AUDIO VERSION: YouTube Podbean
It doesn’t take long to figure out that God doesn’t pass out the help and healing at an even rate in this world. Ever meet that person who went through a similar or even worse trauma than you, only today they’re totally over it while you’re still stuck with life stopping scars? Ever go to counseling for years trying to work through your issues only to be surrounded by Christians who get the quick fix from Jesus? While some addicts are faithfully attending weekly support groups only to keep losing their grip on sobriety, others say one prayer and down comes the miracle cure. Those who are healed quickly love to go around talking about how great God is, while those who are never getting healed sit there feeling like members of God’s reject pile. If God keeps saying “not now” to all your requests for deliverance, how should you interpret the fact that He keeps withholding His favor from you? Isn’t that what God’s healing is supposed to be a sign of—His favor? This is what many misguided Christians will teach you to believe, but in reality their idea of Divine favor is a very shallow, fleshly thing. All they’re focused on is being comfortable in their earthsuits. When they get physical, emotional, and mental peace, they think they’ve won the grand prize. Well, they are wrong. God has far grander prizes that He wants to pass out and while many want you to think you’ve been bumped to the back of the line because God won’t free you up, from His perspective, there’s something very different going on.
When God saddles you with some frustrating burden in life—be it emotional, mental, psychological or circumstantial—it’s like you get transported into a classroom full of Christians who all have some life-stopping trial going on. The Holy Spirit is the Instructor of the class and He’s given you all the same thick textbook to work through. The book is filled with difficult problems and questions that take a long time to work out answers to. It’s frustrating. It takes you weeks to get through just the first chapter and there are fifty chapters. As you’re all working, the Holy Spirit walks up and down the aisle, observing what His various students are doing. “Very good. Excellent progress,” you keep hearing Him say to everyone but you. Now and then you glance around and you’re very discouraged to see that some of the students are moving at a much faster rate than you are. The fellow to your left is already on Chapter 30. The guy behind you is on Chapter 45. How are they going so fast? Are you really that stupid?
Every time someone finishes their book, they raise their hand. The Holy Spirit goes over, checks their work, then congratulates them and leads them over to a special door. He unlocks the door with His key and lets the victorious student out into some world that looks and sounds like nothing but bliss. Soon someone new shows up and takes the desk that has now become available, then they start working through the book themselves starting at Chapter 1.
Now as the years drag by, you notice that students who arrive at the class much later than you are plowing through the book at an incredible rate of speed and they’re all getting to graduate on to the much better world. Yet there you still sit, now on Chapter 20, still moving as slow as a snail. Over time, it feels like hundreds of other students come, fly through the class, and go skipping off to freedom while you still remain. Sometimes you get so frustrated that you put down your pencil and just start crying. That’s when the Holy Spirit comes over, puts your pencil back in your hand and sternly tells you to keep working. Nice. You don’t hear Him being so stern with anyone else—they all get a bunch of accolades. They all get to graduate, obviously because they’re a hundred times smarter than you are.
By the time you finally reach the last chapter, new students have stopped showing up to the class. There’s only you and two others who arrived a couple of weeks ago. Before you’re halfway through the last chapter, they graduate and go on. Now it’s just you and the Holy Spirit and He passes the time sitting at the desk next to you reading some book while you struggle on and on. Finally you finish and put down your pencil, fully expecting Him to point out some error you made that will mean you have to go back and do something over. But instead, He sets down His book and turns towards you with a huge smile on His face.
“Excellent, excellent, excellent!” He says. “You have completed the whole course.”
“Yeah, it only took me years longer than everyone else,” you say glumly.
“Not at all,” He says. “None of them went through the whole book. Most of them only went through a few chapters. Their books were different than yours. Most of the pages were blank.”
“But why did I have to do all this extra work?” you ask in surprise.
“Because I wanted to be able to talk with you about things that none of them would understand since they never worked on the chapters that you did,” He explains. “Since you’ve gone through the whole book, you and I can have an entirely different kind of relationship. You’ll know Me far better than they will. You and I will share things that will make that happy world of theirs seem downright boring by comparison. I’m so proud of you for sticking it out and going through the whole book. I knew you would do it if I asked you to, but none of them would. They just wanted to go out and play. They weren’t really interested in what I wanted to give them, so I gave them the very least of what they could have had.”
At this point, wouldn’t you be very glad that you went through the whole book? Suddenly you’d see that while you were feeling rejected and passed over by God, He was actually singling you out for some very special rewards. You weren’t at all forgotten by Him, instead you were exceptionally pleasing to Him because you were willing to stick with His program. Now of course this is a metaphor, but the very same principles are at work in the lives of Christians who really want to progress with God, yet He leaves them frustratingly stalled with some set of issues that He could so easily fix.
When God withholds healing from those who sincerely want to please Him, it is NOT a punishment, it is NOT a rejection, and it is NOT evidence of His disinterest in them. God operates differently than we do. When He is super excited about a soul, He doesn’t go trumpeting their name all over the earth. These Christians who go swaggering around flaunting their abundant blessings in your face and trying to imply that they’ve “earned” God’s favor by wowing Him with their great faith and loyalty—they’re already collecting their reward. The fickle envy and temporary applause of other Christians is all these braggarts are going to get. So never mind these idiot shepherds and healers who try to tell you that you’re some lesser sheep in God’s flock because He is withholding healing from you. These people are blind fools who can’t recognize the real evidence of Divine favor when that evidence is right in front of their faces. When you sincerely want to be closer to God in life, you WILL be closer. When you sincerely want to please Him, you ARE pleasing Him. When He keeps the burdens on your back it’s because the pressure they create in your life is going to take you places with Him that are infinitely better than a life of carnal comforts. You might feel stuck, but from His perspective, you’re making fabulous progress. You might feel slow and stupid, but you’re not. These lessons are HARD. They take TIME to grind through, so try to be patient with yourself and with God. He is not leaving you behind. Instead He’s leading you away from the main herd so you can experience a kind of communion with Him that He only offers to a select few. Sure, we’d all like to have instant cures and a comfy life. But if we’re wise, we’ll realize that far better treasures exist and we’ll ask God to help us hold out for HIS best.