is not. I have a friend of mine who says if miracles were that often, they ought to be called regulars. They're not regulars.
They're very, very, very rare. And by the way, when they happen, you nor anyone can ever explain them. If you could, they're not miracles. Think biblically. Train yourself to think biblically.
Here's the issue. God reserves the right to heal or not. As he sees fit, it's his prerogative. Being the sovereign God of our lives, he is the one who has all voting rights on our health. If he's pleased to bring us back from illness, we come back from illness. If he's pleased for us to die, we die. It is not his desire or his will that everyone be healed. Now, there are those who were very sincere, who believe otherwise. Johnny Erickson, as an older teenage young lady, took a dive off a barge in the Chesapeake Bay, struck bottom and broke her neck. And as a result, has been since that time, a quadriplegic, has a marvelous ministry to people who are disabled. Johnny and Friends, I don't know of a better ministry to the disabled. She tells the truth. And she's surrounded by many who are trying to keep her from believing the truth.
Listen to an account she tells in her book, A Place of Healing. It was a beautiful Sunday morning and services were over. I was wheeling across the church parking lot toward my van when a handsome young man who introduced himself as David, stopped me.
Are you Johnny? He asked. I smiled, nodding yes.
Oh, great, David exclaimed. I'm a visitor here and I was hoping I would run into you today. I've really been praying for you. My eyes got wide.
Really? What about your healing? I've been praying for you to get out of your wheelchair.
At that point, my spirit hesitated. David was a visitor. He came to a church. He came to church hoping to see me and he wanted to see me healed. I can't tell you how many people I've met over the years who've done the same thing.
In churches, on street corners, in convention centers and in busy shopping malls. Some of those encounters have been a little overwhelming, almost frightening. But on not on this day with this young man. Still, I had to fight off eerie feelings. Several times, years ago, a group of men showed up at our farmhouse door in Maryland, all having been led there by the Holy Spirit to either heal me or marry me. So perhaps you can understand my reticence.
This guy wasted no time getting down to business, launching into what sounded like a prepared speech. Have you ever considered that it might be sin standing in the way of your healing that you disobeyed in some way? Before I could answer, David flipped open his Bible, both of us still in the middle of the parking lot, and read from the Gospel of Luke. Quote, Some men came carrying a paralytic on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus.
When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd right in front of Jesus. Luke 5 18 to 19. He closed his Bible and reminded me that the paralyzed man in the story was healed. And I could be, too, if only I would but confess my sins and have faith to believe. He added, Johnny, there must be some sin in your life that you haven't dealt with yet. I told him that my conscience was clean before the Lord. He looked a little skeptical about that and reiterated that I always well and I reiterated I always welcome prayers from others. I thanked him for his concern, but I told him I didn't think this was a matter of faith. For David, that just didn't add up. Listen to those words.
Traditional thinking. It just didn't add up according to what he had been taught. If I was a Christian and if there was no known sin in my life and if I had the faith that God could heal, well, then. I would be healed. Didn't God want everyone healed? Didn't Jesus want everyone well? Johnny, you must have a lack of faith.
I mean, look at you. You're still in your wheelchair. I've always admired Johnny Erikson Tada for her patience. And her willingness to deal with and be kind toward those who were misinformed.
No one wants to be well more more than Johnny Erikson Tada. But that is not God's will for her as it relates to her quadriplegia. She's come to terms with it.
And her ministry is worldwide as she ministers to the disabled. Those who have lost hope. Those who wind up.
In a wheelchair for the rest of their lives. So what does God say? When you're determined to think biblically. We won't answer all the questions you have. We won't even answer most of them. But maybe some of them will be answered from James 5, 13 through 16. If you haven't already done so, please turn to that passage of scripture. And notice in a rather simple way there are three statements you can underscore. That will at least begin to open up the passage for you.
All three are questions. Have your pen ready? Look at verse 13. Are any of you suffering? I have that marked in my Bible.
I'll come back to it. A little later in the verse, the second you may mark. Are any of you cheerful? Or any of you happy?
Mark that. Drop down to verse 14 and you will read. Are any of you sick? Obviously that can't be the same as suffering or it would be redundant. So think. Think biblically. There must be a difference between the suffering in verse 13 and the sickness mentioned in 14 through 16.
And there is. So let's dig a little deeper. Track with me as we think theologically.
Think biblically. When we are suffering, verse 13 begins, the word is kakopatheo, a long Greek word that translates into English suffering. It's a broad word. It means some type of misfortune.
Stay with me. Normally it's not used of a physical illness, but it's used of emotional or mental or spiritual struggles. It is a reference to inner turmoil. Would include discouragement. Doubt. Anxiety.
That lingers. It could even include financial hardship. Worry over a lawsuit that you're involved in. It could include a relational conflict with someone you love or someone you've met. You maybe were once close.
You're not now. And the breakdown has you suffering. Troubled. Agitated. It's the picture of an inner struggle. You're enduring a troublesome situation. So.
What do you do? Look at the verse. If you want to think biblically, you will let the scriptures speak. And you will not read into them. You will let them speak to you.
Let's see what the scriptures answer is. Are any of you suffering? You should pray. Period. End of sentence. Now, that's a profound answer because prayer woven through the fabric of scripture is magnificent subject.
Magnificent. I could, in its broadest sense, assume that would include praying for endurance. Praying for insight. Praying for God to reveal how I might build a bridge back to one that I was close to, but it's now broken down.
How I might deal with this financial issue I'm wrestling with. How I might pray for encouragement, recovery from this dark doubt and anxiety that won't leave, maybe even borderline depression. And so I pray. When I'm going through times like this to be biblical, I'm to pray. And I'm to take that seriously. It's not a plaything.
It isn't a cliche. You should pray. Have that prayer on your heart, on your lips, in your mind regularly. Bombard the throne with your prayer.
Bring it up often. There's therapy and releasing the anxiety through prayer. And I don't know how that works. I just know that it does. There's wisdom in the answer. Time doesn't allow us to amplify further, but you get the picture. If you are troubled, the answer is to pray.
And that isn't a casting off of the concern. There's a deep compassion in the answer. Pray.
The question is, are you, have you, will you continue to? That's the biblical answer. And there are others as well, but for here, that's the answer.
Here's the second. When we're cheerful, it gets even more simple, doesn't it? When we're cheerful, this is the opposite of the affliction I just described.
This is the one who is not anxious, not suffering some kind of hardship or trial or affliction. It's a picture of being filled with praises. The kind of praise that comes over you when you hear magnificent music. Let there be praise. Let there be songs.
Let there be singing. Well, these are definitely contrarian responses to pain and suffering. And yet James assures us that following God's instruction will lead to peace and contentment. You're listening to Insight for Living.
To learn more about this ministry, we invite you to visit us online at insightworld.org. Well, Chuck Swindoll titled today's study, When God Heals Body and Soul. It's message number three in a brand new series from Chuck titled, Clinging to Hope. By the way, don't forget that Chuck wrote a book that runs parallel to this teaching series, and it's available for purchase right now. People often tell us how much they appreciate Chuck's writing style.
His approach to tough topics is authentic and convincing. And Chuck insists on staying true to what the Bible teaches and doesn't teach on the subject of hope. If you're looking to introduce a friend to Chuck's teaching, or maybe searching for a book that's suitable for your small group at church, this is the one. To purchase a copy of Clinging to Hope, follow the simple instructions at insight.org slash hope. Or call us, if you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888. Well, just before we sign off, all of us here at Insight for Living would like you to know we're asking God to use this study to infuse hope into your life and home. In that spirit, we're inviting you to join us in taking God's hope all across the country and even throughout the world through Vision 195. To give a donation today, go online to insight.org slash donate.
Or call us, if you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888. Don't forget this coming Sunday morning you're invited to take a front row seat in the worship center at Stonebriar Community Church. Thousands are taking advantage of this new weekend worship experience online. Not only as they hear Chuck's Bible teaching, but the magnificent music that will fill your heart and soul with praise.
You'll find all the instructions at insight.org slash Sundays. In March 2023, Insight for Living Ministries is hosting an unforgettable journey to Israel. Carefully plan to deepen your understanding of the Bible and draw you closer to God.
Here's Chuck Swindoll. For thousands of years, no place has been more meaningful to God's children than the land of Israel. The rugged landscape reminds us to find refuge in God alone. The fertile valleys invite us to follow our shepherd. Jerusalem's position at the very center of the world announces the good news of Christ to every nation. And now you can see Israel with Chuck Swindoll and Insight for Living Ministries, March 5th through the 16th, 2023. Every time I visited the Holy Land, I returned home with a refreshed heart for God and a renewed vision for the world.
Really, I mean it every time. And so I want you to have the same life-changing experience. To learn more, go to insight.org slash events or call this number 1-888-447-0444. Insight for Living Ministries Tour to Israel is paid for and made possible by only those who choose to attend. I'm Bill Meyer, inviting you to join us when Chuck describes what to do when your recovery takes far longer than you wished.
Monday on Insight for Living. The preceding message, When God Heals Body and Soul, was copyrighted in 2019 and 2022. And the sound recording was copyrighted in 2022 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
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