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The Sexuality of Homosexuality

Homosexuality. It’s one of the most dividing issues in America today. Everyone has an opinion on it. Christians are especially known for their “bigoted” views on the subject. They believe against it, calling it an abomination, raging against the laws supporting it. “Because the Bible says…” is their favorite mantra.

What the Bible actually says – that’s a discussion for a different post, where we can fully explore the issue.

But whether it’s wrong or not, that says nothing about the state of the heart. What does the heart want – and is it wrong to want in the first place?

Feeling a certain way, having a desire for a certain thing – desire, a leaning toward one thing or another, is not in and of itself wrong. Many are quick to point out the verse that speaks of the thoughts of the heart – that if a man so much as looks at a woman in the wrong way, then it is adultery in his heart. Therefore, to have a liking for one of the same sex is so much worse, even if the person never acts on it.

But that’s just it – the action itself is the problem. Even the thoughts of the heart is an action. It is not in the sudden, quick look – the so-called “first look.” It is in the entertaining of that look, the lust that grows in the heart – that is where sin is found.

Homosexuality is defined as a sexual attraction to persons of the same sex. Quite surprisingly, the word in and of itself is not a sin. A man is attracted to a woman walking down the street – this is well known. But there is very little talk about this kind of attraction, other than that a man must not continue to look. To be attracted to one of the same sex, however – that is an abomination, and there is something disgustingly wrong with that individual. They need to get right with Christ right away, and probably even then there will still be something a little “off.”

Is there a double standard here? Men are allowed the first look, because after all it’s natural. Men are sexually driven creatures, and they are compelled by what they see. As it turns out, so are women, but that’s yet another post in and of itself.

So men are naturally attracted to a pleasing woman. It’s accepted, because it’s natural for him to desire a woman.

What about when a man is distracted by another man, or a woman by another woman? “Abomination!” cry the righteous Christians, thumping their Bibles and pointing to Scriptures. No action was taken, barely a thought formed. But the mere distraction alone is enough to damn them, it would seem. No grace period for these disgusting souls.

Here’s the thing. Looking at one of the opposite sex, or one of the same sex – it’s the same thing. Both are sexual lusts, driven by sexual desires. That’s not to say that it would not be wrong to act on those desires – this is purely looking at the heart matter.

A person can’t help their natural inclination. Those that claim that a person is born homosexual – they are right. A person has certain desires, just as a man might have a domination fetish, or likes role play, or any other sexually-driven desire.

The Bible has much to speak on the topics of sex and immorality. But notice that it has less to say about the heart’s desires. Yes, there’s the problem of lust – but it’s not even about that. It’s the deeper issue of what a person desires in their heart. And sometimes, their heart honestly desires sin.

Sin is beautiful to look at. It wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t pleasant to the eyes. Paul says that there is a sin that so easily besets us. I think sometimes we claim that verse, but then toss it aside when it becomes convenient.

An action, even entertaining a thought process – that is sin. But to have the desire already there – that is merely a manifestation of Jeremiah’s warning that “the heart is deceitful, and desperately wicked…”

No man can trust the heart. The heart is full of wicked desires, sexual or otherwise. We have very little right to be blasting the homosexuals for their desires, when we ourselves are allowed “little” sins.

Sexuality became very twisted when sin entered into the world. What once was pure and holy became corrupt and vile. The union between a married man and woman stretched into that of any soul who happens to be “in love” or even just in the wrong moment at the wrong time. God created every person with a sexual desire, one meant to be given to their spouse. But as sin often likes to do, that desire becomes corrupted, and corruption can take many forms.

Who are we to say that one form of corruption is better than another?

 

Ronald McDonald House – Another Star Lost

“They never knew how much a broken heart can break the sound and change the seasons. Now the leaves are falling faster, I believe in ever after. You gave me hope through your endeavors, now you will live forever.”

Yesterday was great, spending the day with friends. But then it all comes crashing down when I read the message on my phone this morning, and saw the posts. Now my heart spills out in an agony of tears. One bright star, smiling through the impossible cancer she faced. The star has moved on, but her light would not fade.

This is the second playmate that we have lost in the last year. My daughter, young as she is, won’t remember, and it doesn’t impact her life in any way.

But I remember.

I remember being at the Ronald McDonald House during our time in Seattle, talking with the other moms and sharing treatment stories, hardships, the progress we’d made – sharing in the collective burden of having a child with serious medical needs.

I remember coming together for the communal dinners supplied by volunteer groups, joining in the activities that were always provided. We shared about which group’s cooking we liked better, and about the difficulties in getting our kids to eat. I remember that as we got further into our own chemo treatment, my little girl would only eat chicken nuggets and, toward the end, nothing at all.

We rejoiced when one of our group got the okay to go home, whether it was just for a few days’ leave or they were done with treatment and leaving for good. There was one family who’d spent two years at Ronald McDonald, never even going home once for a visit. They finally got clearance to go home permanently, and we all cried. They were the longest running visitors at the Ron Don house.

There was a park nearby, where I sometimes took my little girl. Technically, because of her immune system, she wasn’t supposed to go to public places like that, but sometimes the little bit of joy it brought her was worth it. She loved the swings. Sometimes, a Ron Don family would join us. A few times, it was a dear little girl, six years old, who was Lanae’s friend.

That same little girl passed away last year – went home after treatment, and was back in Seattle in a month.

We’ve lost others, as well. And with the news of each one, I am reminded of the ferocity of the beast called cancer, and I feel a stir of fury and heartbreak, and I can’t help but feel the burden of the world. I look at my daughter, so strong and healthy, and I feel sad that she won’t remember these friends that she so loved to play with.

But I remember. I remember the laughter they shared, the shared struggles we faced. And I’ll keep that memory in my heart, along with so many others.

Izzy, you were a bright spot in a dark world. I’ll never forget it.

 

Struggle Spotlight: Christina Pinckard

In all the struggles that I see around me, sometimes I feel the pressing need to share them with others. This week, I am presenting a “spotlight” of a family who I have watched struggle through trials that would bring down lesser mortals. Thanks to Christina for providing the information and her permission for producing this. If you feel so moved, please consider donating to help her and her husband with their rising medical costs.

 

Life has a way of bringing out the worst all at once. “Oh, one struggle isn’t enough? Here, have some more!” Is there ever a point when enough is enough? Not for most, and certainly not for one family from Bossier City, Louisiana. In 2007, Christina Pinckard’s life changed dramatically when doctors discovered a grapefruit-sized tumor in her husband’s leg. But that was only the latest in a series of blows this family would receive – and the battle wasn’t done yet.

Life was never easy for Christina. Growing up, she lived under slurs like dumb, retarded, and stupid. And with no reason not to, she couldn’t help but agree with them. Depression set in from an early age, and she had trouble finding worth in herself. An autism diagnosis as an adult helped her receive some validation, giving her the tools necessary to combat the voices she heard.

Christina has two boys, ages 13 and 19. When they were three and five years old, respectively, both boys were diagnosed with autism. The older child is more high-functioning, but both have their specific class of special needs. The older boy, Michael, can help out around the house and moderately care for himself, but the youngest is not fully potty trained – a common struggle in autistic households. Matthew has frequent meltdowns, not understanding why he is sometimes treated the way he is. Most of it is a lack of understanding, but Matthew sees it as everyone hating him for the way he is.

As if autism struggles weren’t bad enough (and anyone who’s dealt with it can tell you it’s a load all on its own!), the cancer diagnosis only added to it. The tumor turned out to be a Myxoid Lyposarcoma, a rare and aggressive soft-tissue cancer. A surgery removed the tumor, along with about 90% of the hamstring that the tumor had attached itself to. However, in 2009, the tumor made its reappearance – and four more times after that. The last three jumped the hamstring ship and appeared in the spinal cord, making them even more difficult to remove.

The tumor’s growth impaired his ability to walk or stand. His wife, not more than 130lbs, couldn’t lift him, and after he fell three separate times in a single week, he made the necessary but wrenching decision to check into a nursing home, where he hopes to be able to continue to fight his cancer and heal so he can rejoin his family.

Despite all this, and even in spite of her depression, Christina fights to keep her optimism high. She pours her vivid imagination into the books she writes, creating a world of fantasy and color. With the impending loss of her husband’s income, she took up crafting, putting together gorgeous trinkets and pieces of jewelry that she sells on Etsy. She has been exceptionally helpful in creating “swag” for other authors, in the form of key chains and other pieces that depict promotional material. Her pride and joy, however, are the fantasy pieces she creates, ones that reflect the world that spills over into her books. Dragons are especially prominent. She can also be found on Fiverr.

In every setback, Christina finds herself with a choice: to give up, or to pursue forward. In the end, fighting both depression and opposition from those around her, she presses on, refusing to give up on either herself or her family. Her material accomplishments are nothing compared to the battles she’s faced and the progress she’s made not only for herself, but also for those she loves.

Review: Devil’s Pathway by Vicki Lucas

“Vampires are overrated and hugely overdone, there just isn’t anything new about them anymore. And there’s definitely nothing at all Christian about them.”

And Vicki Lucas said: “Challenge accepted.” And then came through with flying colors, as I’ve come to expect from her work (check out my review of Toxic!). She spends the next 110,000 words of Devil’s Pathway dismantling every objection brought up, in the process weaving a story so in-depth you forget those objections were even there in the first place.

Nic has always known he was a little different from the rest. He sees things, things that he knows no human should ever have to see. And he feels it inside of him, as well. But when he moves from the big city to rural Idaho, life become much more escalated. Nic finds himself the focal point of an ancient war, and both sides are urging him to join their cause. All he’s ever wanted was peace, but they are all running out of time.

Faith has never meant much to Nic – if anything, it’s always let him down. But the spiritual realm is about to open up on his doorstep. And this time, it’s not just his family that’s in danger. It’s the whole town.

Faith is challenged in a way unlike anything else in this book of spiritual warfare and growing up. Nic has spent his life running, but there’s not much room left. Soon, he will be forced to make a choice – or the choice will be made for him.

The reader has no problem feeling bad for Nic as they learn more of his experiences. Sympathy comes easy as we learn more of what he’s had to endure. Yet, this is no time to hide in pity as the action heats up. The reader almost feels sorry for Nic – “can’t he just get a break?” Ah, but if he were to get a break, there’d be no story.

And then there’s that little issue with his blood – what’s that about, anyway? Ms. Lucas does an excellent job of revealing information piecemeal, just enough to keep the reader on their toes. The continued mystery keeps the reader turning pages, just as much as the action does!

This book is an intense read, with plenty of soul-searching and lessons on redemption, God’s love, and much more. It doesn’t really answer that age-old question of why bad things happen, but I love what it did instead – showed how God is still there even in the midst of all the bad, even when we can’t see Him. Sometimes, we don’t need to know why – we just need to know that God is there.

That ending, though! If I wasn’t reading on my tablet (and if I didn’t treasure books so much), I probably would have thrown it. The author gives just enough answers to keep the reader going, but the ending leaves you hanging, gasping for more. It’s the first of a series, and I’m already anxious to see what happens next.

The book is marketed for YA (young adult readers), but the story is intense enough even for adults to enjoy. I would also note that it may be too intense for some younger readers (such as preteens), but for middle-older teens, it’s a great read, and very thought-provoking!

New Release! Right Angles – a Woman’s Devotional

The 4-week Bible Study/Devotional, Right Angles, is going live!

Oftentimes in life, our biggest problem comes from the angle we’re looking at things. When we straighten out the perspectives, in our own minds, we might just see the solution readily available. That’s why our perspective should always be guided by the Bible. God’s Holy Word is the only straight angle that will keep us in the proper perspective.

 

This 4-week devotional for women offers a unique perspective from the daily life of a mom of six, a full-time caregiver, and a crazy cat lady all rolled up into one person.

Dealing with topics such as: getting lost in an elevator, everybody’s got baggage, following your heart, and loving what God loves, Right Angles: A Women’s Devotional looks at things we women deal with on a daily basis.

This devotional will be on sale for 0.99 cents from July 25 – July 27, 2015. Available on Amazon at

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B011BJEK4K

You can also find more from Sherry Chamblee at www.sherrychamblee.weebly.com or her Facebook page at

https://www.facebook.com/authorsherrychamblee

 

Parents: what do your teen’s interests say about them?

Often, I hear adults talk about how they just can’t figure out the new gadgets these days, or keep up with all the social networks coming out. I’m telling you now, if your child has it figured out, then you had better learn quick. New phone? Learn all its tricks. New website? You better sign up.

Parents, pay close heed to what your children are doing. Become familiar with their interests, their passions. It is not only about getting to know them, but getting to know what draws them- for in doing so, you know them better than you would otherwise.

Don’t just censor their music, their reading. If they gravitate to a certain genre, or a certain style, look at it closely. Become familiar with the product, for in that you will find the message that your child cannot tell you himself.

The quickest way to lose your child is through what you do not know, do not understand. Many parents have heard the mantra of an angry teenager, “You just don’t understand!” Consider whether it may be true. Perhaps you remember what it’s like to be a teenager- but what is it like to be your teenager? To be the child that you have raised, suddenly finding themselves on the cusp of this brave new world, no longer a child, just becoming an adult in a new and sometimes frightening society?

If you do not understand the world that your child is drawn to, you will be sure to lose him. The more they discover, the further you are left behind, until one day, you find that they are gone from you- willingly or unwillingly.

The prime spot for predators is through social networking. He will befriend your daughter, provide a listening ear for your frustrated son. The social network that you do not understand becomes the channel by which your child is lost to you. The new gadget that your child knows in and out, but which you can only just turn on, is now an open door into a very dangerous realm.

As your child emerges into the independent teenage years, it is no longer enough to simply ban certain things from the house. If you have done well in the relationship you have built with your child, if nothing has happened to come between you, they will remain within the parameters willingly. But if they are not willing, then no amount of rules you have set will serve to chain them. A teenager will always find a way around the rules, that is a promise.

What are you doing to stop them? Punishment has become a vicious cycle of disobedience and arguments, and in the end nothing is achieved. Now, it will not be the rules that will keep your child to you- but your relationship to them, and in this is grounded your understanding of what draws them.

What is the music that they want to listen to? Forbid if you must, but listen to the songs on your own time, when they are not around. Look up the lyrics, find what the music speaks of. In music more than any other subject, you will find the answer for your child’s disturbances.

Many parents look at it with the mindset that the music influences the child, and while this may be truth in part, it also serves to obscure another even more important truth. The music may influence the person, but first the person must be drawn to that music- and to that, there is often something deeper at play, something in their psyche that calls to them. In the beat and the lyrics you may yet find the explanation for your child’s emotional turmoil, something which they themselves are not able to put into words.

Set restrictions – it’s what parents are there for. Boundaries serve as a means of protection. But at the same time, be aware of what draws your children. It just may be your means of saving them.

To the mother at the splash pad…

It was one of those moments that makes every parent’s heart stop. It made MY heart stop, and it wasn’t even my kid! You turned around, and saw a stranger leading your child by the hand. Leading him away from the street – the very busy main road to which he’d been headed.

You ran forward, scooped him up as the stranger explained that the boy had run off. Your hands trembled as you hugged that little boy close to your chest. I could just about see your heart racing, threatening to leap out of its bony cage.

The boy squirmed, wanting to go play. At two years old, he had no idea of the heart attack he’d just given his mother. With a sigh, you put him down and watched as he ran off, back to join his brothers in the splash pad frenzy.

Heart still pounding, you watched him disappear in the bodies and the spray. Then you looked up – and she was watching you. A woman standing off to the side, who’d seen the whole thing. Your whole demeanor changed, becoming tense and defensive in response to the woman’s judging.

It was apparent that you knew each other, were probably there together, as the two of you argued – briefly, but the encounter left you tense for quite some time after. Your tense eyes were trained on that little boy, who’d just discovered that it was a game to keep Mommy on her toes as he repeatedly ran out toward the road.

I said something small that day, something about how it happens to the best of us, that kids are quick and it’s hard to see everything. But what I really wanted to say is – don’t let someone else’s judgment make you a bad mother.

Oh, you’re not a bad mother. I could tell just by the way you acted with your children that day – all five of them. Keeping an eye on my one little girl is enough, but five?? No wonder that boy was able to slip out from under your watchful gaze, especially in that crowded splash pad.

But each time after that first round, you were tense, watchful – less because of the danger he was in (he wasn’t in any, really), and more because of one woman’s judgment. That little boy would dart out, heading toward the street, and each time you would run over, herding him back in the proper direction, giving a quick swat as incentive. And in between those times, you stood on the sidelines, watching him like a hawk, not daring to turn away for one second, lest you face a second round of scorn.

I wanted to tell you that you are a good mother. That you were doing your best to keep an eye on all your children, keep them safe from harm. And that two-year-old – anyone knows that kids are quick at that age. You blink, and they’re gone before you know it. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad mother, it means you’re not omnipotent or omniscient. You can’t be everywhere at once, seeing everything at once.

Motherhood is about love and protecting your children from harm, but it also comes with a whole heaping spoonful of grace. Grace is what gets a mother through the ups and downs; sometimes, it’s what gets her through the day.

For whatever reason, motherhood also involves those who think that they know better, who believe that they could have done a better job or made better choices. You know the ones – the one tsking in the grocery store, the one shooting you a look across the playground, or even that one acquaintance giving advice and “just trying to help.” Then there’s the ones who get upset if you do things just a little bit differently, if you don’t do them the way they would have done them. Parenting is one of those journeys that everyone has an opinion on, and there opinion is always the best one.

All of this judgment and criticism can make you feel like a bad mother. And it’s hard to feel like a good one when a stranger catches what you know you should have caught on your own – something that, had they not caught it, could have ended up very differently, with you running to the hospital instead of letting the kids have fun at the park. But being a good mother isn’t about being perfect, never missing something, never making a mistake. It’s in loving your kids the best way you know how, however imperfectly that may be.

In the end, you are what’s best for them. And that doesn’t mean you’ll always be perfect, or that there will never be accidents, but it does mean that you are a good mother for them. Don’t let the judgments of others make you a bad mother.

Review – Miracles in Disguise

Typically, I’m not a huge fan of romance. It’s too – too romantic. I’m an action-movie kinda girl. Some of my favorite actors are Bruce Willis and Jason Statham – two actors who really know how to blow up a set. Not to mention that the latter looks good without his shirt (or with it, for that matter!), but hey, that’s beside the point, right? 😉

miracles-print5

Anyway – “Miracles in Disguise” by Michelle Brown is nothing like the cheesy romances you’re used to. She pulls no punches in the hard lives her characters are given.

You can run, but you can’t hide in this hard-hitting romance. The past is always waiting right around the corner.Kristina Talbot is on the road to a new life when she runs into her first obstacle, brought upon her by a broken-down vehicle. Nathan wants to be her knight in shining armor, but he doesn’t know just how much her dreams have been tainted. Before there can be a future for the two of them, they must first confront her dark past.

Come along with Kristina as she learns trust. Not every man is a bad guy; in fact, there is one man who very much wants to treat her like the princess he believes she is.

This is a wonderful story for anyone struggling to recover from a dark past. The characters are in-depth and accurately depict the face of abuse and how it affects victims. Kristina finds herself bound by what she has experience. And as much as he’d like to be, Nathan is no knight in shining armor. He faces frustration, annoyance, and confusion as he determines to understand her struggles. The characters are very human as they face an evil that has afflicted too many.

Well worth the read! (BONUS: This book is the first in a series, and it’s FREE!!)

Why is breastfeeding so controversial?

So – breastfeeding. I think most of those in my circle are in favor of doing it, but the debate reigns on where and when. This breastfeeding article gives some good points, and here’s a few of my own to add. (And here’s another one from the opposite side of the issue!)

First, a history lesson. The controversy on breastfeeding is a fairly new one. It begins a few generations ago, when companies first introduced infant formula. Initially, they claimed that it was “better than breast milk.” They convinced an entire generation of new mothers that their own milk wasn’t as healthy for their baby, and so they bottle-fed their babies. An entire generation of children grew up being very little exposed to breastfeeding. In removing a primary function of the breast, that left the other function to take over – sexualization.

This took place during another shift in society – that of becoming more sexualized, more open. Fewer clothes, seductive poses, declining marriage rates and rising numbers of unwed mothers, and so much more. Enter technology, and the problem explodes with posting seductive pictures, chatting online, and sexting. Conservatives and the church react to what they see as a growing trend, and breastfeeding inevitably gets swept up in the fray. Breasts are sexualized, and we already have a problem with women “not covering up” and thus by logical conclusion that extends to breastfeeding, as well.

It wasn’t always like this. I remember reading an older book, a fiction novel, probably written sometime in the 30’s-50’s. Not so long ago, but before the craze started. One scene in particular featured a woman feeding an infant (she was a wet nurse). A man in the scene studied her, with more awe than being turned on. Being moved by the miracle he saw, he even reached forward to touch her – and not only were they not married, they were not even a love interest, simply good friends. Not saying whether the scene was morally right, but the point is, things weren’t always this stiff about breastfeeding. There was a time in history where it was perfectly acceptable for a woman to feed her baby so naturally – and she didn’t hide away in another room to do it.

A note for those who say that breasts aren’t naturally designed to be sexual – take a peek at Song of Solomon, as well as a few passages in Proverbs and other areas. Even then, the breast was most definitely sexual and intended for the man’s delight and pleasure. “Let her breasts satisfy thee at all times” wasn’t written for the babe. There’s nothing wrong with breasts being sexual; it’s all about balance. Like most things in nature, they serve a dual purpose. It’s all about time and place.

So… what IS that time and place?

Our Trials – All for God’s Purpose

This is actually part two to a post I wrote quite some time ago, just never got around to finishing. In it, I challenge the common teaching that “if you believe, you will be healed.” But that’s not always the case – especially when a greater purpose is involved. Read on:

Does God heal all those who ask? Some think so, but that teaching is not found in Scripture. God does not promise healing to everyone who asks for it. Rather, He promises grace and peace. SOME may be healed, but only if it’s within God’s perfect plan. For some, He may have a different plan in mind, one that is yet perfect for that person.

Paul is an easy place to start. The Apostle Paul is known for many things. His faith, the Biblical books he penned, the trials in his faith. Some of the most famous phrases we use today can be traced back to his words – and we are going to look at one of them now.

He has not had an easy road. In other places, he makes mention of the many trials he has faced. Acts gives a play-by-play of the difficulties he encountered in sharing the Gospel, the persecutions he endured. Yet there is one that stands out above the others, one thing that he specifically asks for God to remove. Now, it doesn’t say what that thing is – it’s rather quiet on that, actually, probably with reason. It doesn’t matter. Plug in your own problem in your own life, and there you are. It’s whatever it needs to be.

So what does God tell him? “My grace is sufficient for thee.” One of those oft-repeated phrases. But like with most quotes, half of it is left behind. It’s nice to think that God’s grace is sufficient, and it is, but it’s also important to remember WHY. “For my strength is made perfect in weakness.”

When we are weak, whether physically or spiritually, that weakness is used to reveal God’s strength. We are weak, we suffer – but God will not automatically heal. Sometimes, yes, but then sometimes, He finds that our suffering is a better testimony of His grace.

God is always looking to bring us to a place of closer fellowship with Him. At the same time, He is always looking to use us to reach others, so they could have that same fellowship. Sometimes, that means healing, so that you and those around you can see the awesome power of the mighty God that we serve. God can do great things!

On the other hand, it doesn’t mean that will always be the case. Sometimes, His glory is instead shown through the grace He gives to those who are suffering. When someone is going through great trial, others look to see how they will handle it. Some are looking for God to bring immediate healing, while others question why it would even happen in the first place. Where is God in all of this?

That answer is played out in the grace and strength that person displays. Healing is an inspiration, sure, but to be so buffeted by trials and still stand strong – that is an even greater inspiration. It is stories like these that bring others to Christ, after seeing the peace that He can give even in the greatest of trials.

Job is a common example of suffering. The first two chapters illustrate a side of a story that we rarely see: a conversation in heaven between God and Satan. In this conversation, we see that God points out Job as an example of a faithful man. Satan challenges this statement and in an effort to prove his point, sets about wreaking all sorts of havoc in Job’s life. Satan’s efforts leave the man, once one of the wealthiest men in the region, penniless and childless. His health is also in decline as he was struck with extremely painful boils all over his body. To add insult to injury, Job’s wife chastises him for his continued faith in God, and his friends are insistent in pointing out the sin in his life as the cause of his troubles.

Now, this “health” doctrine would have you believe that all Job had to do was envision himself well, rebuke the illness, and pray to God, and he would be well. But that would have defeated God’s purpose, which was to show how faithful His servant could be, even when pressed. Giving Job an easy out by granting him health as soon as it was asked would have countered that aim. Job would not find healing or restoration until God’s purpose was achieved. Incidentally, in order to receive restoration, Job had to forgive his friends and pray for them; it was not a prayer for healing that saved him.

“But that’s in the Old Testament,” they say. “We’re in the New Testament age now.” As if everything that happened before is moot and doesn’t apply, never mind that God is “the same yesterday, today, and forever”, but we’ll take it anyway, just for the sake of discussion.

So what New Testament examples can we come up with? We’ve already covered Paul, on several counts. Is there more?

What about other tribulations, other than health? Steven was stoned, John was exiled. All but one of the apostles were executed, usually in torturous manners. Peter was crucified. Oh, but these aren’t physical illnesses – does that make the trial any less great? Is one affliction different from another, so that God will heal 100% of one, but not of the other?

John chapter 9 tells the story of a man who was blind from birth. The disciples asked who had sinned to cause this man’s affliction. Listen to Christ’s response here: “Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” (John 9:3) Christ was saying that this man was born blind specifically so that God could work His purpose. Yes, that purpose was healing, that is true. But it was not based on the man’s faith. No doubt, both his man and his parents petitioned the Lord for healing. Now, we don’t know about the faith of either of them, but we can at least say that it didn’t matter. Even if the man was the most faithful man in Israel, had the greatest faith of anyone, his petition still would have gone unanswered.

Why? Because it wasn’t the appointed time. That man was born blind specifically so that at the right moment, Jesus Christ could come along and heal him, thus showing the power and glory of God. Had he been healed before that point, that purpose would not have been achieved. This man’s healing was not based on his faith, but on the purpose of God.

Sometimes, healing comes as a result of faith. James tells us that “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” And the centurion’s servant was healed even as Jesus marveled that He had not seen so great a faith. It is true that prayer can bring healing. But it’s only a possibility, not a promise. It is all about God’s purpose.

To say otherwise is to make God into little more than a wishing wand – if you wish hard enough, it will come true. God is not here to be at our beck and call. He may heal us, but it’s not promised. It’s not a certainty. It’s not something He does just because we said it loud enough.