Throughout the Bible, there are promises from God to His people. Growing up in the church, I was confronted with nothing but confusion on this topic. 1) I didn’t really know anyone who was experiencing all the blessings God promises in the Bible. 2) Perhaps because many believers have had this same experience, the theologians and teachers that I was exposed to had come up with lots of ways to explain away these promises. Some of the explanations were that the promises were meant for someone else. One popular way of dealing with the promises was to spiritualize them. “Oh, that promise is reserved for Heaven,” or “We enjoy that promise now but on a spiritual level.” 3) I knew of teachers who claimed that we can enjoy all the promises, but so many of them sounded as if they were only after the stuff rather than seeking to receive from God with gratitude. This kind of attitude provided much ammunition for those seeking to explain away the promises.
I have never been particularly satisfied with the idea that the only promise from God that I can hold onto is the promise of going to Heaven when I die. I don’t think I ever had this thought consciously, but perhaps part of me wondered about the veracity of that promise when none of the others applied to me.
In college, God brought to my attention Psalm 27. At the end, David says that he is confident that he would see the goodness of God in the land of the living. At that time, I had specific ideas about what God’s goodness to me should look like. I clung to those words and prayed them back to Him for years. Over time, God did grant the desires I had in my heart at that time, and beyond that, He has continued to teach me about and show me His goodness.
You Must Believe!!
Over the last 10 years, God has exposed me to people who are clinging to God in anticipation of His goodness. He has been growing in me a hunger to experience His goodness and to be able to trust Him and rest in Him. One verse that has been particularly helpful in this fight has been Hebrews 11:6. If you want to please God, you MUST believe that He REWARDS those who seek Him. He wants to reward His people!!!
Confronted with this truth, I asked God for a long time why so very few people I know experience the blessings that the Bible seems to promise. He reminded me of the promise given in the most famous Bible verse (John 3:16) and believed and taught by evangelicals everywhere. Salvation is promised to all who BELIEVE in Jesus and that His death on the cross paid for all your sins.
That is the key. Most if not all (I have not done an exhaustive study) of God’s promises are for those who believe them. Most of the people I grew up around did not experience the promises of the Bible. As I mentioned already, most of them didn’t believe the promises but explained them away.
This principle is especially important to remember when it comes to healing. God wants all His people to experience healing: physical, mental, emotional and ESPECIALLY spiritual. BELIEVE it for yourself!!
To be clear. The healing is not always immediate. Often, God likes to take us through a process because he wants more for us than just our healing. My wife has struggled with some health issues for decades. A couple years ago, she was talking to God and asking when she would be healed. He told her that He could heal her now but that then she would not learn all that He wants to teach her. She chose to learn and grow, so she is being healed, but it is a long slow process. There are also rare times as with the apostle Paul when God chooses not to heal because He has something better in mind. God told Paul that His grace was sufficient for Paul. Paul got to experience something in his relationship with God that we know nothing about. First of all, very few of us are the apostle Paul. Very few of us are worthy of a “thorn in the flesh.” If you are one of those few, God is gentle and kind. He will communicate with you about it, and convince you that what you are dealing with is worth it.
There are things that can hinder healing which we will explore in future articles. However, the first step is to BELIEVE. TRUST God and REST in His goodness and love for you.
Joshua 21:45 Joshua 23:14
May God bless you with the salvation and peace to be found in His Son Jesus Christ.
Curtis Eastin, MDiv