Far from being a force through which we can confess into existence divine health and healing, faith is a channel of living trust between a creature and his Creator.
Think of Job. . . All Job wanted was to hear from God. The question that burned within him was, “Why?” Job got half his wish, for God revealed Himself majestically. But He did not answer the question why. Instead, He asked Job a question: Where were you when the foundations of the earth were laid (Job 38:4)?
In essence, He asked if Job would like to try his hand at running things for a while. “Say, Job–try creating a lighting bolt. How about producing even a tiny drop of dew?” ( Job 38:25, 28).
When you reach the end of this ancient literary masterpiece, you finally understand. Like a refreshing drink of water on a dry, dusty day, your thirst for answers is quenched: God is sovereign, and you are not. In this world you will have trouble (John 16:33). Disease, decay, disorder, discouragement and even death are the natural consequences of a fallen world.
In fact, it is the very uncertainty of life that prepares some people to consider their eternal destiny.
Yes, death comes to all of us in this world. Heartache and suffering naturally accompany a world mired in sin. But as the Master so eloquently put it in John 16:33, “Take heed I have overcome the world.” For the child of God, the hope is not perfect health in this lifetime, but a resurrected body in the life to come. As John the apostle so beautifully put it, “No more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. . . .I am making everything new! (Revelation 21:4-5). True faith consists not in understanding why but in trusting the Sovereign of our souls despite the fact that we do not understand.
In full face of biblical evidence to the contrary, Rod Parsley is bent on propagating the error that “faith cannot exist where the will of God is unknown.”
“Beware!” says Parsley, “The Bible says the traditions of men make God’s word void and ‘of no effect’ (Matthew 15:6).” Parsley goes on to dogmatically declare, “Healing is not a promise; healing is a fact! God didn’t promise you anything; He established it by His Word.” Parsley mocks the very notion of adding “If it be Thy will” to one’s prayers. Says Parsley, “I used to pray the words ‘if it be Thy will’ for healing before I read and believed God’s Word. Since I was a good denominational boy, I would get on my knees and pray, ‘O God! If it is Your will. . . ” Do you know what my doubt-filled prayers produced?” continues Parsley, “Seven members of my immediately family died within eighteen months while I faithfully (or faithlessly) prayed, ‘If it be Your will. . .?’”
To suggest, as Parsley does, that to pray “Thy will be done” is to succumb to traditions that make God’s Word void and of no effect is a mind-blowing distortion of the words of Jesus Christ. As documented above, Christ contradicted Parsley in unmistakable prose. The very prayer He taught His disciples to pray includes the petition, “Thy will be done.” Not only so, but James warned those who were prone to “boast and brag” that they ought to pray instead, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that” (James 4:15, emphasis added). John, likewise, humbly acknowledged that our confidence in approaching God is that “if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us” (1 John 5:14, emphasis added).
NOTE: According to Parsley’s theology. . .his own son Austin is plagued by the demon of Asperger’s syndrome and has been denied healing due to doubt or lack of faith.
In view of Parsley’s declaration that “faith cannot exist where the will of God is unknown,” I humbly confess that I do not presume to fully know the purposes of God in the midst of such tragedies. Now I see through a glass dimly. In eternity I will fully understand (1 Corinthians 13:12).
In the epilogue to Job’s spellbinding story, God commands Job’s friends to humbly ask Job for forgiveness and to pray that He will not judge them according to their folly. Job prayed for his friends and God accepted Job’s prayer.
May those in the Faith movement, by God’s grace, one day soon turn from their foolish notions and place their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor into the hands of a sovereign God. And when they do, may those whom they have harmed welcome them back with open arms and forgive them–as they too, have been forgiven.
—excepted from Hank Hanegraaff’s book, Christianity in Crisis