Q: Why does God allow sickness?
A: The issue of sickness is always a difficult one to deal with. The key is remembering that God's ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:9). When we are suffering with a sickness, disease, or injury, we usually focus solely on our own suffering. In the midst of a trial of sickness, it is very difficult to focus on what good God might bring about as a result. Romans 8:28 reminds us that God can bring about good from any situation. Many people look back on times of sickness as times when they grew closer to God, learned to trust Him more, and/or learned how to truly value life. This is the perspective God has because He is sovereign and knows the end result.
This does not mean sickness is always from God or that God always afflicts us with sickness to teach us a spiritual lesson. In a world tainted by sin, sickness, disease, and death will always be with us. We are fallen beings, with physical bodies prone to disease and illness. Some sickness is simply a result of the natural course of things in this world. Sickness can also be the result of a demonic attack. The Bible describes several instances when physical suffering was caused by Satan and his demons (Matthew 17:14-18; Luke 13:10-16). So, some sickness is not from God, but from Satan. Even in these instances, God is still in control. God sometimes allows sin and/or Satan to cause physical suffering. Even when sickness is not directly from God, He will still use it according to His perfect will.
Q: Should I still seek medical treatment if God can heal?
A: I have no doubt that God does intervene on occasion to heal people without the aid of medicine — but nowhere does the Bible urge us to reject medical treatment. God has given us the ability to develop modern medical treatments, and we should see them as a gift from His hand.
Q: Why doesn’t God heal every time we pray?
A: First, God does not always respond to our desires, and he frequently allows circumstances we wish he would not. Theologically we call this sovereignty. Inherent in our faith is the scriptural truth that God is in control. This includes the events he directs and the circumstances he allows. He has the power and responsibility to exercise his right over creation according to his will (Psalm 50:1 Psalm 115:3).
Yet God repeatedly chooses to veil the ways in which he exercises those rights. Hence our requests will not always coincide with God's response. Peter understood this as it applied to suffering: "So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good." (1 Peter 4:19).
Q: Is God punishing me with this illness?
A: No, He provides us with peace by showing us that our illness and infirmities are not punishment, nor due to a lack of faith, unconfessed sin, or less love from Him. He shows us that sufferings are merely momentary "light affliction," (2 Corinthians 4:17) and that tribulations produce patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope (Romans 5:3-4). He teaches us that we can be content in whatever situation we find ourselves (Philippians 4:11-12), and that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us (Romans 8:18).
James 5:13-15 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.
Psalm 30:2-3 O Lord my God, I cried out to You, And You healed me. O Lord, You brought my soul up from the grave; You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.
2 Corinthians 12:7-9 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Isaiah 40:29-31 He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.