The Glory of Infirmities, By Femi Aribisala
The Lord often saves out of the problem and not from the problem.
Which is easier: stay well or to fall sick? It is easier to stay well than it is to fall sick. Being well does not require any faith whatsoever. But being sick requires faith in order to get well. Therefore, God is a God of the sick and not of the well because without faith it is impossible to please him.
Glory of the Flesh
“I have not been sick for even one single day in the last twenty years.” Bully for you. All you are doing is glorifying in your flesh and the glory of the flesh is like the glory of grass. It withers and it fades. (Isaiah 40:8).
You may not have been sick in twenty years, but have you slept in the last ten days? Have you eaten in the last twenty? Are you sure that you have not aged at all in the last ten years?
Some people are such wonderful Christians that they are not going to die physically. Their faith is so strong that they are going to continue living in the flesh forever.
That is pure balderdash. Jesus never redeemed the flesh. God condemned sin in the flesh. Jesus died in the flesh. Therefore, there can be no glory whatsoever in the flesh. Christianity is never expressed through the flesh but through the spirit. Therefore, a true believer would never express any confidence in the flesh. “We are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” (Philippians 3:3).
Many so-called testimonies simply glorify the flesh. They are fundamentally ungodly in spite of their sugar-coating of religiosity. “I want to give glory to God that I got first-class honours in my exams.” How does your getting first-class honours give glory to God? Your failing your exams is more likely to give glory to God than your getting first class.
The only way that getting first-class is going to give glory to God is if you failed the exam first and then got first class. For the glory of God to be in it, there must first be the infirmity of man. Therefore, the dynamics of the kingdom of God requires that the first shall be last before it can then be first. (Mark 10:31).
If the first is the first, then the glory is that of the man. But if the last is the first, then the glory is God’s.
Pride of Life
Similarly, many so-called testimonies simply express the pride of life, which is objectionable to God. “God blessed me with a brand-new Lexus.” That is not a testimony to the glory of God. The Lexus is a pride of life. But if you say that you did not have a car for so many years. You had to catch the bus or bum rides. Finally, God made a way and you bought a Lexus: that is to the glory of God. For every testimony, there must first be an infirmity, for the glory of God is the glory of infirmities.
Jesus never healed anyone who was not sick. In order for them to experience the healing of Jesus, they had to be sick first. We are created for the glory of God. (Isaiah 43:7). In which case, if your testimony is that Jesus never healed you, that is to your glory and not to the glory of God. I would rather Jesus healed me than that he did not.
However, Jesus is a healer of those who are sick. He is not a healer of those who are well. Therefore, there is glory of God in healing. However, there is no glory for God in being well unless you had first been sick.
Furthermore, God is the redeemer. The redemptive process is laden with its own kingdom dynamic. There is more glory for Christ in redemption than in prevention. There is also more benefit for man in God’s redemption than in God’s prevention.
If God only prevents, then we might conclude that he is not greater than the problem or the danger. “Lord Jesus,” they said, “if you had been here Lazarus would not have died.” In effect, death is greater than Jesus. Their understanding was that as long as death did not raise its head, Jesus had the power to intervene. But as soon as death occurs, the matter is beyond Jesus.
But Jesus would have us know that with God nothing shall be impossible. Therefore, although God is the deliverer, out of his passion for his glory he often decides to be the redeemer. Although God is the healer, he might choose to be the resurrection.
The problem is that we always want to limit God to the last revelation we have of him. But he is all that and a bag of chips. The Bible reveals that he is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think. (Ephesians 3:20).
How much of our so-called faith is actually motivated by fear? Many people pursue “powerful” faith out of fear. They are afraid to be sick. They are afraid of diseases. Fear can be a powerful motivator. But fear is not of God.
God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7). A believer must master his fears; he must never allow his fears to master him. If God only saves from the problem, we might still remain hostage to the problem. If he only prevents, we would not grow in faith. However, if he redeems, our faith is tried, tested and perfected. And God himself is glorified.
How might God heal a man of the fear of sickness? He allows him to fall sick. Thus, Job admitted that the thing he greatly feared came upon him and that which he dreaded happened to him. (Job 3:25). If you are sick and God heals you, you should no longer be afraid of sickness. If he heals you of sickness, then he can heal you of sins. Therefore, the Lord often saves out of the problem and not from the problem.
Moreover, our redemption provides a powerful evangelical tool. It brings unbelievers into the knowledge of God. When God saved the three Hebrew children in the burning fiery furnace, Nebuchadnezzar proclaimed himself as the first convert. (Daniel 3:29-30).
The believer is not called to a quiet life. It is not often quiet in the war front. The believer’s life is a life of storms and battles. The believer’s life is worked out in contradictions. There will always be storms and battles without. But there should be calm and peace within.
“(Jesus) was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’” (Mark 4:38).
Does God not care? The reason why you are in this storm is so that God can show you how much he cares. You are in this storm so that you can know that because of his love for you, you never have to be afraid of storms again.