by: Richelle Torres
On Prayers & Pills
by Dr. David Sylvester, Executive Pastor of Operations
Lynn and Kristi were the epitome of the All-America couple.
Attractive, solid jobs, two kids, two dogs, a two-car garage, and lived in a cute house straight out of Good Housekeeping magazine.
Lynn had a skin irritation on his back, for which the doctors told him not to worry and carry on with life. And then Lynn sought a second opinion and heard the same prognosis, not to worry.
A few months later, Lynn was diagnosed with terminal cancer originating on that very spot.
We prayed for Lynn’s healing for weeks as he made trips to the hospital for treatment. Well-meaning but biblically uninformed members of another church attempted to circumvent the efforts of our prayer group by claiming their prayers would be given with more faith and result in guaranteed healing, and with pride announced that healing was on the way on the basis of their declarations and spoken word of faith. In other words, God was left with little choice.
Soon afterward, Lynn died.
His wife was quickly informed that Lynn’s death was due to a lack of faith from his family and other faithful prayer warriors. Spiritual abuse like this should be illegal! If prayer groups like this had licenses to pray, I would suspend them. They are nothing more than agents of guilt.
This scenario begs more than one question: Does healing always occur based on the quality or intensity of our prayers for healing? Should I take medicine only or rely on both prayers and pills? The Bible does not preclude nor ban medicine as a faithless alternative. Take a look at Hezekiah in the Old Testament. Of course, God is the ultimate healer, but aspirin does not suggest a lack of faith.
Paul complained of a “thorn” in his flesh that simply would not go away despite his prayers. God provided an answer, not in healing but rather in an extra measure of grace to soothe his wound.
Paul later wrote that we should always be “rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted in prayer” (Romans 12:12).
The apostle John reminds us that as we pray according to God’s will, “we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him (I John 4:15).
In multiple passages in the NT, we may conclude with the assurance that God always answers our prayers, but not necessarily as we had hoped. God may say yes, no, not now, but later, not ever, or I have a better plan for you. Wisdom is listening to the Spirit in discerning his answer.
I’m not sure I understand why Lynn died at 38, but I plan to keep on praying for healing. In the end, God is sovereign, and we must trust Him. Let’s go with that.