by Rick Warren — February 6, 2021
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”
1 John 5:14 (NIV)
When you pray and ask for God’s healing, you can trust that he’ll hear and answer you. But he may not answer in the way you hope. He won’t give you something against his will. God always wants what’s best for you—and the best thing may be to use an illness in ways you did not expect.
Sometimes God uses sickness to get your attention and redirect you. He may have to lay you flat on your back in order to get you to look up to him. Proverbs 20:30 says, “Sometimes it takes a painful experience to make us change our ways” (GNT). Most of us could give a story of how it took a painful experience to make us change our ways.
Sometimes God allows a sickness to be a testimony for others. He knows he can trust you with an illness, and he knows you’ll be a good example to other people, particularly unbelievers.
Paul says in Philippians 1:12, “Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel” (NIV). Paul was sick and in prison when he wrote that, testifying to how God used his circumstances to spread the Good News.
The greatest witness you will ever have is your example of the way you handle pain. In my own life, God has used my deepest moments of pain as a witness to my neighbors and the world. When you respond to pressure and pain in a way that points people back to God, it brings glory to him.
Sometimes God allows a sickness to take a person into eternity—a sickness unto death. Hebrews 9:27 says, “Everyone must die once, and after that be judged by God” (GNT). If you could be healed of every illness just by having enough faith, then if you had enough faith, you might never die. That certainly isn’t God’s will.
When you are sick, you can pray and ask God in confidence for healing. Why should you have confidence? “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us” (1 John 5:14 NIV).
That’s right: When you pray in God’s will, he always hears you. His answer may not come through the method or in the timing you want, but his answer is always for good and for his glory.