Growing up in England I used to watch The Young Ones on television. It is not exactly the kind of programming that I would recommend to conservative, Christian audiences but it was a huge cultural phenomenon in the mid 1980’s in England. I remember coming to school after an episode called ‘Sick’. In it all the students living in the same house are really sick with a cold. Each time one of them sneezes there is a terrible slurping sound that signified some unsuspecting object getting covered in snot. In my school every time someone sneezed in class it became standard practice to copy that slurping sound. In Moody Bible Institute right now I feel like we are reliving the episode as many students are sick and those that drag themselves to class are lethargic.
There are those who believe that Christians shouldn’t get sick. They believe that God wants us all to be well all of the time. The reason that we are not well is because of a lack of faith. They will quote verses like, “By His (Jesus’)stripes we are healed.” They will say that because Jesus took on his back the physical beatings of a whip (his stripes) so that we are healed of all of our illnesses. My mother and father in law can be cured of their cerebral palsey if they just have enough faith; I needn’t have a cold; the person with a headache shouldn’t have one. Of course this view is absurd. When each of us dies it must be one huge lack of faith!
God is with us in times of illness; In heaven there is no sickness; God works through pain and suffering. These thoughts are comforting. Sometimes God does heal in miraculous ways, but he is not to be manipulated by proud prayers. Faith is both active and submissive. Sometimes we do need to act in faith to embrace healing, but at other times we need to understand illness and suffering and ask why God has allowed this.