In The Hospital, Part 2
Last time we finished looking at the psalm of Moses when he was dying. He talks about dying under God’s groan and under the discipline that God has put in his life. We have a greater covenant and a greater hope in Jesus Christ and today we want to press into that a little bit.
Let’s go to Psalm 107:17. You first have to listen to “In the Hospital, Part 1,” before you’re ready for part 2. We have to admit that we’re sick and we need help and that we need His grace.
Psalm 107:17 – Some became fools through their rebellious ways and suffered affliction because of their iniquities.
Anytime someone is in the hospital because of sickness, they need to come humbly before the Lord. Indeed most people need to cry out to God to find out why they’re there and what they need to repent of and how they can better live for His glory.
Psalm 107:18-19 – They loathed all food and drew near the gates of death. Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble…
If we can get men to cry out, they’ll discover His grace and His mercy. If we would go into hospitals and not offer people vain hope and promises of getting better, if we could get the doctor to be quiet about curing them and making them well, if we’d let them reach a point where they’ve drawn near the gates of death and then cried out to the Lord, they would discover mercy. But there are plenty of false prophets and teachers and people that think they’re doing good by other people going in and telling them that everything will be fine and that they should be full of hope.
Psalms 107:19-20 – Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.
Men do not discover those things or experience those things because the world floods in when somebody is sick or when they go to the hospital. They get little books of promises that tell them to have all kinds of hope. I don’t know of any Christian book right now that talks about the judgment that comes that you can give to somebody that’s in the hospital. Promises of God’s righteousness and mercy somehow get mixed into all of that. It’s always giving everybody and anybody you talk to all kinds of hope and things for the future that may not be theirs.
Psalms 107:21-22 – Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men. Let them sacrifice thank offerings and tell of his works with songs of joy.
It’s fitting that when a man has been disciplined, when he has gotten close to death, when God has come down hard upon him and brought the rod, when God has healed him and made him well, that he should sing and speak of God’s grace and mercy. There are so many people singing of God’s mercy and grace, but they’ve never let the rod strike them to show them their sin and what they need to repent of.
I want to read from a man who was dying, these are his last words. His name was William Titaff and he was a strict Baptist and he died full of glory and he said this:
“What a mercy. My last moments are my best. Thy love is better than wine. Praise God. Praise God. Grace shall have all the praise. Let them sing of His grace, let them sing of His mercy.”
One of the reasons we’re looking at sickness and dying and death and all of those things is to prepare ourselves for what? When we die we can be singing and speaking of His grace that sanctifies and purifies and delivers us into His arms.
Look at Hebrews 3:3. Because again, we have a greater covenant than Moses, a greater hope, it says that we can go boldly in before the throne of grace and find help in our time of need.
Hebrews 3:3 – Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses…
So we don’t end with the old law, we don’t just end with Moses, we press on beyond that.
Hebrews 3:3 – …just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself.
So our hope when it comes to the time we die or we go into the hospital or are sick, should be one of the greatest of hopes if we’ve lived and given everything to Jesus Christ in every way.
Again, let me read of one man who died, and he wrote the hymn “Rock of Ages.” His name was Augustus M. Toplady and he said this as he died:
“No man, no mortal man can live after the glories which God has manifest to my soul.”
Moses died on the mountain where God hid his body and took him up there. He died looking at the Promised Land, he couldn’t go in. But as we die in Jesus Christ, some of us may be blessed to see the glories that are ahead of us and we may see the Promised Land before us. But we want to pray and live in such a way that when we die and when other people die, that they’re beholding the glories of God and the glories of Christ and the mercy that He will give.
Let’s go to Matthew 4:23. One of the things we saw last week was that people suffer under the care of many doctors. Scripture says that. As I said last week, every hospital should have that above their sign that people will spend all they have and suffer under the care of many doctors. But when Jesus heals, He heals the complete man. He just doesn’t heal the physical elements that he has; He seeks to heal our soul to make us completely well. So much of what is preached today and declared today is what? A message that only speaks to the flesh of a man, not to the soul.
Matthew 4:23 – Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.
Today there’s a lot of preaching about healing and miracles and those kinds of things, but not very much teaching as far as the commandments of God. When Jesus set out, what did He begin to do? He taught first in the synagogues, then He went off declaring the requirements of the kingdom and what it means to follow Him and be a disciple, then He went about healing everybody of their sicknesses. Verse 24 says;
Matthew 4:24 – News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases…
When Jesus heals, He heals completely and He touches all of a man, or He seeks to do so.
Matthew 4:24 – …those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them.
You go to a doctor and it’s but a vain hope. They give you pills and medication, they give you things that dope you down, they give you vain hope for a better tomorrow. But not so with Jesus Christ. A man who cries out to the Lord in His distress, a man who’s touched by His grace and mercy, whether He’s healed physically or not, will have something to sing about and glories to behold.
Let’s go to Matthew 8:16.
Matthew 8:16-17 – When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases.”
There are many churches that even preach and teach that Jesus doesn’t work those kinds of miracles any more. They don’t believe that He heals the sick and He raises the dead. Of course they never see those things and they always want to prove to them that He’s a God who’s alive and He does these things. It is part of the gospel and part of the kingdom. It’s foolish to think that Jesus Christ would just go about healing our sins and forgiving us our sins, but not dealing with or caring for the whole body. I’m not telling you that we’re always going to be well or always going to be healthy, we’ll see that here in a moment, but the point is that when Jesus Christ seeks to deal with a man, He will make him thoroughly cleaned and thoroughly purified and made holy. In John 21:25, it says this:
John 21:25 – Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.
Jesus Christ is a man of power, He is God, He is full of holiness, He is righteous, He walks among us, He seeks to heal, He takes off our infirmities, our sins, and our sicknesses and all of those things. In order for a man to be made well if it’s God’s will for him to be healed miraculously or to be delivered into His arms, he must admit he’s sick.
Go to Matthew 9:12 and while you’re turning there, I want to read you another story. Louis XV. This is how he died and this is who he was.
“History speaks of this Louis as the most sensual and depraved of all French monarchs. Vice in manifold forms had entered into the depravity of his unlicensed pleasures.”
Yet as this one died, he tried to varnish his sinful life. This is what he says before he dies,
“I have been a great sinner, doubtless, but I have ever observed Lent, and with the most scrupulous exactness I have caused more than 100,000 masses to be said for the repose of unhappy souls. So that I flatter myself, I have not been a very bad Christian.”
We have to first admit that we’re ill and sick, and when we go into a hospital or when we’re ill at home, we should first come before the Lord humbly and meekly asking God what He is trying to show us, what is He trying to teach us? He might come and say, “It’s no fault of your own that you have this illness and sickness.” We’re not saying that every time somebody is sick that they’re in sin, but that shouldn’t surprise us.
If God were to come to us and say, “Oh, it’s no sin that you’ve committed, you’re just sick so that I might glorify my name or it’s the common destiny of all men, or it’s the general discipline because of the Garden of Eden and the fall that is there,” that should surprise us.
Matthew 9:12 – On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.”
A man must admit that he is sick. He must look at his body and how it falls apart and see how it becomes ill and fragile. If a man is in the hospital and he thinks he’s going to get better or he’s not that bad of a person or he hasn’t lived that bad of a life, Jesus Christ can do nothing for him. When Charles Darwin, as you know, who invented the evolutionary theory died, he said, “I’m not the least afraid to die.” Jesus Christ could not speak to him, could not talk to him, could say nothing to him of life because he’s not sick. Jesus Christ came, to who? The sick. The healthy or those who think they’re healthy don’t even go to a doctor. How sad it is that many people in the hospital are lying there in their sickbed thinking they don’t need a spiritual doctor, that they don’t need Jesus Christ.
Matthew 9:13 – But go and learn what this means: “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.
If you expect to hear mercy, if you expect to be accepted, then you have to admit that you’re in need. When I get a cold or when I’m sick, I hope to come before the Lord in humility and say, “Lord, what are you trying to teach me? How are you trying to discipline me? What are you trying to show me?” Not to be so vain and empty-headed that I think I’m a good Christian and everything is fine. God is trying to discipline us and to get our attention.
One man that I know of that was dying, I read of his account and he was a pastor, he was a preacher and he was a teacher and yet, when he was dying, he said this,
“He turned to Satan and said, ‘Why are you here thou cruel beast?’”
He didn’t behold Jesus Christ as he died, he beheld Satan. It wasn’t future glories that he was seeing, he was seeing Satan at his door. I don’t know anything about his wife or if things went wrong or if God was working something beyond what I can see, but Jesus Christ has come to call the sick.
Jesus Christ didn’t die for your excuses, He didn’t die for your mistakes, He didn’t die for your misunderstandings, He died because you’re a sinner. Sickness and death are a result of those things in our life. They’re a result of sin, they didn’t fall in the Garden of Eden because they made a mistake or there was a misunderstanding in communication or they were “doing the best that they could.” They were sinners and driven out. So in the same way everybody that’s in the hospital, we should first sit down with them and say, “Why are you here?” Why has God placed you in this position? What is He trying to get you to do? To cry out, to have faith, to repent? You need to seek him with all your heart.
Let’s go to Matthew 20:30. Those who are in the hospital, if they expect to cry out to God, should be prepared to follow Jesus Christ, if He should make them better. By the way, nobody should enter the hospital thinking they are going to only be there a day or two and be able to go home. Our life is so fragile, that if we have to go into the hospital, we’re one step closer to death. That should waken us, no matter what it’s for.
Matthew 20:30 – Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted…
They’re doing what Psalms said, they’re crying out.
Matthew 20:30 – Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!
They’re crying out in their distress.
Matthew 20:31 – The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”
There’s always a whole host of people telling you to be quiet and not to cry out. Those at home sick, or those in the hospital need to continue to shout all the louder as other people tell you to be more sensible, more reasonable, to be quiet.
Matthew 20:32-33 – Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked. “Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.”
Look what happens when they are made well, when they’re able to see. It says;
Matthew 20:34 – Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes…
But it doesn’t end there and it doesn’t stop there. I know a lot of stories of a lot of individuals who’ve been made well or who’ve certainly just come out of the hospital whether miraculously or in the normal course of the way men become well and they don’t follow Jesus Christ. They go about their business. Look at what it says here;
Matthew 20:34 – Immediately they received their sight and followed him.
They began to go where Jesus went. They began to listen to the words that He taught and they took those things deep into their hearts and they probably lived a life that was holy and righteous as they followed Him.
Anyone that prays for healing, anyone that hopes that their loved ones will be made well, then they must have the hope that has this in mind, that when they rise out of that bed, when they are made well, that they will be more obedient to Jesus Christ than when they went into bed. Hoping they will be more obedient and follow Jesus Christ in everything, more than before they became sick. So they must be prepared to follow Jesus. The King of France, Philip III said this as he died;
“What an account I shall have to give to God. How I should have liked to live otherwise than I lived.”
Men need to keep in mind that if they are being made well and if we pray for their healing, then we must tell them and warn them and encourage them to be more obedient to Jesus Christ.
In Mark 1:29 we see another incident where Jesus Christ makes someone well and look at what happens. This woman has a fever but she just doesn’t take it upon herself to go about her business and do what she wants to do. It turns into a love that willingly gives over to love Jesus Christ.
Mark 1:29-30 – As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told Jesus about her.
She doesn’t even come to Jesus Christ, she isn’t even asking him to come into the other room. Look what happens in verse 31;
Mark 1:31 – So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up.
No large dramatic show, nothing on T.V., no dancing up and down or anything like that. He just goes in, touches her and lifts her up and she’s made well. It says,
Mark 1:31 – The fever left her…
And what does it say she began to do? It says;
Mark 1:31 – …she began to wait on them.
She began to serve Jesus Christ. She began to serve the disciples. She didn’t take it for her own advantage. She didn’t get puffed up in the fact that she was made well. In humility, without being told to do so, what did she begin to do? She began to wait upon Jesus Christ and His disciples.
So, if you’re praying with somebody who is sick, if you go visit them in the hospital, you know pastors are required to do that kind of thing. Jesus Christ didn’t always show up in time to the hospital. When they wanted Him to go visit Lazarus, He waited until he was dead, He was kind of late on the matter. Jesus was not a very good pastor in terms of those things. Doesn’t look good on your resume. But she was made well. When she got up what did she begin to do? Wait on them and serve them. We need to tell other people they need to rise from their grave, they need to get up out of their bed and they need to begin to wait upon others.
In Matthew 11:20, Jesus Christ began to denounce most of the cities in which He did His miracles because they would not repent. It says very clearly then, “Then Jesus began to denounce the cities…” If you pray for somebody to be made well, and they are made well, but they do not repent and they do not wait upon Jesus Christ, or fall in love with Him, and they go back to the world, go back to them as the Holy Spirit leads you and denounce them. You tell them you regret praying for them, that you wish you would have never laid over their bed or prayed for them or wept for them in the prayer closet because they refused to repent and name them by name before God and before themselves. This is exactly what Jesus Christ did.
Matthew 11:20 – Then Jesus began to denounce the cities in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent.
When was the last time we saw this done by a pastor or any member of our church, that went back and denounced someone they prayed for? If they’re made well, if it looks like there’s been a miracle that’s been done, we tout them, we hold them up, we count ourselves blessed that God heard our prayers. But Jesus Christ will denounce anyone who participates in His healings and His mercy and His grace and does not repent.
Somebody asks you to pray for them to be made well. Say, “I’ll pray for you, but if you don’t repent, I’ll come back and I will denounce you. Are you sure you want me to pray for you?”
I’m going to read about another man who died. I can’t fully pronounce His name. His name was Jean. He was an Italian musical composer. He was a special favorite of Louis XIV of France and at the close of his life, conscious of the ungodliness of the past, he died with a halter around his neck as a sign of repentance for his sins, and singing with tears of remorse and agony, “Sinner, thou must die.”
That’s a man pleasing unto God. That’s a man repenting of his sins. How little we see anything even close to this today. People preach such a wide-road gospel call, they make it easy for men to have salvation. They raise their hand and asked Jesus in their heart and it’s over with. Very seldom, have you ever walked into a hospital and heard anyone weeping and singing down the hallway, “Sinner, thou must die?” They’d put him down on the psych ward if he began to do that. You don’t find the remorse, you don’t find the weeping, you don’t find the crying out. Remember in Psalms, it says they cried out in their distress and the Lord answered. They didn’t raise their hand saying, “Anybody want salvation today? Anyone want to be made well?” They cried out with all of their hearts to God. They knew they needed to repent.
There was another man who died, Mr. Maddox. He saw his heart for what it was and he said this—these are his last words as he died.
“If my life were to be spared, which it cannot, might not the same thoughts and the same desires return as my strength returns. Would not the same companions get about me as before and ridicule my past fears and my present temperance and laugh me again into my former vices? I have too long been unused to all goodness. Every act of it would be strange and uneasy to me, that God will pardon and reward such a temper as mine. I cannot hope it. I am lost forever.”
He didn’t receive the mercies and the grace of life that caused him to repent and he dies without hope.
The third thing a man must have if he’s in the hospital is faith. Look at Mark 6:5. We’re so enthralled with our medical technology and what man is able to do. We really do worship the work of our hands, especially those of us in America where we are kind of insulated from everything and if a disease breaks out we just throw money into it. We put our faith into governments, we put our faith in doctors, but not in Jesus Christ. Mark 6:5 says,
Mark 6:5 – He could not do any miracles there…
Jesus Christ entered a town and He couldn’t do any miracles. A lot of times when I preach or state the fact that I believe that Jesus Christ can do miracles, they always want me to prove it or point to one. Some of you can’t do it, you don’t have the faith for it to happen.
Mark 6:5 – He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them.
Then it will tell us that Jesus Christ was amazed, not in a good way, but He was amazed. Mark 6:6 says;
Mark 6:6 – And he was amazed at their lack of faith…
To think of God walking along shaking His head back and forth saying, “I cannot believe how little faith they have.”
Mark 6:6 – And he was amazed at their lack of faith. Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village.
It’s not really faith that’s being lifted up anymore or true repentance in Jesus Christ. There’s a kind of vague hope in man that God somehow will touch a life and when push comes to shove, you can see what men put their trust in; they put it in medical science and doctors and in their health insurance.
Matthew 9:18 gives us a little glimpse of what is really happening around us. A lot of noise, a lot of confusion, a lot of entertainment, a lot of dancing up and down, saying, “Miracles,” but it’s not the miracles of Jesus Christ.
Matthew 9:18 – While he was saying this, a ruler came and knelt before him and said, “My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.”
He cries out in his distress. She’s even at the point of death. But, he’s still crying out to God, still pushing His way forward, still looking for Jesus Christ.
Matthew 9:19-22 – Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples. Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed from that moment.
I’ve read stories of missionaries over in other lands far away from all of our medical science and our logic. Basically they say that we in the West are fools; that miracles happen all the time over there because nobody else is taking care of them but God alone.
Matthew 9:23 – When Jesus entered the ruler’s house and saw the flute players and the noisy crowd,
The kind of miracles that are of Jesus Christ are very quiet. You put the crowds out, you get rid of the noise, you get rid of the dancing up and down, you get rid of all the fanfare. You certainly get rid of what is on TV that is touted as a miracle event.
I want to read it again.
Matthew 9:23 – When Jesus entered the ruler’s house and saw the flute players and the noisy crowd,
Get rid of the noise in your heart that doubts. Get rid of the noise that would work itself up to have some faith. You’ve heard me tell the story of some people that I talked to that got together to believe and trust God for healing and they all had glasses. They were probably older, a little more my age. They took their glasses and put them in a pile in the center of the room and they all prayed for healing and to step out in faith they all stomped on the glasses and tore them up and broke them so they couldn’t see clearly to drive home. It didn’t work and when I suggested to them they had some things to learn, they said, “Oh no, it was still a step of faith.” They refused to humble themselves to be taught.
Matthew 9:24 – he said, “Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him.
There are a lot of men laughing at the grace and power of God. Let us not be one of those.
Matthew 9:25-26 – After the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took the girl by the hand, and she got up. News of this spread through all that region.
If a man is to pray on his deathbed, if he’s to pray on his sickbed, then he should have faith; he should cry out to God. And a man who doesn’t have faith, who’s not seeking to get that kind of faith, should not expect anything from Jesus Christ. You can’t put God to the test; you can’t just box Him in. You need to cry out to Him because you’re a sinner in need of grace, or don’t bother crying at all.
Number four, let’s go to James 5:13. I speak more to Christians here than I do to those in the world. If you’re sick, James will tell us to call the elders together that are in the church. There are churches for whom the elders don’t even believe in miraculous things anymore, what would be the point of calling them together to pray? Verse 13;
James 5:13 – Is any one of you in trouble?
I love James’ life; the whole book of James is so practical. It’s no wonder down through the ages people want to get rid of it. It’s very practical and to the point.
He says, “Is any one of you in trouble?” What should he do?
James 5:13 – He should pray.
Not fret or worry—pray.
James 5:13 – Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise.
It’s a wonder we have to be told these things. Verse 14 says this;
James 5:14 – Is any one of you sick?
What should he do? What’s the plan? What’s the first course of action—run to the doctor, weep and wail and moan, get out the Nyquil and drink it?
James 5:14 – Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.
We have directions from God that are very clear.
James 5:15 – And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well…
We’d do well to meditate on that passage and ask if we really believe it. That’s a pretty bold statement James, what does that mean? That if we call the elders together when we are sick and they anoint us in the name of the Lord and if the prayer is offered in faith, we will be made well? I wonder if Jesus Christ is amazed at us because we have faith or we don’t have faith. It says;
James 5:15 – …the Lord will raise him up.
But he ventures into the last part of verse 15;
James 5:15 – If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.
James says, examine and look in your life and see if you’re sick because of sin.
James 5:16 – Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed…
Again, I’m not saying that every sickness that you have is the result of a direct sin that you committed. I will say this, every sickness, every cold, every flu, every sinus thing, every back condition we have is a result of sin. That’s because of the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. It’s a form of discipline, to wake us up. It’s God reminding us that we’re frail and that we’ll soon stand before Him.
But there are those times that we sin and God permits sickness into our life to discipline us. James is telling us that if we are sick and we find ourselves in that position, we should look for sin and see if it is there and if it is there we should confess those sins and pray for one another so that we might be healed. Then it says;
James 5:16 – The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
God gives us directions and it’s not to run to the doctors and the medication, but to run to Him. I’m not saying that doctors are evil or hospitals are evil, but that’s not the first place we’re ever to run to.
Let’s go to 1 Corinthians 11:29. In a lot of churches, 1 Corinthians 11:29 doesn’t happen because it’s not really the Lord’s Supper they take. They blaspheme maybe when they take some grape juice and bread, but it’s not really the Lord’s Supper that they take.
1 Corinthians 11:29 – For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself.
So if we sin, we can become sick. Verse 30 says this, “That is why many…” It doesn’t say a few; it doesn’t say there are one or two examples in this church. What does it say?
1 Corinthians 11:29 – That is why many among you are weak…
So when you just don’t feel quite well, just kind of moping around, you can’t really get up and do anything, it may be because of some sin. You’re not recognizing the Lord’s body for its holiness, for its righteous requirements, for its self-discipline, for its purity, for the needs of somebody else, or anything that sin can be. And Paul says,
1 Corinthians 11:30 – That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.
This passage is dead in most places simply because it is not the Lord’s Supper they take. We can literally have some people die in this body because they don’t take the Lord’s Supper in a proper way.
But God doesn’t leave us without remedy. We should call the elders together. If we don’t have elders, then we can pray for one another. We can confess our sins to one another. We can walk in the light and we can pray to be healed physically and spiritually.
1 Corinthians 11:31-32 – But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.
It’s all love, it’s all mercy. When God slams me and puts me in the hospital and pours sickness upon me because of some sin that I’ve committed, isn’t that discipline? Isn’t it love? Isn’t it grace? Isn’t it mercy? If in my dying moments I’m wracked with pain, there are those who’ve died thanking God for those pains because they know it’s an act of the deepest love and mercy.
I want to read a little bit of a long story here from Corrie ten Boom who experienced this firsthand. I’m reading these quotes from other people so that you know these things are very, very real. It says this,
“Because of a severe storm, planes were not flying. I had to travel by train. Arriving at Haarlem, I started toward the phone near the station to call the house where I was going to stay. But on the way to the phone-booth I slipped on the wet pavement. Before I knew it, I was sprawled on the street. A sharp pain shot through my hip and I was unable to stand. ‘Oh Lord’ I prayed, ‘lay Your hand on my hip and take away this horrible pain.’ Immediately the pain disappeared but I was still unable to get up. Kind people assisted me to a taxi where a policeman asked me if he could help. Now an X-ray had showed my hip was not broken, only badly bruised. The doctor said I would have to remain in bed for several weeks for it to heal. I was taken to a clinic where I was put in a bed and unable to move or to turn over without the help of a nurse. I was a very impatient patient. I had only five days to get to a student conference in Germany. As the days slipped by and I realized my hip was not healing fast enough to make the conference, I grew irritable.”
She was in a hurry. She was playing Martha. God had to break or bruise her hip to slow her down. She says this;
“I grew very irritable. Is there not a Christian in all Haarlem who can pray for me to be healed? My friend sent for a particular minister in the city who was known to have laid hands on sick people for healing. That same afternoon he came to my room and this is the question that he asked.”
One reason I wanted to read this story is to show just how rare you find this question asked today.
“He asked, standing beside my bed, ‘Is there any unconfessed sin in your life?’ What an odd question, I thought. I understood he had agreed to come and pray for my healing, but was it his job to get so personal about my sins and attitudes?”
Most of that we can relate to.
“However, I did not have to look far. My impatience and demanding attitude which I had displayed toward my nurse had been wrong, very wrong. I asked her to come to my room and I repented of my sins, asking both her and God to forgive me. Satisfied, this gentle man then reached over and laid his hands on my head. As this tall, handsome man laid his hands on my head and prayed, I felt a great stream of power flowing through me. Such great joy, the mourning left and I wanted to sing with David. ‘Thou hast turned my mourning into dancing; Thou hast put off my sackcloth and girded me with gladness.’ I felt the presence of the Lord Jesus all around me and felt He was flowing through me and over me as if I were immersed in an ocean of grace. My joy became so intense that I finally prayed, ‘No more Lord, no more.’“
How many of us have asked God for “no more?” How little we confess our sins, how slow we are to call the elders. How easily we endure and hold on to what we have to go through. How easily we hold on to our sins.
“My heart felt it was about to burst, so great was the joy. I knew it was the wonderful experience promised by Jesus, the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I looked at the man who had prayed with me and I asked, ‘Can I walk?’ He smiled, ‘I don’t know. All I know is that you asked for a cupful and God gave you an ocean.’ Ten days later I was on my way to Germany—late, but still filled with joy overflowing. Only after I arrived did I realize why God chose this particular time to fill me with His Holy Spirit, for in Germany for the first time, I came face to face with many people who were demonized. Had I gone in my own power, I would have been consumed. Now going in the power of the Holy Spirit, God was able to work much deliverance through me as we commanded demons to be cast out in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
She had to be bruised in order to walk more humbly with Him. When we’re sick, when we’re in the hospital, let’s not turn on the TV and ignore our pain, let’s not ask for the pain relievers first and all the medications that will make us better. Let’s run to Him, let’s call for the elders, if there’s no elders, call for a pastor, if there’s no pastor, then pray for one another and let us confess our sins to one another.
Number five – take your medication and seek the Lord. Go to Colossians 4:14. By no means are doctors evil. I’ve known certain groups that are like that. Paul writes about Luke and he says this.
Colossians 4:14 – Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings.
That’s all I’m going to read there at that point because the whole point of this is, Paul refers to him as what? Our dear friend, the doctor. If doctors were evil, if doctors were vile, if we were just supposed to have faith, he wouldn’t have tacked that on there, they’d have been a bad thing. It would have been like saying, “Our dear friend Luke, the drunkard, sends his greetings.” But “it’s our dear friend Luke.” God allows doctors to explore how the body works in order to make us well, but that’s not where our faith should be. It’s not where our trust should be.
In 1 Timothy 5:23, it tells us to take our medication.
1 Timothy 5:23 – Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.
So go to the doctor. Don’t put your faith in them. You’d be a fool anyway to do that, but you go to the doctor and if he tells you to take your medication, you take your medication. You obey what God chooses to work and how He chooses to work in your life.
Go to 2 Corinthians 12:7. But in the same way you also take God’s medicine. You may not be made well. In fact, you may only get worse. The sickness or pain may linger. Those of you that might have the gift of healing, those of you might have that kind of wisdom, must learn there may be illnesses that remain. Indeed there may be illnesses that are our ultimate blessing, that is, we die and get to go home, so I don’t want to be made well, you better not come into my room.
2 Corinthians 12:7 – To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh…
I’m not going to get into a long-winded debate and try and dance around this thing; it says a thorn in his flesh. “…A messenger of Satan, to torment me.” I believe it’s an illness. Hold your finger there in Corinthians and look at Galatians 4:13. So when God gives you the medicine of an illness or if He sends a demon to torment you and will not remove it, you learn to rejoice in that.
Galatians 4:13 – As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you.
Now that’s unheard of, that’s almost blasphemy in a lot of circles. I became ill, I became sick and that gave me the opportunity to preach the gospel to you. I’m sure while Corrie ten Boom lay in that hospital bed she was talking to the other people in the bed next to her.
Galatians 4:14 – Even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn.
I mean, in some circles, if you’re sick or if you’re ill, you’re looked down upon because you don’t have enough faith. Indeed, I may be made sick, I may be ill, and it would all be of faith and I embrace it as it is, a gift from God.
Galatians 4:14 – Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself.
All in the relationship of an illness. So we’re going to avoid all kinds of extremes here, aren’t we? The next time somebody sneezes, I don’t want you to turn to them and go, “Well, how did you sin?” Don’t tell them to go fast and pray and repent of whatever it is they need to repent of. Nor are we going to say that when we’re sick we’re not in sin.
Galatians 4:15 – What has happened to all your joy? I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me.
We can’t say exactly for sure, but it seems as if Paul had a thorn in the flesh that might have affected his eyes. People that have been blinded by great lights often have problems from light because the eyes continue to ooze all kinds of water. They’re always affected, they’re always irritated, they can never rest. There’s kind of a drainage that sets in. Paul was blinded on the Damascus road and God may have left it as a reminder of his sin and how he opposed Him. I don’t know. But I do know this;
2 Corinthians 12:8 – Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.
Three times he asked the Lord to remove the thorn in the flesh, to remove the messenger of Satan.
2 Corinthians 12:9 – But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast…
When you get a sickness, God gives you the sickness and you know why you have the sickness, you’re being disciplined because of it or it’s just working for His glory. Start boasting about it! Now when’s the last time that was ever advertised at a miracle revival meeting? I have a sickness, I sought the Lord on that sickness, but praise God, He didn’t take it away. In fact He sent on demons to bring it on as a messenger of Satan.
2 Corinthians 12:9 – Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
May we die full of that kind of confidence. May we hear from His Holy Spirit how we are to die and how we are to be sick.
An Edward Payson in 1827 said this as he was dying. When his last agony came, when the pains were wracking him, he said this;
“These are God’s arrows, but they are sharpened with love.”
That’s a man who knew His grace. That’s a man who can say with Paul, “I rejoice in my weakness.”
Another man named William in 1708, who was a learned, devout English bishop, said this;
“At his end, memory failed him; so much so that his dear wife and the closest of friends he couldn’t recognize. They’d bring his wife in and say, ‘Who’s this?’ He’d say, ‘I have no clue.’ Yet when asked, ‘Do you know Jesus?’”
His final words were this;
“Oh yes, I’ve known Him these forty years, precious Savior, He is my only hope.”
When it comes to sickness, when it comes to praying to be made well, let us always be able to remember that He is indeed precious.
Let’s go ahead and pray.
Father, we pray that many people will come to know Your grace and Your mercy. Those that are sick, those that are ill, those that You’re bringing to the brink of death, will wake up Father and give themselves to You fully, completely, in the greatest of joy, not for selfish motives or any selfish reason, but just fall in love with You. In this body Father, I pray that we do confess our sins to one another and pray for one another so that we might be healed, not just so that we might be made well, Father, but that Your name might be glorified. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
This transcription has been edited to a reader friendly format. Every effort has been made to be true to the speaker’s original message. Any mistranslations are unintentional.