13 Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone cheerful? He should sing praises. 14 Is anyone among you sick? He should call for the elders of the church, and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 The prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up; if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect. 17 Elijah was a human being as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the land. 18 Then he prayed again, and the sky gave rain and the land produced its fruit. (James 5:13-17, CSB)
When my dad was sick, at times I thought, if we just pray with enough faith he will be healed of ALS. God could have instantly healed my dad physically but He chose not to on this side of heaven. This was the beginning of God opening up my spiritual eyes to what it means to have faith and what it means to be really be healed.
I thought praying in faith meant putting forth as much hope and belief as I could muster up into my solution to a problem. If I could muster up enough faith then maybe God would answer. God wasn’t limited to just physical healing and He certainly wasn’t limited by my short-sightedness.
There were many ways God brought healing. My dad had struggled with depression a few years prior to his diagnosis. When he was diagnosed, the doctors informed us that ALS patients were susceptible to depression, especially because of the nature of the disease. I can’t imagine the torture of having a perfectly functioning brain, trapped in a non-functioning physical body. It sounded like a recipe for depression. By God’s grace, He continued to exude joy, share the gospel and encourage everyone he encountered. He shared the gospel with his palliative nurse a couple of weeks before He passed away.
“…the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick and the Lord will raise him up…
To “restore” is to save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction. My dad was restored from the ultimate danger and destruction (eternity separated from God) in 1986 when he asked Jesus Christ to be his Lord and Saviour. At that moment, His soul was safe and eternity sealed by indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. God indeed kept him safe and sound, as well as our family, guarding us not from difficulty but from despair, during that tough journey.
The one who is “sick” can also be translated as “grow weary.” Have you ever said, “I’m sick and tired of…” Sometimes the biggest struggle in a trial is the realization that it’s going to be a long haul, and we don’t have what it takes. Thankfully, He does and He invites us to ask Him for what we need.
Our need for internal restoration is greater, deeper and more difficult to satisfy than external restoration. The hurts and burdens we carry in our hearts and minds often have greater potential to destroy our abundant life here on earth than any outward physical ailment. God is very interested in healing our hurts, disappointments and brokenness. He wants to raise us up from our spiritual slumber and put Himself on display through our healed lives and our authentic testimonies.
Dear friend, the best display of the healing power of God is through a life that has been broken. Often, the best breaking happens through trials.
God doesn’t promise a change of circumstances, but a change of us. As you pray, He changes you. As you pray, He changes your perspective from the everyday to the eternal.
Lord, thank You that You’ve not just commanded me to pray, but You’ve made yourself available to hear my prayers. Thank You that I can pray anytime, anywhere and about anything. Build my faith so my prayers are based on who You are and what You’ve already said, not just what I think I want. Show me what areas of my heart need to be made well. Bring people into my life that I can be transparent with, who I can confess my struggles to. Thank You that You reveal so you can heal. Thank You that in Christ I have righteous standing. Continue sanctifying me so I can grow in righteousness and my heart can be more aligned with Yours. Anchor my heart to Yours so I may not wander. Give me Your love for those who have wandered so I might be used by You to bring them back.
This excerpt was taken from Journey Through James: A Roadmap for Trials. CLICK HERE to learn more.