Today (just now) on Facebook, I read about a friend who has been diagnosed with a large tumor around her brain. Awful news, to be sure, and I immediately prayed for her and for her family. I was going to post a note of encouragement until I read what others had already posted.
Now, this friend loves Jesus Christ. Hallelujah for that. Every comment that was posted by others was "Christian" in nature, too, but I believe they may have done a disservice. (at least in my eyes).
I should explain. I believe that God can heal her. I believe that 100%. I also know, from the experience of losing my wife, that Isaiah 55:8&9 are true, as well. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts."
There may be some other Kingdom-purpose in this diagnosis. Only God knows. His plan may not be to heal her in the way we would want her to be healed. Below are some excerpts from these comments, and I know that these friends are well-intentioned.
There were a lot of well-intentioned people saying a lot of similar things to me when Beth was dying. I clung to the belief and the hope that God would heal her. I needed encouragement, but I needed reality to. I needed Isaiah 55.
Anyway, here are the comments:
"In God's name that tumor is gone. You are a strong, godly woman and He WILL take care of you."
"Praying for healing and YES, God can and I believe WILL heal you 100% completely again."
"I believe it is satan trying to weasel his way into your life. The Bible says that the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but Jesus came to give life. This tumor is an attempt by the thief to rob you of your life, rob your husband of a wife, your kids of a mother...and this would accomplish those three things (steal, kill, destroy) that the Bible says that satan is here to do. Jesus came to give life. He died on the cross for this centuries ago, so trust in Him to heal you of this. Put your faith in Him and He WILL get you through it. God brings life and health, but satan tries to rob us and steal it from us."
OK. We don't know what God's plan is through all of this. We know that He will be Strength. He will be Comfort. He will be Healer.
He just may heal in a way that we would never choose for Him to. I know. I've been there. I still have my questions. I am not saying that we need to be gloom and doom around folks who are meeting some huge struggles. Let's just guard our words. Good intentions are...well, good. However, sometimes it is great just to say "I am praying for you. May God be glorified."