Before I read our scripture, I want to tell you of something regarding it that happened in my home not long ago. There came to us a very noted man: a writer, a teacher, educated; he’d written a number of books and he also had an expensively equipped radio studio of his own.
I was so shocked when I saw him, for it had been some years since I had seen him last and he’d had a number of strokes. He walked with much difficulty—mincing little steps, and so unsteady. He could hardly speak, and his wife had to do most of the talking for him.
She explained his condition and said that they had felt impressed to come and ask us to unite in prayer with them regarding his pitiful condition. But after this man had gone, someone who just happened to call on us that day made this remark: “What do you suppose such a great man ever did for God to put that thing on him?”
Now don’t you think that that’s an unusual judgment of such a case? For I find it rather the usual thing in my experience that people will always wonder what sin the person had committed, what wrong they had done that brought such-and-such an affliction or such a punishment on them.
Just last week I received a letter with this comment: “I do hope”—and it mentioned such-and-such a brother—”that he shall live on. It is hard to understand, isn’t it? I just keep asking God why such a thing could happen to him. Why, he even taught the faith life and he believed even definitely that God heals today. I know I shouldn’t doubt God’s dealings, and I don’t as a rule, but one can’t help wondering whatever it was in his past or what happened to him to bring that on him.”
You know, the answer to some of this is found in John chapter 9. I will read just a few words of it.
“Jesus passed by and he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, ‘Master, who did sin, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ And Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of him that sent me while it is day; the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (John 9:1–6) And then you all know the rest of the story. Please read it: the ninth chapter of John.
It is a wonderfully interesting and thrilling story of how God healed this young man and how he testified so to this healing and how fearless he was before those of the Pharisees about his healing. But Jesus said, “Neither did he sin”—did this man sin—“or his parents, that he was born blind.”
You know, we seem to forget that the greatest saints have been those who have been purified in the furnace of affliction and that such afflictions have been God’s mark of great love upon them. For again we can repeat, “Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” (Hebrews 12:6) That’s over there in Hebrews. I wish we had time to read that wonderful passage in the twelfth chapter of Hebrews.
We forget that little word “afterward” in the 11th verse, that “afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness.” It is the “afterward” that God is interested in. And afterward, many times after God has dealt, there is a great, wonderful deliverance. Sometimes God has taken such ones home and there hasn’t been the kind of deliverance that has been asked for, but there is always a wonderful “afterward,” because God said so: that it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness.
It is the mark of love upon these, because “Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth,” and we just seem to forget that. None of this changes my faith in God’s healing, my utter faith in His promises for the healing of the body, and I don’t care what folks think about it! I know that God does that today because I had the experience, and anyone that has the real experience, you can’t tell them otherwise. I stand on the Word alone. None of these things can change the promises of God one iota. If you go to looking at other people, it’s going to change you; it doesn’t change the Word.
The Word of God means just what it says, and God’s dealings with someone else must not affect one little bit your faith in those promises or change your stand of faith! God’s dealings, I say, are past finding out. Our puny little minds can’t comprehend what God is working out. His ways seem to be strange and we’d best not ask why or try to reason out what He is doing with others.
Getting your eyes on God’s dealing in others’ lives and making that a gauge for your faith—that will soon shatter your own faith. Keep your eyes right on the wonderful Lord Jesus Christ and His wonderful works: your mind fixed on Him. Oh, how your faith will be anchored! Go back again and again to God’s Word. Those promises are unchanging and they are for you.
God deals so differently with each one and He has something different individually for you. Keep your eyes off of the others. Fix them on Him. He’s the Savior of your soul, the unchanging one. You can utterly depend upon every word for every need of your body, soul, and spirit. Hear Him say to you like He did to Peter, “What is that to thee; follow thou me.” (John 21:22) He knew that to truly follow Him meant there would be no doubting whys, no doubting questions. To follow Him has been truly joy unspeakable and full of glory! (1 Peter 1:8) I repeat over and over again: He can change your life!
He can do such wonderful things for you if you live in His Word and give Him time in meditation. He’s the Son of the living God and the Savior of your soul. He has wonderful things to say to your heart if you will only give Him a chance to whisper sweet secrets to you and to reveal truths to you. He is real! I have found that the promises in that Bible can be taken at their face value. I have said that many times, haven’t I?
I say it again to your needy heart, that He is the creator of the universe, the mighty God, and He stands behind His precious Word with His love, His mercy, His truth, His power. He will not fail you! Give Him a chance. You will find that believing prayer will change things and that God is still on the throne.
His hand is on the helm of this universe. Look up in trust.