Several years ago, the wife of a couple I knew found a lump in her breast.
The couple suspected it was breast cancer, but they made the purposeful decision to avoid medical treatment. Instead, they chose to believe God for her healing. They believed and prayed for about a year. The woman’s condition became worse. When the couple finally decided to go for medical help, it was too late.
A few months later she was dead.
The wife of a missionary couple I knew made the same choice. Again, it was cancer and again it was the same result.
In my years as a Christian, I have seen instances of people choosing to believe God for healing, instead of going for available medical help and not once has this turned out good.
I believe in these instance where they thought they were believing God, they were in fact testing God.
In Luke 4:9-12, we read of satan’s temptation of Jesus in the wilderness. Satan put Jesus through a series of temptations and one of them satan chose was to entice Jesus to “test God.” This suggests it’s a line Christians can easily be convinced to cross.
In verse 9, satan took Jesus to the top of the temple and said if He was really the Son of God, Jesus should throw Himself off the pinnacle and let the angels protect Him.
Jesus refused replying, “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test” (v 12).
What does it mean to test God?
Testing God occurs when we willingly put ourselves in a situation expecting God to deliver us or heal us, when other options are available. The option in Jesus’ case was not to do it. For those who are sick, seeking medical help is an option.
It can apply in many areas including financial. I remember watching a televangelist railing on his listeners about all the bounced checks he was receiving. It was costing him money. But he was the one who told people to send him money and God would provide. They sent checks with money they didn’t have.
Notice how satan even tossed multiple Bible verses at Jesus to entice Him to jump.
“If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here; for it is written,
‘He will command His angels concerning You to guard You,’
‘On their hands they will bear You up,
So that You will not strike Your foot against a stone.’”
I have seen Bible verses used in the same way. People said they opened their Bible and a verse popped out supporting their decision to believe God.
I even had one man tell me going to doctors was a sign of unbelief, but in fact refusing treatment can easily transform into testing God.
It is fine balance. I believe God heals.
When sickness strikes we need to pray and believe God for healing, while at the same time seeking available medical help.
While I have never seen God miraculously heal when people purposefully avoided medical attention, there are many accounts of God performing outstanding miracles when people went for treatment.
Li Peng’s miracle
One of my favourites is Li Peng’s incredible miracle, which even astounded the doctors. Friends found Li Peng at the bottom of a swimming pool and immediately called for an ambulance. They had no idea how long he was under. When Li Peng arrived at the hospital doctors worked on him, after a couple of days medical staff told Li Peng’s father his son was brain-dead and suggested taking him off life support and using his organs for transplants. But God miraculously healed him because of prayer. Read: Li Peng’s miracle stuns doctors.
A shout raises the dead
In another situation, a man collapsed from a heart attack. He was taken to the hospital and after 45 minutes doctors gave up trying to resuscitate him. He was lying dead on the table. The medical equipment was flat lining. His son, a believer, walks in and shouts you are not going to die now and immediately the medical monitors come alive. A few days later, the man walked out of the hospital. Read: Man raised from the dead by son’s shout
It’s a fine line
Motivation is the key. There are missionaries and church leaders in foreign countries who regularly put themselves in danger by preaching the Gospel. They are not walking into dangerous situations to prove God’s protection, they are building the Kingdom of God. I believe God will stand with them in those situations. But if you walk into danger to prove God’s protection, then it’s an entirely different situation and all bets are off.
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