Living in today’s world is not an easy, no-hassle, experience. When I was viewing, some years ago, a famous painting done in the sixteenth century, I was taken by the serenity of the scene being conveyed. It was a view of a cottage alongside a stream, and although there were one or two walking tracks, there were no hard-seal paths or roads to be seen. The scene was relaxing and typified a period when there was time to reflect on life, and to pursue life at one’s own pace. Such a time has gone irreversibly into history. An English poet once wrote,
“Poor life this, if full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.” 1
Today’s world brings a speed of life and competitiveness unmatched in history. In seeking help to cope with the demands of our day, we can overlook an extremely reliable and helpful source of information that has brought comfort and learning to countless people over a very long span of time. Surprisingly, the Bible has relevance for today’s living, and since the Creator of all things has inspired it, it has been an inspiration to all who have genuinely sought its help in reading and in prayer.
There are many aspects of life when we can turn to the Word of God and seek solutions and answers to life’s problems. Let’s look at a few examples, and hopefully you will be able to continue on past the end of this article to research for yourself the Bible answers to the very problems that may be troubling you.
With the increased travel of people throughout the world, and the greater pace of life itself, the incidence of sickness and disease has not significantly reduced, though there are a number of diseases that are less hazardous than they were 100 years ago. Though advances in modern medicine have made dramatic progress in some areas of health, we still encounter periods of ill health, and it seems inevitable that we do.
When Jesus was preaching in his day, he and his disciples gave considerable attention to the plight of those who were sick.
“Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them.” Matthew 4:23–24
“When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. This was to fulfil what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases.” Matthew 8:16–17 2
Jesus had the ability to heal sickness and disease by using a power that he had been given from his Father in heaven.
“One day as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law, who had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there. And the power of the Lord was present for him to heal the sick.” Luke 5:17
This power was also given to the early apostles through the power of Jesus. When the apostle Peter visited the temple court he gave an example.
“Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong.” Acts 3:6–7
This same power would be wonderful to have today, for all ill health and disability could be removed from the planet. Is this a realistic hope?
Unfortunately, no! Despite the miracles that were being demonstrated at that time, even the use of the gift of healing was limited. The apostle Paul, who was also able to perform healings, was unable to do anything regarding his own problems or those of a close friend.
“To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ ” 2 Corinthians 12:7–9
“Erastus stayed in Corinth, and I left Trophimus sick in Miletus.” 2 Timothy 4:20
But this does not mean that Jesus can’t help us today—he can and does for those in need. But the healing does not come instantaneously by ‘laying on of hands’ as some might expect. The healing comes from God Himself through His Son Jesus, with the timing and extent decided by Him.
“For he 3 longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow.” Philippians 2:26–27
“The LORD will protect him and preserve his life;
he will bless him in the land
and not surrender him to the desire of his foes.
The LORD will sustain him on his sickbed
and restore him from his bed of illness.” Psalm 41:2–3
For this to happen, we must have confidence in God that it will happen.
“Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” James 5:13–16