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  • Pastor Jim French

Is Sickness a Blessing From God? - Healing 102

Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security. (Jeremiah 33:6)

It's a sad really, but it is commonly taught in many churches that sickness, disease, and affliction are blessings from God. Beloved, nothing could be farther from the truth. Let's take a look at the Word of God and see what he says about sickness. Is sickness a blessing or a curse?

The definitive chapter on blessings and curses is Deuteronomy 28. In this chapter God speaks to the nation of Israel and tells them what will happen if they follow and obey him (blessings) and if they don't (curses). Among the blessings listed in the first 14 chapters are blessings:

Your towns and your fields will be blessed. Your children and your crops will be blessed. The offspring of your herds and flocks will be blessed. Your fruit baskets and breadboards will be blessed. Wherever you go and whatever you do, you will be blessed. (Deuteronomy 28:3-6)

The Lord continues describing blessings through verse 14 including conquering your enemies, prosperity, and blessings upon all they put their hands to. There is not a single verse in this passage where sickness is described as a blessing. Not one!

In verses 16 - 19 the Lord tells Israel what will happen if they do not obey him. They will be cursed in every way possible:

Your towns and your fields will be cursed. Your fruit baskets and breadboards will be cursed. Your children and your crops will be cursed. The offspring of your herds and flocks will be cursed. Wherever you go and whatever you do, you will be cursed.

The list of curses continues through the rest of the chapter, verses 20 - 65. Among the curses that God describes are:

Pestilence (v21), wasting disease, fever, and inflammation (v22), boils, tumors, scabs and itch, of which you cannot be healed (v27), madness and blindness and confusion of mind (v28), oppression (v29), extraordinary afflictions, afflictions severe and lasting, and sicknesses grievous and lasting (v59), all the diseases of Egypt (v60), Every sickness also and every affliction that is not recorded in the book of this law (v61).

Every one of the curses listed above is a sickness or a disease. God clearly says that sickness is not a blessing, but a curse. All sickness is a curse, not a blessing. There is no verse in Deuteronomy 28 where God says sickness is a blessing. As a matter of fact, there is no verse in the entire Bible that says that sickness is a blessing from God, however, there are plenty of verses (Deuteronomy 28 as an example) that say that sickness is a curse. There is not a single verse in the Bible that describes sickness as a blessing.

God is not in the cursing business, he is in the blessing business. Curses come from the evil one, not from God. God does not curse, he blesses. In the same chapter in Deuteronomy we read:

“But if you will not obey the voice of the LORD your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you." (Deuteronomy 28:15)

Notice that the text does not say that God will set the curses on his people, but the curses shall come upon them. If the Israelites rejected God he would honor their request and leave them, removing his hand of protection, and the enemy would come in and the consequences of the curse would come upon them, including sickness and disease. Clearly sickness is not a blessing from God.

I once attended the funeral of a wonderful, Godly woman who had suffered from polio most of her adult life. She was a truly remarkable woman, who never complained - I never once heard her speak about her fight against the illness. During her funeral the preacher spoke about how God had given this woman the disease in order to bless her. He said that she had been chosen by God to bear this affliction and because of this she was more blessed and holier than others.

You may have heard this taught - that the people whom have suffered the most in their lives are the most blessed by God. This, to be blunt, is a completely unBiblical teaching. You will not find this in the Bible. It is simply untrue. God is good. There is no part of sickness that is good.

Some people will tell you that they learned reliance upon the Lord during their illness. That may be true to a certain extent. God may use the illness to teach us something, but he is never, never, the cause. Never! Kynan Bridges writes, "The only lesson that I ever learned from sickness is that I don’t ever want to be sick again.” That is a really, really good point.

The same people that teach that it is God's will that you be sick will, in the next breath, tell you to go to the doctor. Think about it for a moment. If it is God's will that you be sick then going to the doctor to get well would be going against God's will. Every human being has an inherent desire to feel well and whole. I am convinced that this desire is a longing for every human being to live in God's original intent for us - the wholeness of Eden. If it were God's will that people be sick he would have introduced sickness into the Garden of Eden when he created Adam and Eve. But he did not. Sickness, disease, and death entered creation when Adam and Eve sinned and they were a consequence of the curse, not the blessing of God. Everything in God's original creation in the Garden was "good." If sickness were "good" then God would have created it and it would have been a part of the unfallen world. It was not.

What about the unbeliever? What do they think when they see a sick Christian who says that God made them sick to bless them? I seriously doubt that any unbeliever who thinks God gives sickness and disease would be drawn to God. Their reaction would be something like, "If your God makes you sick to bless you I want no part of him!" Health and wholeness and the goodness of God would be what draws them to him. Troy Edwards sums this up nicely:

"Non-Christians will see God as a monster that inflicts them or their loved ones for no understandable reason. Therefore, they will not see Him as worthy of serving. Who would want to serve such a tyrant? This ideology is the primary reason for atheism."

If we say that God is the giver of illness aren't we saying that God is a child abuser? Yet by saying that God gave so-and-so disease we are doing just that. What parent would give their child cancer to "teach them a lesson" or "mature them?" I'm sure that many well meaning pastors and preachers who teach this are sincere in their beliefs and desire to help people but sadly, this idea is neither Biblical nor logical. If God is truly a "Good, Good, Father" (which he is) then he is not the author of sickness.

Is There Sickness in Heaven?

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)

The Word says that in Heaven there will be, "no mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore." Sickness and disease, pain, sorrow, and suffering will be no more. Our God will comfort us and we will be filled with the joy of his presence (Psalm 16:11). Sickness does not bring joy. Rather it steals, kills and destroys (John 10:10a). That too should give us a clear understanding of the source of sickness and disease. If it steals kills and destroys it is from the devil. If it brings life, it is from God. Sickness and disease do not bring life.

But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9)

Heaven holds such joy and blessings beyond our ability to comprehend in this life. Sickness and disease are not a part of that. Charles Capps says, "Sickness couldn’t come from Heaven because there is no sickness in Heaven."

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. (Revelation 22:1-5)

That is what God has in store for us in eternity and that is what we pray to come to Earth. Every time we pray "Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven", we are proclaiming that which is in Heaven to be released upon the Earth. That includes health, healing, and wholeness. The Word makes it clear that sickness does not exist in Heaven.

What About the Man Born Blind in John, Chapter 9?

As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (John 9:1-5)

​ At first this passage seems to say that God caused this man to be born blind, so he could be glorified. Kynan Bridges points out the first flaw in this argument:

If God was responsible for the man’s blindness then it (the Word) would not say that the work of God should be made manifest because the blindness itself would have been a work of God.

Secondly, the whole idea that God would make someone sick to give himself glory is a violation of the nature of God. Would a good God do something as heinous as making someone blind to simply make himself look good?

​ Arguably the way this is translated makes this a difficult passage. In the original Greek, however, there is no punctuation; the translators add it for readability. But if you move the punctuation just a bit, the entire passage reads much differently. The Common New Testament translates this passage this way:

Jesus answered, "Neither this man sinned nor his parents sinned. But that the works of God might be revealed in him, we must work the works of him who sent me, while it is day. Night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." (John 9:3-5)

Just moving the punctuation in this passage significantly changes the meaning of the text. This makes the passage much more consistent with what the rest of the Bible says about the character of God as the giver of good, not evil. God cannot give what he does not have (evil) and he does not have sickness.

The Bible translators do a great job in their translations and conveying the message of the original text into English. However, it is important to remember that every translation has it's own theological bias. I do not say this to fault any translator, but to point out that each of us, myself included, approaches the Bible from their own belief system and that effects how we apply the Word to our lives. Many people love the King James Version of the Bible, but it was translated from a very "Calvinistic" point of view. It can be helpful to read several different translations (and the definition of the words in their original language) to get a clear picture of the text.

Does God Give Us Sickness to Correct or Discipline Us?

The Bible tells us that it is the Word of God that corrects us, not disease:

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, (2 Timothy 3:16.)

Our God is a creative God. Look at the wonders of creation: the trees, flowers, the intricacy of life, the beauty of the human body, and each of its functions. Certainly a God of such creativity could easily come up with a better way to correct or discipline someone then sending a devastating disease upon them. Would a perfect God who is the very definition of love, send cancer upon someone he loved? No.

If I ever encounter something that makes me question the basic foundation of the goodness of God there are 3 places I turn.

First, to the very basis of his nature - love. Is what I'm seeing or hearing or encountering coming from a foundation of love? If it isn't, it is not from him. If I see something in the Bible that makes me question his love, then I need to go to him and ask him what I'm seeing. No, it's not his nature that has changed. He's not bad in the Old Testament and good in the New. He never changes. The Bible is not wrong, I'm just not understanding, so I ask him for a deeper revelation of who he is.

Second, I look to the person of Jesus. When we see Jesus, we see the Father (John 14:9). Jesus and the Father are One (John 10:30). Jesus only did what he saw the Father doing (John 5:19). Jesus is the perfect representation of the Father (Hebrews 1:3).

Third, does it bless or curse? Does it bring life or death (John 10:10). If it's good it's from God. If is evil it's from satan.

God's love is so deep and so pure and so all-encompassing that he desires each of his children to be whole. There are many ways to receive healing from God and I believe that is because he is so passionate about us that he will use anything he can to see us whole. That is his nature, that is who he is: Lover, Friend, and Healer.

God Bless you!

Pastor Jim


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