“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness: by his wounds (strips KJV) you have been healed.”
I Peter 2: 24
Thursday night as Barbara and I drove to the semi-annual associational meeting at Brushy Fork Baptist Church my cell phone rang. On the other end was a dear friend of mine, a prayer partner, a great financial support or of Touch the World Ministries, and a dear saint of God. As she spoke to me with broken sentences between sobs I finally was able to make out the reason for her call. She is terminal, dying with cancer which has invaded most of the organs in her body. For the most part the Drs. have been able to manage the pain with medicine. Hospice does all they can do but occasionally the pain gets beyond the point of management. This was one of those times. She just wanted me to pray and ask God to do what Drs. and medicine could not do. Of course I was more than happy to pray to our Heavenly Father and ask Him to touch her body and ease the pain. As Barbara and I prayed with her and her husband there were several Scriptures that came to my mind and I used some of them in my prayer. As I concluded the prayer my final request was for God to hear and answer the prayer because of what Jesus did on Calvary and for His sake and glory. I never base a request on the goodness or accomplishments of myself nor the person I am praying for.
During the prayer one of the Scriptures that came to my mind was I Peter 2:24. I began to meditate on that Scripture after the phone call ended. I know all of us struggle with why good Godly folks have to suffer. The reality of life is that suffering is a part of our daily existence and physical death is the terminal destination of everyone of us regardless of how good or holy we may be. So what is Peter talking about in this passage of Scripture? The context verses 21-25 explains verse 24. In verse 21 we are told that Christ suffered having us an example. Verse 22 tells us that He was holy and good, much better than any of us could ever be. Verse 23 tells us how He responded when treated unfairly (remember this is all an example). Then our focal verse (verse 24) tells us the we “were” healed by His great suffering and death. Healed from the malignancy and penalty of sin. Though we may suffer, be treated unfairly, and even die an early death (remember He is our example of these verses 22-23) yet when we accepted His great offer of salvation we were healed and made a part of His eternal family. Certainly not delivered from physical suffering but guaranteed an eternity free from it.
In answer to pray God can and often does ease or completely remove pain and sickness. However, we need to remember our “healing” was accomplished at Calvary and it has to do with our eternal condition because, verse 25 says “For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.”
As a child of God, the only hell you will ever experience is here on earth. When you die it is all heaven from there on. However, if you are not a child of God the only heaven you will ever experience is right here on earth.