Suffering, Sickness and Healing

PJ Smyth

Message of the Month – PJ Smyth

How should Christians respond when they are suddenly struck down with an illness? In the midst of suffering, are we to run away from medicine and trust only in prayer, or should we view prayer merely as a means of psychological comfort whilst trusting only in the prognosis of the medical professionals? Or, is there a faith-filled position which embraces both prayer and scientific medicine? And what about the Devil’s role in all this, and the role of vigourous resistance?

This message is by PJ Smyth who leads GodFirst Church in Johannesburg, South Africa. It was preached at the Newfrontiers ‘Together on a Mission’ conference in England in 2011.

It’s not a message on healing as such, but rather covers the broader range of pastoral issues that arise when we face serious sickness – including the source of sickness, and how we handle our approach towards recovery.

But it’s not merely academic. PJ was diagnosed with cancer in 2010, which was successfully treated. He tells the story in the message.

In terms of an overview of the Christian approach to the challenge of sickness and healing I think it is probably the best message I have heard on the subject, and which, in my opinion, reaches the correct conclusions.

But what do you think?

For the Video click here

For the Audio click here

© 2012 Lex Loizides / Church History Blog

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3 thoughts on “Suffering, Sickness and Healing

  1. Frances Y. February 1, 2013 / 1:57 am

    I found PJ Smyth’s message very inspiring, without sounding unrealistic or overly idealistic. When pastors preach about sickness or when people pray about suffering, they often emphasize the importance of faith. They say we have to trust God and have faith that He will heal. But many times He doesn’t heal. Then what? When we have modern medicine and technology that has the potential to heal us, it is easier to put our faith in such concrete solutions than in God. Listening to Smyth’s own testimony and his experience in battling cancer gave me a new perspective on faith in God when it comes to suffering. I believe that the same struggles exist in all types of suffering, not just those that involve medicine. We, as Christians and human beings, go through many different forms of suffering, sickness, and healing and it is often difficult, at least for me, to put my faith in the healing power of God alone, when there are other concrete, materialistic options. PJ Smyth’s message helped me to better understand the balance between the two.

  2. Sandra T February 1, 2013 / 5:56 am

    As a Christian I often wonder, why doesn’t God just heal all of the people with diseases, special needs, or those suffering and prove his existence just by these miracles? Friends of mine who are non-believers often ask me from time to time, “If God is a loving God, why does he not help those who are sick or on the verge of death?” I came to the realization that I did not even know the answer myself. Then, I thought, well if he DID heal all of the sick and suffering, would people really believe in Him and where would faith come in? I came across an article written by Steve Bundy, the vice president of the Joni and Friends Organization which is devoted to the disability ministry, called “God, Why Won’t You Heal?” In this article, many questions of mine were answered. It lead me to ask myself, “How do we know what should be healed? Are we all perfectly “whole”, without any deficiencies?” People with sicknesses or disabilities may not necessarily be “healed” in our worldly perspective, but as it says in Psalm 139:13-14 tells us children are “fearfully and wonderfully made” by God, who knit each of them together in their mother’s womb.” We are all children of God and according to this scripture, we are perfectly designed by God. He has a plan for every single person. We may not all understand exactly what that plan is, but we just have to trust in Him. I’ve suffered with these questions very much in my life especially on a personal level with my sister who has autism. My question’s always consisted of “Why? Why her? Why can’t she be healed and live a normal life?” All of these questions seemed so simple yet with no simple answer. Reading the article, the author asks, “Who Needs Healing?” In my mind, I thought “well, those in sickness and suffering.” But in actuality, we all do and who am I to tell God that my sister needs healing? God has a plan for everyone and our job is to follow His word and not try to make our own.

  3. chchcheeen February 1, 2013 / 6:02 am

    I believe you should always have faith in God and also trust in the scientific medicine. God always has a plan for you and its on you if you are willing to trust him or not. As a Christian you should always have faith in Him because He always has a plan for you. Maybe the plan is having Him as your confort and also helping with all the medical stuff that is going on around you. Who knows?

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