Connection Pointe Christian Church

Connection Pointe Christian Church

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When God Doesn't Do the Miracle You Request

John Dickerson

John Dickerson | Lead Pastor

This past weekend we learned about “How to See God Do a Miracle.” We studied the steps of people in the Bible who experienced immediate and dramatic miracles. But, what about the times when we don’t see the miracle. What about the baby in the NICU who doesn’t get miraculously healed?

As a shepherd and pastor, I want to provide some Biblical comfort and insight for you—or anyone you love—who may be feeling confused or discouraged because you haven’t experienced the miracle that you’re praying for.

 When God doesn’t do the miracle you request.

My wife and I have lost two children in the womb, and while the answers below do not make the pain go away, they have helped us heal in many ways.

I began studying Paul the Apostle’s “thorn in the flesh” when I was in the hospital with stroke-like, debilitating headaches. Paul was a man of God, who was serving God, and who God loved—and yet he had an excruciating pain that was both physical and emotional. Paul asked God to remove his pain, and God did not give Paul the answer he wanted.

I spent about two years studying Paul’s “thorn in the flesh,” trying my best to answer the question: “Why does God sometimes heal and sometimes not heal?”

A few things I want to assure you about in your suffering:

            -The fact that you didn’t get the miracle you sought, doesn’t 
             mean God is mad at you.

            -The fact that you didn’t get the miracle you sought, doesn’t
             mean that you lacked faith.

            -The fact that you didn’t get the miracle you sought, doesn’t
             mean that you did anything wrong.

            -As we will see below—the fact that you didn’t get the miracle
             you sought, also doesn’t mean you won’t get the miracle in a
             bigger way in the future—when you spend hundreds of years
             with that child, running, talking, playing, in a real place where
             there is no pain or suffering.

I have a close friend named Joy Veron. Joy has spent about 20 years in a wheelchair—from an accident that severed her spinal cord. Early after her injury, a “pastor” told Joy that the reason she wasn’t being healed was that she didn’t have enough faith. This made me furious. Here was a woman who needed comfort, support, and affirmation—and this “pastor” was falsely shaming her with lies and with broken theology.

Thankfully Joy knew her Bible well enough to know that we can’t tell God when to do a miracle. He’s not a genie in a bottle. Joy kept placing her faith in the God who “works all things together for good,” and today she is one of the strongest believers I know. Unbelievable as it sounds, today Joy claims that the miracle God has done is in her heart and identity; she even says she wouldn’t go back in time and undo the accident that happened TO her, because of what has happened IN her. (If that sounds impossible, that’s okay. It’s a process.)

Now, before I get into answering the question, I want to make sure I point out a longer message that I have preached on this exact topic. It’s titled “When God Doesn’t Heal.” I encourage you to watch it here. 

Once you watch that one, I would encourage you to watch the entire “I Am Strong” series, here

My book “I Am Strong” deals directly with this matter regarding the times when God doesn’t heal or give the miracle. You can get it in print or on your phone, using the audible app. Within the book I would point you to chapters 1, 2, 6, 7, 12, and then really the entire book. I wrote it when my physical sickness was not being healed, and wrote it specifically for people like us, who have not seen God do the miracle or fix the problem.

While the book and messages draw on dozens of Scriptures and deeper ideas, I will give a brief overview of some things the Bible says about miracles. 

  1. Only God can choose when He will do a miracle. We cannot “make” or force God to do a miracle.
  2. Many people of great faith did not get the miracle they sought, or in the manner they sought. For example, Paul the Apostle did not get his “thorn in the flesh” removed after pleading with God to remove it.
  3. People of great faith continued trusting God—long after their miracle did not happen. For Abraham and Sarah, they continued trusting 90 years after God promised them a child, when it seemed impossibly too late.
  4. Hebrews chapter 11 describes the people who God says are the heroes of the faith, and the common theme is suffering and pain. The chapter actually ends by saying that most of these believers never got the miracle they hoped for.
  5. However, Hebrews 11 then states that these faithful believers WILL get the miracle they have sought—in Kingdom come. The child, health, freedom, prosperity they sought will be realized in “the Kingdom of God,” and they will be rewarded for continuing to believe.
  6. Of course, the Bible also has people like Nehemiah, and those who walked to Jesus when He was on the earth. These people saw immediate miracles. For every one of these, there’s another person who did not get the immediate miracle. While it doesn’t soothe the pain sensors, we can trust that our God is good and knows which will be best for our soul—the immediate miracle, or the bigger one in eternity.
  7. Most believers didn’t see immediate miracles. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t get a miracle. It just means that God sees things on a much longer time horizon than we do. We have thousands of years ahead of us in actual bodies and homes in the Kingdom of God.
  8. For example, Paul the Apostle is alive today in the Kingdom of God—and now his “thorn in the flesh” HAS been removed. He no longer has pain. God answered his prayers for healing—a few decades after he prayed them. And in the decades of pain, God used it for good in Paul’s life and the lives of millions of other people now (who draw strength from Paul’s writings).
  9. What all of this means for the Christian parent who loses a child, is that they have not actually lost the child. The child is alive, and in a glorified body that is presently breathing and presently experiencing no pain, in the very real and tangible Kingdom of God. (We do not know why God chooses this for the children of some believers and healing for the children of others. Personally, I have theories that God sees the future that child would live on earth and may be delivering that child or parents from some greater pain, mistake or tragedy in this broken world, sparing that child the experiences of ever being rejected, abandoned, or tasting death, by promoting them straight into the Kingdom of God).
  10. Lest we forget, we will be TOGETHER WITH THESE CHILDREN in that same place in just 10 to 60 years, depending on our age.
  11. Once we arrive in the Kingdom of Heaven, we will never be separated from those little ones who have gone before us.

Knowing these things does not make our pain go away. We still weep. Jesus wept at Lazarus’s graveside—even though he knew he would raise him in a few minutes. Jesus wept because death was never supposed to be. So it is not unspiritual for us to weep in this life. And yet “we do not grieve as those who have no hope.” We still grieve, but in our grief, we choose hope. Our hope is that because Jesus died and rose again, we will be re-united with the little ones who get promoted to heaven before we would have chosen. And, when we are sick and not healed, we grieve with the hope that in a matter of decades or years (or days for some), we will be in bodies that are not sick, that need no medication or hospitals.

It requires faith for these facts to become meaningful. And even then, that faith cannot take away the pain of your loss. I want to encourage you that “God is near to the brokenhearted.” “He upholds those who are crushed in spirit.”

I have found in my life that the most important decision I ever make is this:

            In my pain, do I turn toward God, with the pain—or do I turn
           away from Him because of the pain?

You have been turning TOWARD God, and I cannot encourage you enough to CONTINUE turning toward Him. Please don’t let the enemy pry you away from Him or from our church. As impossible as it seems, God does have the power to heal your wounds, to bring good from them that you’d never imagine, and then—decades from now—to show you that He did give you your miracle after all—not in the timing we would have chosen, but in a Kingdom where you and that child will spend thousands of years playing, laughing, talking, and never once experience pain or heartbreak or death.

This is what Paul the apostle meant when he wrote “for our light and momentary afflictions are achieving for us an eternal glory that will far outweigh them all.” He then writes about how our bodies are worn out tents, which we will exchange for God-built mansion bodies that will never age or experience pain.

This is the hope of eternal life. And it is yours because of Christ.

Dear reader, you are loved by your Maker and by the people of Connection Pointe. I’m so proud of you for seeking God. In our present series, we will continue learning about “the God of heaven,” who has the power to carry you through this unthinkable pain. Next month, we will learn how to be “Never Defeated,” even when tragedies like this occur.

With you on the journey,

John

p.s. In addition to the I Am Strong messages and book mentioned above, you might also enjoy being a part of our next Grief Share group that will begin September 10.  We also have Care pastors who would be delighted to meet you, cry together, pray together, seek God together. Just let us know if we could set that up.

Love you guys. DON’T GIVE UP!